Creating Opportunity for Small Business through Zoning and Permitting
Between 2014 and 2017, part of an industrial area in Port Moody evolved into Brewers Row – home to four microbreweries, food trucks, and a gathering spot for people from across the Lower Mainland and beyond. Brewers Row has become a magnet for visitors seeking a diverse collection of craft beer and local fare, and a refreshing stopover for visitors coming through the new Moody Centre SkyTrain Station to visit the nearby Rocky Point Park.
When the City of Port Moody was first approached by Yellow Dog Brewing, staff jumped at the opportunity to support the idea. Although there weren’t always clear bylaws related to microbreweries, city staff adopted a “yes” attitude to help the new company figure out how to bring its vision to reality. They took time to understand the needs of the business, along with the laws, regulations and rules outlined by B.C.’s Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. The city’s Building, Bylaw and Licensing division took a personal, hands-on approach to cutting municipal red tape.
"The city provided very prompt response times which allowed us to open the doors within five months of breaking ground, virtually unheard of in the industry at that time."
- Dan Helmer, owner/operator of Moody Ales
Port Moody city council identified supporting the retention and creation of new microbreweries as part of its strategic plan actions. Guiding much of the city’s work, these actions provide clarity on where to focus the city’s resources. Council worked with city staff to support the success of the microbreweries and develop new opportunities.
- In 2015, the city introduced a new bylaw authorizing food trucks at certain spaces and times around the city, including at Brewers Row, allowing visitors to enjoy a great meal along with craft beer. The bylaw was amended in 2017 to allow year-round food truck parking at specific sites on Brewers Row.
- When microbreweries expressed interest in outdoor patio space that would double the retail space for the interested businesses, city council issued temporary permits to ensure patio spaces were available during the summer season, and later approved more permanent amendments to the city’s zoning. The result was packed patios along Brewers Row.
"Usually it is very difficult to open a brewery in most cities, due to zoning, licensing and bylaw restrictions. Port Moody saw the potential community and economic impacts, and instead of blocking us at every turn, they worked with us to ensure a solution that was helpful not only to us, but for the residents of the city."
- Geoff Boyd, partner, Parkside Brewery
In late 2016, Port Moody Council seized an opportunity to showcase the success of Brewers Row, as well as various other local businesses, by directing city staff to work collaboratively with, and to fund a portion of, the BC Ale Trail marketing campaign. The campaign showcases British Columbia’s growing craft beer industry, and the vibrant local communities it supports, to tourists across B.C., Alberta, Washington, Oregon and beyond. Headed by the co-founder of Vancouver Craft Beer Week, the BC Ale Trail team is supported by a committed group of destination marketing organizations, craft breweries, and municipalities.
As an early partner of the campaign, the city received a relatively high level of exposure. The Port Moody Ale Trail walking tour page was the top-rated page on the BC Ale Trail website, and the Port Moody Brewers Row blog post received the most social media engagement of the young campaign.
The campaign also featured a number of other local businesses: from artisanal coffee to kayak rentals and ice cream. The success of Brewers Row helped amplify the entire Port Moody business community and generated local and international media coverage.
This story has been adapted from submissions to the Open For Business Awards. Port Moody was a nominee for the 2017 Open for Business Awards.
About the Open for Business Awards
The Open for Business Awards recognize and celebrate communities that are taking meaningful steps to create a business friendly culture and have implemented winning initiatives that are helping small businesses to flourish.
To learn more about Brewers Row, watch the BC Ideas Exchange Showcase webinar, with guest speaker Tim Savoie.
June 1, 2018