Phillips Brewings’ Tasting Room gets development nod from city

An art-deco style winged phoenix will be watching over Phillips Brewing and Malting Co.’s new tasting bar and retail outlet when it opens on Government Street this spring.

Victoria councillors this week approved a rezoning application and a development permit for the expansion of Phillips’ business at 540 Discovery St., and 2000 and 2010 Government St. The company plans to use 513 Pembroke St. for employee parking. The company’s brewing facility is located nearby.

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The new sign above Phillips Tasting Room takes its style from the art-deco style building that will house the tasting room and retail centre, said Phillips Brewing founder Matt Phillips. A date has not been set for opening.

“The winged creature is an art deco interpretation of our logo, which was originally a phoenix, after one of our early brands, which was named for a historical beer brewed in B.C.

“Interestingly, Victoria Phoenix brewery was located kitty corner to where the sign will stand, and in the direction that it points,” said Phillips.

Phillips’ employee Shawn O’Keefe designed the sign. John Shields of Etta Creative is the designer-builder and Michael Moody of MJM Architect Inc. is the architect for the project.

The tasting room is going in on the south side of the leased 4,000-square-foot building.

Phillips said the tasting room will feature 16 taps to serve its classic beers and new offerings to “showcase some of the creative juices of some of the brewers.”

It will have a long bar with tanks fixed in the ceiling, tables with tall bar chairs and a window into the packaging hall, where patrons can watch bottles and cans being filled. Glasses of four and 10 ounces will be available for customers to try various products. It will be open from noon to 10 p.m. Prices haven’t been set yet.

“We hope it will complement this part of town,” Phillips said. He moved his brewery to the Old Town district about a decade ago.

“It has changed a lot in that period of time — for the better. There is way more foot traffic. It feels like downtown is kind of stretching [northward].”

Victoria Coun. Chris Coleman agreed. “We are seeing the residential component of the downtown moving north.”

Commercial uses are moving north as well, he said. “[Phillips’ new space] just fits with that.”

Phillips Tasting Room will be a tourist attraction, said tourism consultant Frank Bourree, principal of Chemistry Consulting. “The Ale Trail marketing program has been very effective,” he said.

The B.C. Ale Trail showcases craft breweries around the province, giving details on self-guided tours in different areas such as Victoria, where Phillips Brewing, founded in 2001, is a major player.

“The industry itself really started here with Spinnakers [Gastro Brewpub and Guesthouses] many years ago and we’re head and shoulders above most communities in terms of our beer culture,” Bourree said.

Phillips “does a great job, he has a great reputation. I’m confident that he will deliver a really good product,” Bourree said.

Craft breweries are joining other Greater Victoria attractions that appeal to both locals and visitors, such as whale watching, tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel and Butchart Gardens.

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