Petri Raito (left)

Amendment to Rossland’s zoning bylaw will allow for Rossland Beer Co. expansion

Rossland city council recently adopted an amendment to the zoning bylaw that will allow Rossland Beer Company to expand its operations.

Rossland city council recently adopted an amendment to the City of Rossland zoning bylaw that will ultimately allow Rossland Beer Company to expand its operations.

Before city council adopted the amendment, Rossland Beer Co. was classified as a “small scale food and beverage processing establishment,” but under the amended bylaw, it can now be reclassified as a craft brewery a completely new classification. Under the previous classification the brewery was limited to 200 m2, or approximately 2000 sq. ft., and retail had to occupy 30 per cent of the total floor area, limiting the space for production. Under the new craft brewery classification, the brewery can occupy up to 1000 m2, and may include retail sales, tours, tastings and food consumption. The amendment also specifies that craft breweries are allowed as a commercial downtown use.

Rossland Beer Co. has outgrown its current space and is looking to expand. The change to the zoning bylaw ensures that the company will be able to move forward without worrying about red tape.

“We didn’t need anything that was monstrous, but it might be a few thousand square feet kind of thing. Pretty reasonable,” explains co-owner Petri Raito. “If there’s progress, or as far as our move goes, or when we grow then we have the opportunity to expand and not worry about a bylaw that would be holding us back.”

Asked why Rossland Beer Co. requested a change to the bylaw, rather than asking for a variance once it had located a new property, Raito replied, “Sometimes variances don’t go through, so we just wanted to make sure it was done properly. You’d hate to make a really big investment or have a big plan, and for that to hold you back.”

Raito says he isn’t sure yet when the expansion will happen, but did mention that Christine Andison took the lead and helped Rossland Beer Co. get the amendment. “We thank her a lot for all the hard work she put in,” he said.

Asked how Andison got involved, Raito cryptically replied, “Because there’s a future property that could be connected with her and a certain group of owners, so it kind of helped us out in case we went that direction with that property.”

The bigger square footage will not only allow Rossland Beer Co. to produce more beer for not only retail sales, but sales to pubs and restaurants but will also allow the brewery to expand its seating area to accommodate 60-70 people. As it is, the brewery has been expanding its seating area, not to allow for a larger capacity, but to allow more room for its max of 30 customers. Raito says the new seating area is nearly finished and will open in December.

The zoning bylaw amendment also paves the way for other craft breweries to one day open in Rossland’s downtown.

Asked why it was important to Rossland city council to adopt the amendment, Mayor Kathy Moore said, “Craft breweries are a wonderful asset to any community. They’re sort of a hub of activity and it’s a creative, local product and we want to support it, and our previous regulations had really limited space.”