Merridale plans brewery and distillery for Dockside Green

The owners of Cobble Hill’s Merridale Cidery and Distillery are launching a new venture in Victoria to be called Dockside Brewery and Distillery.

Janet Docherty and Rick Pipes aim to open a craft distillery and brewery, a pizzeria and tasting bar and a rooftop patio on a Harbour Road lot they are buying at Dockside Green.

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The distillery would turn out whisky, gin and vodka using local ingredients. Merridale will also produce its first line of beers. Merridale Cider will continue to be made at the company’s Cobble Hill operation and be available on tap at Dockside.

“It will be a place where we can invite the locals in. It will be very geared toward that,” Docherty said Monday. “The main thrust and why we chose to do it at Dockside development is because of the green elements.”

Indoor seating for 50 and another 35 on the patio are planned, Docherty said. Tours of the distillery, including a boardwalk to view the distilling operation, will also be offered.

If all goes smoothly, Docherty hopes to see the new venture open in early 2018.

An “industrial chic” design for the three-storey building to meld with the area is planned, she said. Brass and large timbers would help create a warm ambience inside.

Plans are being developed as they work with Vancity, owners of the Dockside development, to purchase the lot and craft building plans. It is too soon to know the specific size of the building, Docherty said.

A development permit application will be submitted to the City of Victoria.

Dockside Green recently won city hall approval for a revamped development plan that includes residential and commercial uses.

The project will be faithful to the area’s commitment to sustainability by meeting LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) standards, Docherty said. A number of environmentally friendly practices will be put into effect when the distillery and brewery opens. Buying local products and using local businesses for services and supplies are also part of their agenda.

Docherty believes the new business will add to the region’s tourism offerings. She is on the board of Tourism Victoria and Tourism Vancouver Island, and is president of Tourism Cowichan Valley.

Docherty and Pipes bought Merridale 18 years ago and have experienced growth each year since, she said.

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