Liam and Kelsey Peyton, owners of Slackwater Brewing in Penticton, adjust the signage at their Martin Street venue. The city approved the brewery’s request to open earlier and close sooner than the previous establishment, Mule Night Club, was allowed. (Western News file photo)

Penticton council approves Slackwater Brewing hour changes

Those in favour hope this will revive the city’s nightlife, which dissipated with night club closures

The City of Penticton is ready to see a resurgence of its nightlife, according to those who spoke in support of Slackwater Brewing’s request to alter its current liquor license at the regular council meeting on May 7.

Slackwater Brewing, located at 218 Martin St. where the Mule Night Club used to operate, will be the city’s newest brewery when it opens later this summer. The business inherited the night club’s primary liquor license and presented before council about adjusting its hours in order to open sooner and close earlier.

According to the staff report, the venue is currently allowed to operate from 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. and the owners are requesting to adjust the hours of operation to 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. One of Slackwater’s owners, Liam Peyton said the brewery wishes to open sooner to cater to attendees of the farmers’ and community market as well as the brunch crowd, while also providing a venue for those looking for a late-night venue to grab drinks.

City staff did note that following the public consultation process for this proposed hours change, the city received three letters of concern. One resident who currently lives in the area also voiced his concern in person at the meeting.

READ MORE: Dispute forces Penticton brewery to change its name

“Since the Mule closed down, (the area) has been quiet and it’s been civil. And even though we might not be within the 90 or 100 metre perimeter (of the building), there’s a thing called the amphitheatre effect and noise may sound normal where you are, but it does amplify as it carries on up in height, especially in the evening when the air is cool,” said the man.

He also questioned why the establishment was seeking to be open later than Tug’s Taphouse and Bad Tattoo Brewing, two other breweries within the area. It was clarified Peyton that the hours set by the liquor license are requested by the establishment owner, so they choose to close earlier.

“One of the really special things about the craft beer scene here is each brewery is different, each one has its own unique personality and its own niche that they fulfill in the market place,” said Kim Lawton, marketing director with Cannery Brewing and president of the Campaign for Real Ale South Okanagan. “We choose at Cannery Brewing to close at 9 p.m. and there is clearly a need for where people will go afterwards. We have absolutely no problem with (Slackwater) having different hours that we do, and we feel that they will meet a need for both our locals and our tourists while they’re in town.”

READ MORE: Bidding farewell to The Mule Nightclub

“I am strongly in favour of the applicants’ push to (close) at 2 a.m. as opposed to 3 a.m. I was recently in Calgary (Alberta) with four of the five Penticton breweries promoting Penticton and something that continuously came up was the fact that we’re a tourist town and there are not many late-night places to go,” said Lee Agur, one of the co-owners of Bad Tattoo Brewing. “There is a lack in this tourist town for something later night.”

Mayor John Vassilaki and Coun. Judy Sentes both agreed younger generations in the community need some venue to go in the city that is open later and provides a quiet atmosphere for them to visit with friends. Vassilaki also said he was happy to see competitors in support of Slackwater’s request.

READ MORE: Big changes coming to Penticton nightclub

Throughout the discussion between council and residents, it was mentioned multiple times that this business venture is very different than the previous operation out of that building. Those in favour of the business and the requested hour changes argued that the type of noise that the Mule Night Club used to create in the evenings would not be replicated by a family-owned and operated brewery.

“The kind of operation that we’re all kind of glad is no longer in town, died a nice life a few months ago, was called the Mule. I hope we never see anything like that again. What’s coming into town now is actually leading-edge (in) tourism, business, entertainment,” said another Penticton resident who weighed in, this time in favour of the changes and the new establishment. “I currently hang out a lot at the Cannery, and I’m going to have to split my business with the Cannery (when Slackwater opens).

“The operators (of Slackwater) have an amazing history in honest-to-goodness, serious tourism venues. (Liam Peyton) a young pup, but he’s got a lot of experience.”

Council voted unanimously to recommend the hours change to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch for Slackwater Brewing, which is expected to open this summer 2019.

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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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