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Third brewery on the way for Port Alberni

Alberni Brewing Company hopes to open in early 2021
Yvan St. Onge and Heather Welsh are the co-owners of Alberni Brewing Company. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

A third brewery is on the horizon in Port Alberni.

Alberni Brewing Company has been renovating the former Color Your World Building on Adelaide Street near Johnston Road since July. The building, once finished, will be a microbrewery with a lounge area and commercial kitchen.

The brewery has already received a vote of support from Port Alberni city council.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the support from the city,” said Heather Welsh, one of the co-owners of Alberni Brewing Company. “We’re rejuvenating the building, inside and outside. We’ve been listening to what the city and the community would like to see, which is rejuvenation of existing buildings.”

Welsh, who will run the front-of-house operations, is originally from Wales, but her husband Jason was born and raised in Port Alberni. Jason will be Alberni Brewing Company’s head brewer.

“He’s got vast experience in regards to brewing,” said Welsh. “Both in a professional setting, and as an enthusiastic home brewer,” she added with a laugh.

The brewery plans to serve a selection of session and seasonal beers, with a focus on hop-forward and hazy IPAs, alongside pilsner-style international lagers. The company will be both kegging and canning on site. There will also be plenty of options for designated drivers and non-beer drinkers, added Welsh.

The food menu is still under development, but Welsh says it will incorporate a “west coast vibe” and will complement the brewhouse. Kitchen manager and Alberni Brewing Company co-owner Yvan St. Onge is also from Port Alberni.

Welsh says the inside of the building aims to capture the feeling of the West Coast and will be a “relaxing community setting” for both locals and tourists. The lounge area will feature a fireplace and will have a variety of seating options, including booths and a small seasonal patio area.

One nearby resident wrote a letter to council, expressing concern about the outdoor patio and the potential for noise. But Welsh says that the patio will have 40 feet of space between the end of the fence and the neighbouring property. The brewery will not be hosting any entertainment, so she doesn’t expect too much noise from the patio.

Renovations are expected to be complete in December 2020, but opening depends on a final decision from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

“We’re hoping for early 2021,” said Welsh.

Although Alberni Brewing Company will be the third brewery in Port Alberni, Welsh thinks that the market can “more than sustain” the added business. Business is still booming at both Twin City Brewing and Dog Mountain Brewing, despite current COVID-19 complications.

“The best thing about craft breweries is that it brings the community together,” Welsh said. “It’s exciting when there are multiple breweries in town. We like to think each brewery brings some unique aspects, and therefore complement each other.”

With the BC Ale Trail, Welsh added, many people are travelling to communities specifically to check out the local breweries.

“It’s not about competition,” she said. “It’s about being together as beer enthusiasts. There’s a comradeship when it comes to craft breweries.”

You can find Alberni Brewing Company on Facebook.

Alberni Brewing Company will be located in the former Colour Your World building on Adelaide Street. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
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