Ucluelet could have its first brewery in place by the time next summer kicks off.
Last year, local entrepreneur Dennis Morgan announced a plan to open a roughly 2,500-microlitre-producing microbrewery and tasting room at the building formerly known as St. Aidan’s on the Hill Church at the corner of Peninsula Road and Main Street. Morgan’s brewery idea received resounding support from the community, which convinced Ucluelet’s council to approve the project in May, 2016.
Morgan told the Westerly News last week that he’s currently working with consultants to put some finishing touches on his business plan and he’ll be seeking investors in the coming weeks with the intent to open Ukee’s first brewery at the start of next summer.
“That would be very optimistic, but possible,” he said of the timeline. “I’ve put a lot of time and effort into it and the intent is definitely still there.”
Morgan said he’s excited to take his first crack at the brewery business, especially considering the unique venue he’ll be operating in at the former church.
“A number of factors made it possible and it just seemed like the right thing to do in the right building with the right people,” he said. “I love beer. I plan on relaxing there and having a beer with friends as well.”
He said his new establishment would add to Ucluelet’s impressive roster of summertime attractions and could also be a strong draw during the offseason.
“It’s just another solid attraction that the town can offer to visitors and locals alike,” he said. “If we can bring some more [visitors] in over the winter time, which is entirely possible with something like a microbrewery, then that would be good.”
The former church had been sitting idle since being deconsecrated by the church in 2010 and sold to local builder Leif Hagar in 2011 who ran into zoning issues when he tried to transform it into an event venue and commercial space the following year.
The building has been a hot spot of activity and conversation of late as locals have seen significant work being done at the site, which is in the middle of town, and Hagar said the remediation work, which includes a new roof, new windows, new siding and a new deck, has gone smoothly and should wrap up this winter.
Hagar added he’s enjoyed the reactions and thumbs-ups he and his crew have received from excited passers by.
“All the feedback I’ve been getting is that everyone is excited about it,” he said.