Craft distillery planned for city

Approval: Council gives unanimous support to zoning change.

Kevin Pearson

Mayor and council raised their glasses Monday to a zoning amendment that will accommodate a craft distillery downtown.

Gareth Jones of Jones Distilling Ltd. told council at the city’s planning and development services meeting about his plan for a small scale distillery of vodka, gin and whiskey at the former Honda dealership site.

He said there’s a resurgence in craft distilleries across the province and the country, following behind the brewing industry’s trend by about 10 years. Jones said they’re fulfilling consumers’ wishes for an organic product made and sourced locally.

Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, explained the amendment would add craft distillery to the C-3 zone, because currently the only zoning allowing the use is in the industrial park. But that zone doesn’t limit the size of a distillery, and the industrial park isn’t an appropriate location for the craft distillery proposed.

Jones said his new venture will provide a tasting room which would transition into a bar area, with the plan to serve food once it’s established.

“For me, it’s all about the product,” he enthused, explaining that he needs to make vodka in order to produce the gin. He’ll also produce whiskey, but it must be in a barrel for three years before it’s ready to be consumed.

He pointed to Okanagan Spirits in Kelowna where customers can walk in, see the products and the still at work.

Under provincial regulations, a craft distillery can produce no more than 50,000 litres of product per year, and the amendment to the city’s C-3 zone will limit a distillery’s size to 275 square metres.

Pearson explained there are about 80 properties along the highway corridor zoned C-3, so the change allowing craft distilleries would apply to all of them. However, structural and architectural reviews would be required in each to ensure adequate fire separation.

Jones expects he will produce about half the allowed amount – 25,000 litres.

He said the craft distillery should evolve into a $4 to 4.5-million business, one which would provide economic benefits to the community such as tourism synergies and complementing not competing with wineries.

He expects to employ 10 to 15 people depending on how the business grows.

Council was unanimously supportive of the plan, asking for a few details such as whether the distillery would produce odours.

Jones said carbon dioxide would be exhausted when the mash is being heated, “like a furnace,” and the other product would be steam. He said it’s unlikely that an odour would be noticed.

A public hearing is set for Monday, Nov. 9 in council chambers.



Just Posted

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

In photos: The 27th Annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival

Images from Friday evening and Saturday at the festival grounds.

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

North Okanagan-Shuswap Liberal candidate responds to Trudeau ethics report

Prime Minister’s immediate response to commissioner’s findings appreciated

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Okanagan climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside Vernon head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

Most Read