Merridale Cider’s proposed Dockside Green location would include a brewhouse for producing beer, as well as a full-service restaurant, taproom and retail space. Photo contributed

Merridale Cider to move into Victoria and start brewing beer

Cobble Hill craft cidery looks to open brewhouse and distillery at Dockside Green by fall 2019

If the Cowichan Valley is just a little too far to travel for a pint, you’ll be pleased to know Merridale Cider is setting up shop in Victoria and branching into the beer and liquor business.

The Island-based craft cidery will be the newest addition to Dockside Green, a mixed-use, sustainable neighbourhood in Vic West that aligns with its philosophies – community, sustainable practices and quality products.

“We’re very excited,” says Merridale president Janet Docherty. “This has been a number of years in the making.”

Branching out into Victoria will be the company’s first expansion outside its flagship operation, an organic farm in Cobble Hill.

Plans for the new location at 356 Harbour Rd. include a four-storey brewhouse and distillery with a full-service kitchen, taproom and retail space. Visitors will be able to tour the facility via a catwalk to be built around the perimeter, overlooking temperature controlled rooms that will house barrels for the aging process.

Stepping up their game, producing scotch and whisky at the new site, is something Merridale has done at the farm since 2006. “In order to do that you need some mash, so we need to make beer,” says Docherty.

While currently everything is made at the farm, the new location will focus on brewing the beer and distilling, whereas the cider will still be made up Island.

Docherty points out that when Merridale opened 30 years ago no one else was really making craft cider, let alone brews that utilized local ingredients, supporting agriculture in B.C.

“Since that time, there’s been a major boom,” she says. “Things have changed because people are really looking to know where their food is coming from, and they want quality.”

The project, a partnership with Victoria-based Aryze Developments, is currently poised for rezoning and will go to public hearing at the Aug. 9 council meeting at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers.

If all goes according to plan, shovels will be in the ground by the end of the summer in anticipation of opening the doors in the fall of 2019.

Of the project, Docherty says, “It’s about having fun, it’s about pushing the envelope and it’s about doing what we believe in.”

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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