Barley Mowat 

Write In to Support Brewery Lounges

with 55 comments

UPDATE 3 — Oh, I see, they weren’t done counting. A further 522 for, and 8 against. Yeah, that makes it, let me get my calculator here… uh… 832 for, 70 against. Over 10:1. Yeah, that’s a win in pretty much any sport.

UPDATE 2 — Motion passed! Now they just have to enact the sucker!

UPDATE — The deadline to submit comments has passed. Thanks everyone for your support. The end tally is: 282 form letters in support, 61 form letters opposed, 28 personal letters in support, 0 personal letters opposed. Crushed it.

The big vote on brewery lounges is tomorrow at city council, and what was looking like a slam dunk on the side of awesome is now in jeopardy. The short version of that link is that a group of people (the Campaign for Culture) feel the proposed restrictions on are bad. I’m not going to pick a fight on that particular issue; the three restrictions, while reasonable, are totally just a salve to make lounges less threatening to bars. For the record, the three limitations are:

  1. Must close by 11pm
  2. Must be smaller than 860 square feet
  3. Cannot host more than two special events per month

What I am going to take issue with, though, is CFC’s approach of “if we can’t get what we want, we’re taking the ball and going home.” Yup, they are fighting against allowing lounges AT ALL unless those three restrictions are removed. Honestly, it’s like being three months into a relationship and refusing first time sex with your girlfriend because she won’t let you put the horse in the bathtub full of jello.

Having brewery lounges at all is so vastly better than NOT having them, that we’ll take this amendment, horse-less jello tub and all. (What? No horse? What about a goat?) While, yes, an amendment lacking those restrictions would be even better, what would be much worse is the many months of additional time it would take to get it. We have two awesome breweries about to open in Brewery Creek (33 Acres and Brassneck), both of which are absolutely counting on their lounges to generate much-needed revenue to stay afloat.

The other dirty little secret is, of course, that the current batch of breweries don’t even want those three restrictions lifted. None are proposed for more than 860 sf, and none want to be open past 11pm. That’s what pubs are for, and brewery lounges are absolutely not pubs.

Anyway, enough prelude. The whole point of this post is to get people to send emails to the mayor and council supporting this amendment. Those cranky bastards at CFC are doing this on their side, resulting in 12 letters against to just 1 for. I’ve taken all the hard work out of this for you, and drafted a form letter you can use below.

To make it even easier, I’ve created a one click link for you. This should open up a pre-written email in your favourite email writing program. Customize the letter, or just sign your name and hit send. (Or don’t, because the deadline has passes)

If that link doesn’t work for you, the email address you want is and the letter is below. Please folks, do this. It’s actually important.

Dear Sirs/Mesdames:

I am writing you today in support of amending the Zoning and Development By-Law to allow lounge use accessory to a Brewing or Distilling use.

The burgeoning craft brewing and distilling industry supports a key demand of local residents: to purchase merchandise from, and thereby support, local businesses.

Vancouver residents increasingly recognize the quality products being produced by local breweries and distilleries, but unfortunately have to retire to their homes to enjoy these products beyond a small sample. Allowing lounges will encourage a sense of community around these new businesses, as well as award local producers a much-needed revenue stream, encouraging further expansion of this new niche.

Additionally, our rapidly increasing local brewery and distillery scene has drawn the attention of visiting tourists, many of whom are dismayed to learn that the extent of their sampling is limited to a single sample per day. Adopting an amendment that will erase this restriction, and bring Vancouver breweries and distilleries more inline with businesses in other jurisdictions will be extremely beneficial to local businesses and residents.

I trust that you will consider the interests of both local businesses and residents when you take this matter under consideration on July 9th, and vote in favour this amendment.

Yours truly,

Written by chuck

July 8th, 2013 at 8:20 am

Posted in Beer and You

55 Responses to 'Write In to Support Brewery Lounges'

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  1. Done. Thanks for doing this chuck.


    8 Jul 13 at 08:39

  2. Done!

    Leigh B

    8 Jul 13 at 08:43

  3. Sent! Thanks for doing this. No there’s really no excuse for anyone to not do it.


    8 Jul 13 at 09:33

  4. Thanks – sent your note with some comments of my own. Looking forward to the Mayor and Council making a positive move for the industry and our city.


    8 Jul 13 at 09:40

  5. Thanks for making this brain dead simple Chuck. Hopefully lots of people click that link and hit send!

    Chris M

    8 Jul 13 at 09:42

  6. and done!

