Suds are set to multiply in Mount Pleasant.
The brewing industry that flourished along Brewery Creek more than a hundred years ago is returning with three new breweries slated for the area.
The owners of The Cascade Room, Habit Lounge, The Union and El Camino plan to open a restaurant and a 6,000-square-foot brewery for its Main Street Pilsner just off Main Street on East Seventh. The Mark James Group (Red Truck Beer, Yaletown Brewing) is poised to open a larger brewery near the False Creek Flats, and Nigel Springthorpe, coowner of the Alibi Room, and brewer Conrad Gmoser, who worked at Steamworks for more than 15 years, plan to open The Brassneck Brewery on Main near Sixth.
A character in the English comic book The Dandy, a song by indie band The Wedding Present and an English idiom inspired the small brewery's name. If you "brassneck it," you put your head down, don't listen to anybody else and just do it your own way, according to Springthorpe.
He and Gmoser envision creating a brewery that's akin to a gelato shop where customers can sample a few brews before they commit to filling a one-litre or two-litre reusable glass or ceramic vessel called a growler with their chosen beer. "In terms of environmental stuff, you're not making any paper, you're not recycling the bottle as in smashing up and starting again, you're just reusing it, and we really like that idea," Springthorpe said. "It just kind of forces this extra level of interaction with the product from the customers."
The pair had hoped to open a brewpub but abandoned the idea in favour of a neighbourhood brewery with a 40-or 50-seat tasting room because gaining regulatory approvals for a brewpub appeared unattainable.
They expect the city will approve the conditional use of the 6,000square-foot space and have signed a 12-year lease that's conditional on securing a business licence.
Springthorpe and Gmoser intend to brew a few flagship beers "backed up by a shwack load of constantly rotating choices," according to Springthorpe, who added they're planning a "comprehensive barrel program" for sour beers and a small keg operation for private sales and restaurants.
"We also have no intention of competing for taps in the cut-throat world of sales," he said.
Brassneck won't be the first B.C. brewery to use growlers.
"But we're doing it with bells on," Springthorpe said. "You'll be able to come in and spend four of five bucks on your growler, or 60 bucks on this super crazy made in Germany, bells and whistles, ceramic-brass monster growler. We're going to make a bit of a fetish out of it."
The building at 2148 Main St. needs serious work but Springthorpe hopes the brewery will open in February, the same month the Cascade Company hopes to open its brewery and restaurant.
Springthorpe called the plethora of breweries popping up in the area a coincidence. "I really see this pattern emerging of guys who care who are opening places," he said.
Springthorpe hopes the provincial government will change regulations that restrict tasting rooms to selling only 12 ounces of beer to an individual per day so that craft breweries can flourish.
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