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Taproom expansion approved for Blindman Brewing

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

A stairwell will be added to the interior to access a mezzanine as well as a patio balcony as part of Blindman Brewing's taproom expansion. (Photo supplied)

A stairwell will be added to the interior to access a mezzanine as well as a patio balcony as part of Blindman Brewing's taproom expansion. (Photo supplied)

Fresh off eight award wins at the first annual Alberta Beer Awards, local microbrewery Blindman Brewing is now celebrating another win: expansion.

 

On Monday, Lacombe city council approved a site-specific exception to the Land Use Bylaw which facilitates an expansion to Blindman’s taproom, which includes use of an existing mezzanine above the taproom and a patio balcony.

Blindman Brewing co-owner Hans Doef said the expansion is really about giving customers more when they stop in.

“We just want to give them a richer experience in our brewery and hopefully they’ll stay longer and visit more parts of Lacombe,” he said. “We had overwhelming support from the city and it’s very positive. We’re thankful we could go through the process and see support.”

Some of that support was voiced during a public hearing held prior to council’s approval.

Lacombe Regional Tourism and Marketing Association President Rachel Kraay said Blindman Brewing has been a great addition to regional tourism, especially in being able to off craft beer and spirits tours.

“They are huge contributor to our region, especially to our culinary scene, and a huge draw to this community,” she said. “They avidly agree to be part of tourism designed tour groups for craft beer and spirit tours. Having the increased room, of course, will help us provide bigger and different kinds of tours.”

Along with the expansion, the brewery will be required to install two stairwells, one on the interior to access the mezzanine and one on the exterior for the patio balcony in the south parking lot in case of emergency.

A sidewalk will also be provided along the west side of the building to accommodate customers who park in the back of the property. Council also granted a 100 per cent side yard variance to this end, which will now require Blindman to secure a licence to occupy the area.

Administration also waived a requirement for the rear parking lot to be paved, as it is within an industrial area and future tenants would likely not be able to benefit from a paved lot.

 

“Council listened to and carefully considered viewpoints on all sides of this issue and we are confident we have struck the right balance between development standards and promoting a positive business climate,” said Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey. “With this expansion, we wish the applicants continued success in their business operations.”

Construction is set to start as soon as possible in April with the hope to have it completed by May.

Further expansions, however, may not be possible at Blindman Brewing’s current location. Administration is not recommending any further site-specific exceptions to the lot, which is in the midst of an industrial area and suggest if expansion is needed in the future, that a more suitable location be found.

The building will now be exclusively occupied by Blindman Brewing and Old Prairie Sentinel Distillery. 



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