Cannery Brewing’s current patio last summer on Westminster Ave E., which has a 36 person capacity. (Cannery Brewing - Facebook)

Council voices approval of brewery patio expansion

City council unanimously voted in support of Cannery Brewing’s 199 person capacity patio.

Penticton city council has unanimously decided to endorse the Cannery Brewing’s patio expansion to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).

Cannery Brewing has been operating in the city since 2001 and at the current Ellis St. location since 2015, making them one of the founding fathers of the Penticton craft brewery scene. Council cited the brewery’s strong reputation, credibility, longevity and community involvement in the unanimous decision.

The original recommendation from the city was that council approve an arrangement that would limit that patio’s service hours to 10 p.m. However, due to concerns that the LCRB would apply the 10 p.m. cut-off to the entire establishment (Cannery Brewing is allowed to stay open until 11 p.m.) council voted in favour of a recommendation of support to the LCRB without limitations on hours of service.

The one stipulation council wanted to see remain was that no amplified music is played after 9 p.m.

Cannery Brewing’s administrator, A.J. Thompson, spoke before council and addressed some of the worries expressed by people who live in the nearby residential area.

“We don’t want to be a late-night bar. We just want to have somewhere for people to gather and close at a reasonable hour,” Thompson said.

Cannery Brewing has always been licensed to stay open until 11 p.m. but chooses to close at 9 p.m., except in the case of special events. They don’t plan on changing their opening hours because of the patio.

The proposed outdoor seating area would only be open during the summer season and serve a maximum of 199 patrons. However, that 199 maximum would be reserved for special occasions only. Cannery’s plans for the patio are to serve a maximum of 80 – 90 patrons on regular nights. Their current maximum occupancy is 146, including 36 on the existing patio.

In their application, the brewery says their hope is to assist in the current strategy in this area called Ellis on the Rise to “better the quality of business and services in this location and help revitalize our downtown core.”

“Our intent is a fun, relaxed, backyard atmosphere. Just what everybody else is doing in their backyard,” said Thompson.

Cannery Brewing intends for the majority of the space (30 by 30 feet) to be a covered seating area, with the remainder of the space left open to create a small entertainment area for outdoor games and occasional live music.

Council received eight letters from the public in opposition to the expansion, all expressing worries about a lack of parking and noise. The public’s concerns were noted by city staff and council but were generally decided to be non-issues because of Cannery Brewing’s displayed commitment to respectful civic operations.

City staff and Cannery Brewing also said that they do not expect parking to be a major issue because the brewery is primarily looking to attract foot traffic.

“We are big promoters, being a liquor establishment … of foot traffic and we encourage as many people as we can (to walk or bike),” said Thompson.

Two additional bike racks (they have two) are part of the expansion. Thompson also said the brewery will add four parking stalls in the back for staff, to ease the burden on street parking.

Multiple local business owners and even competing breweries were at council to support Cannery Brewing.

Mike Hill operates a business across the street from Cannery Brewing and has been working neighbours with them for over four years. Hill spoke to the brewery’s professionalism and level of community consciousness in front of city council.

“The days of swill and public intoxication are long gone. If anybody is going to do it, these guys are going to do it right,” said Hill.

READ MORE: NHL prospects returning to Penticton for Young Stars Classic

READ MORE: Proposal for public outdoor rink in downtown Penticton gaining traction

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