Why new craft breweries are opening everywhere but in Vancouver

From Vancouver Sun, by EVAN DUGGAN

Photo: Strange Fellows Brewing is located on Clark Drive in East Vancouver. OLGA ZWART / STRANGE FELLOWS

Craft brewery owners Chris Lay and Aaron Jonckheere offer their top property, location advice as more and more new breweries flock to the suburbs and beyond

Throughout B.C. this year, there will be roughly 30 new craft breweries opening, estimates Chris Lay, the co-founder and head brewer of East Vancouver’s Callister Brewing. Of those, only one will be opening in the City of Vancouver.

“I think that’s really telling,” Lay says.

Callister Brewing launched about five years ago in an industrial corner of East Vancouver mostly comprised of warehouses, machine shops and other elbow-grease businesses. Today, the area is also home to 15 breweries, a few craft distilleries, cafes and other creative businesses.

Overall, the big city craft beer business continues to thrive, but times are tougher, say Lay and Aaron Jonckheere, who is the the co-owner of another nearby brewery called Strange Fellows. Property taxes have ballooned, leases are turning over and rising and speculators and developers are making their move on a neighbourhood that’s now considered cool.

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