The NWT Brewing Company is set to expand its businesses after a motion passed at Yellowknife city council to approve a conditionally permitted industrial use permit at 4001 School Draw Ave.
Fletcher Stevens, owner and founder of Yellowknife’s only brewery, went to the May 27 Governance and Priorities meeting and was met with support from councillors.
“It’s always exciting when a business in town is looking to expand,” said city Coun. Cynthia Mufandaedza. “So congratulations and we’re excited for you.”
The Brew Pub, since opening in Old Town town in 2015, has had trucked in water and trucked out sewage which has made day-to-day operations at the pub challenging, explained Stevens.
“You would show up to work one day and you’re supposed to brew a batch of beer and you’re part way through and run out of water because the restaurant is using it all,” he said.
“It’s just a nightmare. We’re doing our best to make it work but we’re ironing out most of the headaches.
The new facilities, though, will have plumed water and municipal services and it will be a game-changer.”
The pub’s old facilities will remain operational during the expansion will be an upgrade and more “experimental” brews will be made available, Stevens said.
“We wanted to have an area for sampling, recognizing Yellowknife needed a food-beverage facility that gives people that feeling of eating and drinking down south,” he said.
“So we really want to keep that spot so we can have the small brewing apparatus there to experiment and take chances. We want to keep current because the craft beer scene is changing quite rapidly throughout North America.”
Currently the brew pub produces just under 100,000 litres of beer every year. This new facility will eventually allow for triple the current annual production to 200,000 to 250,000 litres, Fletcher said.
“This is nowhere near the production sizes of bigger breweries in the south, but it’s big enough to handle our clientele for our main beers we produce,” said Stevens adding that his company will soon complete a strategic growth plan so that only the required amount of beer will be produced.
“This way we can have more of our staple products throughout Yellowknife and the other facility would handle out season or experimental brews.”
Stevens said the Brew Pub will have a bottler for ‘stubbies’ for their main beers, and will be looking into canning for their operations in the future as it is the packaging option of choice for craft beer.
Once he reaches the level of 250,000 litres, Stevens said he will have to renegotiate his tax structure with the liquor commission.
Stevens said he is not entirely sure when the new facility will be become operational.
“You can pick a date and it’s going to move a hundred times. We’re optimistic it’ll happen the end of 2019.”