Troubled Monk Brewery
The Troubled Monk Brewery opened its doors on June 13, 2015 with three different beers on tap: Pesky Pig Ale, Golden Gaetz Golden Ale, and Open Road American Brown Ale. However, before the beer started to flow, a number of hurdles had to be overcome in order to make it a reality.
The owners contacted Salomons Commercial to help find a location to setup their operation back in August 2014. The criteria was simple: a good location that would help draw traffic but was somewhat visible and met their requirements for height, size, power, and water. Price also played a part as the majority of the operation was to produce beer and therefore a high profile retail location did not justify the extra cost for the area of the brewery operation.
The next obstacle presented itself once we had chosen an initial location and had a conditional offer with an owner. Since for the most part this was the first microbrewery in Red Deer (Drummond has one but it is more corporate in nature) there was not a proper definition within Red Deer's land use bylaw to cover a microbrewery. The city believed that we were "manufacturing" beer an as such, had to be located in an industrial park (hence Drummond's location in Golden West). This didn't work as off sales are not permitted in an industrial park nor would a tasting room or pub be either. Not to mention that an industrial park isn't the greatest place for this type of operation. The solution presented by the city was that a site exception on the land use bylaw would need to be obtained for either the microbrewery part (if we located in a commercial zoning) or the off sales and tasting room part (if we located in an industrial zoning). This would be a major challenge given the public consultations required and relocation wouldn't be an option down the road.
Salomons Commercial and the owners continued to meet with the planning department to try to figure out a solution. Our argument was that we weren't "manufacturing" beer (as a bakery doesn't "manufacture" bread) and that we should be permitted to be located in a commercial zoning that also allows off sales and a tasting room. However, since a precedent was set with Drummond brewery, it would be difficult for the city to accept that stance.
In the end, Salomons Commercial, the owners and the planning department decided to create a new use definition within the land use bylaw for a Microbrewery. This would allow the production of beer but also the off sales and tasting room. The zoning districts the planning department chose for this new use was the Riverlands and Railyards districts just off of the downtown by Taylor Drive.
With the zoning issues now addressed, Troubled Monk Brewery could focus on an area and secure a location. By spring 2015, the owners started construction and within a few months had their first batch of Golden Gaetz Golden Ale ready to be served to a thirsty public.