Four Mile Brewing expands brand on West Shore

Four Mile Brewing has added a fourth dimension to its growing business — a second liquor store.

The company, owned by the Haymes family, will open the store this week after finishing touches are applied to the spot at the top of the Colwood Strip.

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The store has been years in the making and is being opened to break open the Four Mile brand.

“It’s an extension of the current business. We have one store, the brew pub and we have a brewery — and we wanted to grow the brand identity,” said Graham Haymes Jr.

The family bought the liquor licence and moved it to Colwood at 300 Goldstream Ave., beside Thrifty Foods.

Haymes said the location makes sense on a number of levels, not the least of which being the steady growth in the area.

“There’s been so much growth on the West Shore, it seems to grow 10 per cent each year, so I think there is a good chunk of market we can grow into,” Haymes said. “We’re excited about the location, and whenever you’re beside a grocery store you’re in a good spot.”

The new liquor store, which fills a 3,000-square-foot footprint, takes over what had been two stores within a strip mall.

And Haymes said it intends to cater to the prevailing tastes.

“We want to emphasize local craft beer and local spirits from new small distilleries. There’s huge demand for local products and craft beer especially, that prompted us to add [the new store],” he said. “We want to support local. We are a local small business and we want to pass that on.”

The Four Mile House Pub, operated in a historic View Royal roadhouse by the Haymes family since the early 1980s, expanded with a 2,500-square-foot brewery last year.

It started pulling its own pints and selling its beer at its first liquor store at Admiral’s Walk last February.

Haymes said the company has seen a lot of growth over the last few years. Now with the new retail operation, Four Mile will employ as many as 100 people through all operations.

The new store, however, may have been done a little differently had the family known the government was going to change the way it ran the liquor business.

Rules changed in April allowing provincially owned liquor stores to operate on Sundays, holidays, for extended hours and it allowed them to sell refrigerated products.

Only a handful of the 196 provincially owned liquor stores were open Sundays prior to April. That number is now close to 150.

“We would still have opened, but it would certainly have affected how we went about it. It would have changed our business model,” he said.

Haymes believes the market has become more competitive as a result.

“You have to innovate, be creative and willing to change to stay relevant and you have to keep providing good products and services to bring people in and keep them here,” he said.

As for future expansion, Haymes said it’s possible, but the focus is on getting the new store up and running.

“And we want to grow the brewery and expand our distribution,” he said, noting they currently sell beer in Victoria, some Vancouver locations and in some areas of the Okanagan.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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