Molson Coors Canada announced plans to build a new high-tech brewery in Chilliwack by late 2018 or early 2019.
The official announcement Thursday morning capped months of ground work and preparation.
“Chilliwack met all of our requirements to build a new brewery in British Columbia,” said Molson Coors president CEO Stewart Glendinning in a release.
Their brewers were "delighted" with the high quality water in Chilliwack, which they consider "a key ingredient" to producing great beer and cider.
“Molson Coors Canada has a strong commitment to the communities in which we operate. We continue this tradition working closely with the people of Chilliwack and together we raise a glass to toast a long and prosperous relationship,” said Glendinning.
They also lauded the work by City of Chilliwack and Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation.
"We would not have been able to move forward without their active participation and support," the Molson Coors CEO added.
Chilliwack officials are keenly aware that the major brewery moving to town is going to bring economic spinoffs — jobs, taxes and positive buzz about the community of Chilliwack.
So the welcome is so far exceptionally warm for this "high profile" project, both accessible and visible from the highway.
“The City of Chilliwack is delighted to extend a warm welcome to Molson Coors Canada and would like to thank CEPCO for its dedication and commitment in helping to facilitate this move to our community,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “The new Molson Coors Canada brewery will be one of the largest private sector projects to come to Chilliwack and will encourage further economic development and job opportunities in our community.”
After months of active searching and discussions with various municipalities, Molson Coors selected a 36-acre site on Kerr Avenue in Chilliwack.
It's been "a team effort" since November with City of Chilliwack and CEPCO doing everything possible to showcase Chilliwack as an ideal location for the new Molson Coors brewery in B.C.
Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce officials see an exciting and bright future for the brewery in Chilliwack, and are looking forward to having such a significant new business in the community.
"The Chamber welcomes Molson-Coors to our community and we are very proud of the hard work that CEPCO and the City of Chilliwack have done," said Chamber board chair Kirk Dzaman.
"Ensuring Chilliwack offers an environment to attract and secure a world class company, like Molson-Coors, really speaks to the value of CEPCO and the hard work of the City. This collaborative effort re-affirms a positive business environment in Chilliwack and we look forward to our relationship with Molson-Coors as they become part of our community."
CEPCO reps worked closely with Molson Coors.
“The entire board of the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation is excited to welcome Molson Coors to our community,” said Brian Coombes, CEPCO President.
They helped in providing data and background about the community, mapping out why it would be suitable, in terms of size and location.
“It has been a pleasure working with the Molson Coors team during their site selection process, and we look forward to providing ongoing support for this important brewery project,” added Coombes.
Parcels of land were consolidated on Elder Avenue, and the rezoning to Agricultural Food Processing was approved in July, added to some existing property already zoned AFP on Kerr Avenue.
The sale of the Burrard Street brewery site in Vancouver went through on March 31, with Concord Pacific acquiring it for $185 million. That's when the site search began.
When the sale went through, Molson Coors remained committed to maintaining a footprint in B.C.
“Brewing in British Columbia is an integral part of our North American supply chain,” said Glendinning. “We look forward to continuing to grow our operations with the new Fraser Valley Brewery, in Chilliwack, and could not have moved forward on this project without the ongoing support from the British Columbia government and their Major Investments Office.”
Molson Coors Canada has a long standing history of B.C. brewing, dating back to the purchase of the Sick’s Capilano Brewery in 1958.
“British Columbia has a long and proud tradition of brewing excellence, and as North America’s oldest brewer, Molson Coors has always been a big part of that,” said Premier Christy Clark. “The new brewery in Chilliwack means more jobs in the Fraser Valley, and another vote of confidence in Canada’s leading economy.”
The first phase of brewery construction will be for a 21300 sq. m. facility for processing, packaging, warehousing, offices, staff amenities and more, according to city documents.
Brewing operations will continue at the Burrard Street facility in Vancouver until the new brewery is built and commissioned in late 2018 or early 2019.