    Ian Webb

    8 Jul 13 at 09:51

  7. Thanks for the support Chuck. You know I have been scratching and clawing to do what I can to get this to happen. And it actually makes me very happy to see other craft beer consumers standing up for themselves and getting involved!! cheers

    Paddy Treavor

    8 Jul 13 at 09:55

  8. Any time Paddy. I view all these recent changes in the direction of awesome as largely due to your valiant efforts.


    8 Jul 13 at 09:58

  9. Done. Thanks for putting this together and helping get the word out.

    Shawn Bouchard

    8 Jul 13 at 10:00

  10. I’m not sure where you got the idea that CFC doesn’t want lounges at all if the restrictions are imposed. All they want is freedom for the businesses to make these decisions for themselves. Maybe re-read their letter?


    8 Jul 13 at 10:25

  11. Done and done. Thanks for the info. I hadn’t heard about the bylaw or the CFC either! Cheers.

    Robert Pacey

    8 Jul 13 at 10:26

  12. @Isabel – While that might be their ultimate intent, their letters are being counted as against the current motion which, let’s face it, they are. By not withdrawing their opposition, they are in effect saying “our way or no way.”


    8 Jul 13 at 10:27

  13. @Isabel: the letters go into one of 2 piles: letters for, and letters against. The letters from the CFC are currently sitting in the letters against pile.


    8 Jul 13 at 10:28

  14. But they are against restrictions. Not against lounges. How do you equate those two things? It can’t possibly be that if these restrictions are not put in, that lounges will cease to exist.


    8 Jul 13 at 10:31

  15. I support the lounges and sent an email in support of this industry and have in fact done some consulting in this area. As a member of the LGBT community, I didn’t think your analogy was really needed and didn’t show the professionalism that Council is looking for in the brewery community. Try & do better or have a PR person read your stuff.


    8 Jul 13 at 10:32

  16. Hey, I’m just trying to have a discussion here, I’m not a stakeholder, never claimed to be.


    8 Jul 13 at 10:36

  17. Thanks for taking this up. You may just want to fix the letter for a few typo’s if people haven’t already caught them (eg, 2 “will”)…



    8 Jul 13 at 10:45

  18. Done! Thanks!!


    8 Jul 13 at 10:47

  19. @marlow: I don’t think Chuck officially “represents” the brewery community in any way. He’s just a dude with a blog. Dude’s with blogs normally don’t have “PR people”.

    However, I do see your point. I’m sure he does, too.


    8 Jul 13 at 10:52

  20. @Isabel, its the City of Vancouver who is counting the CFC’s letters as opposition. If you go and read Paddy Trevors blog here:

    He spoke to CFC and they have no plans to stop their campaign, so instead of working together, we now have to out speak CFC despite being on the same side. Go figure…

    Chris M

    8 Jul 13 at 10:55

  21. Done!


    8 Jul 13 at 10:57

  22. Done! yay!


    8 Jul 13 at 10:58

  23. Done !


    8 Jul 13 at 10:58

  24. Done.


    8 Jul 13 at 11:09

  25. Done. Thanks for making it so easy!


    8 Jul 13 at 11:13

  26. @Marlow — Sorry, it was not my intent to offend anyone here; sometimes as a beer-swilling loudmouth I tend to post first and think later.

    I have changed my tasteless joke to another tasteless joke.


    8 Jul 13 at 11:22

  27. Thanks Chuck, not offended it just limited my ability to share it with a larger audience that might be more sensitive than I. Thanks for your help in getting this out as many people care about expanding this industry!


    8 Jul 13 at 11:29

  28. @Ryan — Eagle eye! Let me know if there are any other issues.

    @Marlow — No worries. Always glad to put a horse-sex joke on my blog.


    8 Jul 13 at 11:33

  29. “The other dirty little secret is, of course, that the current batch of breweries don’t even want those three restrictions lifted.”

    It is almost shocking that breweries would want these restrictions. It seems they fear that this will encourage competition. I am disappointed in the anti-choice sentiment from these brewers. If they want to close at 6pm, they have every right to do so. But don’t make this enforce your sleeping hours on everyone else.


    8 Jul 13 at 12:10

  30. @Elin – join up with the CFC and sign their letter then!

