Local craft beer enthusiasts are breathing sighs of relief following the news that the provincial government will change the rules for breweries and distilleries that operate on Agricultural Land Reserve lands so that they do not have to grow at least 50 per cent of their major ingredient on site.
This will put breweries on the same footing as wineries and cideries who are able to buy ingredients from other BC farms.
Persephone Brewing owner, Brian Smith, is greatly relieved that his craft brewery will be able to continue operating on its 11-acre property on Stewart Road near Langdale. Last year the Agricultural Land Commission rejected Persephone’s application for a non-farm use permit, and gave them two years to move most of their operations to a non-ALR property.
“Perhaps needless to say we are excited and especially relieved to see this change come into effect,” said Smith, interviewed via email. “The changes are not perfect but they certainly put us in a much better position including the ability to be fully compliant with the ALR Regulations.”
“We are truly grateful for the support our community, employees and partners have shown us throughout this trying process.”
Persephone grows hops and apples on its property, and operates a market garden, in addition to its brewing activities and tasting room. Now, Smith says, they plan to “grow more.”
“We will be opening another round of investment which will help us increase our farming, production and, perhaps most importantly, community impact.”
Smith also announced that Persephone was named Social Enterprise of Year at the 2017 Social Finance Forum held in Toronto on Nov. 9 and 10. The award is presented to a Canadian social enterprise “that combines business excellence with positive social or environmental impact and a financial return.”