Agenda Index City of Vancouver



NOVEMBER 13, 1997


Date: October 15, 1997

File: 375 Water St.

CC File: 2615-4

TO: Vancouver Liquor Licensing Commission

FROM: Chief License Inspector

SUBJECT: 375 Water Street - The Quarterdeck Brewery Co. Ltd.

Off-Premise Sales in Class ‘D’ Brew Pub


A.THAT the Vancouver Liquor Licensing Commission direct that consideration of the application by Quarterdeck Brewery Co. Ltd., for off-premise sales in the Class ‘D’ Brew Pub, (Steamworks) at 375 Water Street, be subject to the results of a referendum, conducted in accordance with existing City guidelines; or

B.THAT the Vancouver Liquor Licensing Commission endorse the request by Quarterdeck Brewery Co. Ltd., for off-premise sales in the Class ‘D’ Brew Pub, (Steamworks) at 375 Water Street, having considered the opinion of the area residents and business operators as determined through the neighbourhood notification process; or

C.THAT the Vancouver Liquor Licensing Commission advise the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch it does not endorse the request by Quarterdeck Brewery Co. Ltd., for off-premise sales in the Class ‘D’ Brew Pub (Steamworks) at 375 Water Street, having considered the opinion of the area residents and business operators as determined through the neighbourhood notification process.


The General Manager of Community Services submits the choice of A, B or C for CONSIDERATION.


Council policy is that no new liquor licenses or amendments to existing licenses to increase seating capacity or extend hours of sales (except Restaurant-Class 1) be permitted in the Downtown Eastside or Gastown areas, except that new liquor licenses forming part of a new hotel or major complex be considered on a case-by-case basis.

On June 21, 1994, Council approved that, notwithstanding the current moratorium on further liquor outlets in Gastown, the application for a Class ‘D’ Brew Pub (Steamworks) at 375 Water Street be endorsed subject to the condition that no off-premise sales be permitted.

Council policy also requires that new liquor license applications and amendments to existing licenses be subject to a referendum prior to receiving final consideration if the premises are located in close proximity to residential accommodation.


Quarterdeck Brewery Co. Ltd. is requesting a City Council resolution endorsing its application to permit off-premise sales in the Class ‘D’ Brew Pub (Steamworks) at 375 Water Street.


In a letter to the applicant dated October 21, 1994, the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch gave pre-clearance approval to proceed with an application for a brew pub and restaurant in conjunction with a neighbourhood pub, with the condition that off-premise sales of packaged liquor not be permitted.

On April 13, 1995, an application went before the Vancouver Liquor Licensing Commission. The Commission was advised that the application had received well in excess of the 60% referendum requirement with 89.4% of the votes cast in favour. The Commission gave its support to the application for a Class ‘D’ Neighbourhood Brew Pub, subject to the condition there be no off-premise liquor sales.

The subject premises are located in the HA-2 Gastown zoning district. This neighbourhood is a mixture of retail, office and residential, with a number of hotels located within the 1000-foot radius. The closest residences are approximately two blocks from these premises (Appendix A).

Included in this area are Harbour Centre, Sinclair Centre, Granville Square and the SkyTrain and Seabus terminals. Victory Square is on the south perimeter of the area. There is a Provincial Government liquor store at Harbour Centre.

Within the survey area there is four Class ‘A’ Pubs (612 seats), three cabarets (598 seats), one Class ‘A’ Lounge (220 seats) and approximately 18 licensed restaurants (1,800 seats).


The hours of operation sought for the off-premise sales is 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Steamworks (Quarterdeck Brewing Co. Ltd.) has advised that in-house brand beers account for over 80% of total beer sales at present. This percentage would be higher, except for the fact that they do not yet have the physical capacity to consistently keep lager beers on tap, as they require a longer conditioning period. Steamworks expect the percentage of in-house beer sold through off-sales to be as high, if not higher, as many of the purchasers are likely to be tourist and cruise ship passengers seeking the product to take aboard the cruise.

The original application for the Class ‘D’ Brew Pub was endorsed by Council on April 13, 1995, contrary to existing policy as there was considerable community support and few objections to the proposal. This endorsement was subject to no off-premise sales as Council was concerned about possible neighbourhood impacts.

Steamworks has been a positive addition to Gastown, and has not resulted in any negative impacts or complaints.


The Gastown Heritage Preservation Committee feels that Steamworks has been a credit to the neighbourhood during its first year of operation and has no objection to off-premise sales of the company’s own product. However, there are concerns about permitting general off-premise sales and the Committee resolved that off-premise sales by the current operators of Steamworks be supported, but that the permit be reconsidered if new operators take over, and further that the Committee reserve the right to review on an annual basis, if necessary.

The Police Department does not support this application as off-premise sales are often a problem for communities. Patrons leaving licensed premises with liquor will sometimes consume it in a public place and engage in rowdy behavior. This results in increased calls for service, and the department’s resources are fully occupied with existing workload. Steamworks is at the extreme west end of the Gastown area and their patrons may not cause a problem, but the granting of off-premise sales may establish a precedent for other applications.

The Planning Department has no objection, but does note the original Development Permit was issued with the condition that "no off-premise liquor sales or entertainment by exotic dancers" would be permitted. It will be necessary for the applicant to apply for a minor amendment to the Development Permit in order to have this condition of approval amended.

The Environmental Health Division of the Health Board has no objections.

The Social Planning Department and The Housing Centre have no comments.


Staff is putting this application forward for Council’s consideration. This is contrary to Council policy related to expansion of liquor availability in the Gastown area, but Steamworks has demonstrated responsible management, resulting in a positive addition to the Gastown area. Under current Liquor Control and Licensing Branch policy, it is not possible to restrict this approval to the current owners as suggested by the Gastown Heritage Preservation Committee.

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