One of Ottawa’s most successful microbreweries has a major expansion on tap.
By David Sali
Beyond the Pale plans to move its brewing operations later this year from its current 2,000-square-foot facility at 5 Hamilton Ave. in Hintonburg to a new 8,000-square-foot location at 250 City Centre Ave., just north of Somerset Street W.
Co-owner Shane Clark says the brewery, which opened in November 2012 and was initially 900 square feet, has outgrown its current home. The company’s 31/2-barrel system now churns out 400 litres per batch, but demand for Beyond the Pale’s suds has reached the point where the plant is running 20 hours a day, six days a week.
“It’s a bit much,” Mr. Clark, who owns the brewhouse along with his father Al and pal Rob McIsaac, said with a chuckle. “I’m the brewer, and I might crack.”
Not that he’s really complaining.
“It’s a wonderful problem,” he conceded.
The City Centre location will feature a much larger 15-barrel system, which can produce 1,750 litres per batch. Work on the new facility will start in March, and the owners hope to be brewing there by August. Mr. Clark estimates the move will cost about half a million dollars.
All three owners live in the neighbourhood, making City Centre an ideal location, he said.
“It’s as close as humanly possible to where we live,” he said. “We like to be able to walk to work.”
The company, whose product is now poured at about 45 pubs in the Ottawa area, sells nearly 15,000 litres of beer a month at bars and its retail outlet on Hamilton Avenue. Mr. Clark said if all goes well, Beyond the Pale will be ready to start marketing its brew at the LCBO by early in 2015.
Under provincial law, a brewery cannot operate more than one retail outlet until it produces at least 2.5 million litres a year. Mr. Clark said the store and tasting room will likely remain on Hamilton Avenue for a while, although he said they might eventually be relocated to City Centre as well.
“We’re kind of debating what the best strategy is,” he said.
The City Centre property, part of a retail and warehouse complex, is currently zoned for mixed use and will require an amendment to be used as a brewery. Mr. Clark said he and his partners have been in talks with city officials for months and don’t anticipate any problems getting the rezoning approved.
“We’re not too worried about it,” he said.