    I don’t think it’s a case of the breweries “wanting” the restrictions. It’s more like they are fine with the restrictions because none of them were planning on operating outside of them anyway. So you expect them to fight for rights of businesses that haven’t been started yet to do things that they aren’t interested in doing? These are BUSINESS PEOPLE, not frickin’ political activists! Think about it for a little bit…


    8 Jul 13 at 12:15

  31. Sent!


    8 Jul 13 at 12:18

  32. Done and done. Thanks for making it easy.


    8 Jul 13 at 12:50

  33. Done. Awesome work, Chuck (and Paddy!)


    8 Jul 13 at 13:18

  34. Email sent, link tweeted and facebooked (is that a verb now?).


    8 Jul 13 at 13:30

  35. Keep the beer flowing!

    Zach Wiskar

    8 Jul 13 at 14:02

  36. Done , but they must serve Real Pints


    8 Jul 13 at 16:11

  37. Do it!

    dave paul

    8 Jul 13 at 20:32

  38. Looking forward to the outcome on this one! Such a great amount of support in the last few minutes! Well done Chuck and Paddy!!

    Mike Willis

    8 Jul 13 at 22:01

  39. Please do this. This alone will make the world a little bit of a better place to live in.


    8 Jul 13 at 22:02

  40. Done. Thanks Chuck. And Paddy.


    8 Jul 13 at 22:17

  41. Done. Cheers Chuck!


    8 Jul 13 at 22:26

  42. Drink responsibly and ride metro/bike or cab!

    Galileo coffee

    8 Jul 13 at 23:21

  43. Done and done. Cheers!


    8 Jul 13 at 23:28

  44. Thanks for making it easy and keeping us up to date. Sent!


    9 Jul 13 at 00:24

  45. Done! Cheers one and all! Thanks Chuck for making this so damn easy!


    9 Jul 13 at 09:04

  46. Done and done 🙂


    9 Jul 13 at 12:00

  47. @Isabel The point isn’t really what the CFC letters are trying to portray (that you are pro-lounge, against the current restrictions). It’s the city is interpreting those letters as “against” the proposal–that’s a flaw in the city’s process, but that’s clearly the reality of the situation, as Paddy Treavor’s shown. To stand there and say that your being misinterpreted is certainly correct, but to continue with the same strategy, in light of that information, seems to miss the forest for the trees.

    @Elin and @Isabel The CFC letter that Paddy linked to notes the opinion that the restrictions, as proposed “will greatly limit social and cultural potential.”

    1) The proposed legislation follows a series of Council decisions that explicitly mention micro-breweries. While it’s certainly in the realm of possibility, it’s extremely unlikely that any brewer of that size will have the organizational capacity to regularly be able to run outside of the proposed restrictions.

    2) But more importantly, the restrictions are in place to prevent someone using their lounge as a brew pub (which requires different licensing). I would definitely agree that it should be much easier to open a bar in this city, but the reality of the situation is that dropping those restrictions would mean altering both the Industrial Land Policies and the City Plan. Do those two policies need updating? Certainly. But that’s not something that’s going to happen in a few weeks or even a few months. I saw Elin note in a comment on Scout that “city by-laws are incredibly hard to change”. Well, overarching city policies are even harder to change and that’s what you’re up against if you want these restrictions dropped before the city allows lounges at all.


    9 Jul 13 at 12:25

  48. Done! Thanks for doing this.

    Kendra Sprinkling

    9 Jul 13 at 14:54

  49. Thank you for doing this. The correspondence is being tallied. I am still confused by The CFC intentions. Although they say they are pro-lounge and pro-fun City, the fact of the matter is that turning the changes down now as written would result in further delays as noted by Quinn above.

    I wish they would be clear on who they really represent? They are either misguided or there are some darker forces at work! Cheers everyone


    9 Jul 13 at 16:33

  50. @footballmadness: best as I can tell, based on 15 minutes of review of totally accurate sources (google and facebook), they appear to be mostly recent UBC grads and former student-government types, full of the enthusiasm of youth and yet to be beaten down by the real world ;). I feel old.


    9 Jul 13 at 19:14

  51. I think the CPC is really, really naive to how civic politics work. As Sharon said, recent grads full of enthusiasm, but totally misplaced.

    From the twitter debates I saw with CPC, it looks like they don’t understand why their letters count as against the motion. They seem incapable of grasping that I support in spirit, but reject “as written” is the same as “I oppose”.

    Glad it worked out in the end. Thanks for using your wide reach to spread the good word Chuck.

    Chris M

    9 Jul 13 at 20:43

  52. I’m incapable of grasping how those with UBC student government experience don’t understand how civic government works…

    The people I knew involved with UBC student government during my time there were very bright and articulate, at least compared to me!


    11 Jul 13 at 22:44

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  54. […] to put some pressure on the decision makers to get this thing done. As I did, way back when, with Brewery Lounges, I’ve made this easy for y’all. Click here and you’ll get the form letter below in your […]

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