Driftwood Brewery is looking to expand its services and hopes to purchase the space it’s leasing from the CRD (Facebook/Driftwood Brewery)

Driftwood Brewery is looking to expand its services and hopes to purchase the space it’s leasing from the CRD (Facebook/Driftwood Brewery)

Greater Victoria brewery faces negotiation struggles in CRD land purchase

Driftwood Brewery hopes to buy its space from the CRD to expand its business

A local brewery is facing an impasse with the Capital Regional District (CRD) as it tries to purchase more space.

Driftwood Brewery has been in operation in Victoria since 2008. The company has its brewery located at 102-450 Hillside Ave., but has its packaging canning and bottling lines at a space it leases from the CRD at 836 Viewfield Rd.

A year and a half ago Driftwood took up the 20,000 sq. ft. lot is a partial lease, since the site has over 60,000 sq. ft. to offer. Now, Driftwood is interested in buying it all.

“Right now we’re bringing our finished beer over from Hillside in a truck for bottling” said Gary Lindsay, partner in Driftwood Brewing. “What we’re doing now is working but it’s not ideal for ever and ever. We want to secure that space.”

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Ideally Driftwood could have everything under one roof, which would then allow the business to expand and include a tasting lounge.

However, negotiations with the CRD have not been going well.

“We have severe frustrations with the CRD,” Lindsey said. “We’ve contributed to the community and so far not received a nod of support.”

Lindsey said the largest trouble with the landlord is a lack of transparency around negotiations.

“Communications in terms of the status of the space at 836 Viewfield all along has been very frustrating,” he said, adding that other parts of the community have been supportive. “Esquimalt has been very supportive and forthright of our proposal to secure our operations in their Township.”

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Another wrench came to the negotiations when the CRD and Driftwood each ran an assessment on the property in the last three months and came up with two starkly different numbers.

“I’m not sure we can divulge the exact figures, however they appear to be approximately $2 million apart,” Lindsey said.

The CRD said in an emailed statement that they are interested in selling the site, but that so far the “sweet spot” simply hasn’t been found yet.

Lindsey hopes negotiations can be successful at the current space, but isn’t ruling out looking at other options.

“Business is business and we take on the inherent risks associated with growth,” he said. “However the lack of transparency through our negotiations around 836 seems unduly protracted.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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