Orillia Brewing Company to start construction at 162 Mississaga St. E.
From left to right, the founding partners of the Orillia Brewing Company, the parent of new microbrewery Koochaching Brewing Co.: Bob Chorny, Jack Steenhof, Dennis Lee, Alex McGarvey, Matt Miller, Rob Meeder, Bob Robinson and Scott Weiler; absent is John Olieux. MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES
Get a couple of men of a certain age together, with a little extra cash and just as much time on their hands, and someone is bound to say, “We should open a bar.”
That’s kind of how the Orillia Brewing Company started.
Good things are soon to be brewing in downtown Orillia for beer lovers, as the city’s first microbrewery is hoping to open at 162 Mississaga St. E. later this summer, the former location of Askett Printing and Sinergy Clothing.
“We love beer and Orillia didn’t have a microbrewery, so this kind of all came together,” explained Scott Weiler, one of the founding partners. “(It’s) an independent group of guys who have been brewing for a little while ... a really good combination.”
The eight partners behind the company have been brewing their own beer as a brew club for about three years. Local professionals Matt Miller and Rob Meeder found themselves chatting at a charity event about the need for a microbrewery in the city.
They gathered some friends and soon were brewing beer in a friend’s garage. As they got more experience, the beer got better, and soon they were looking for a location to market their suds, wanting to create the craft beer destination in Ontario’s Lake Country.
The beer will be branded as the Koochaching Brewing Co., stylized as Koo Cha Ching, with the phonetic spelling stacked vertically down the front label of the bottle or can.
“Our flagship beer will be something that’s not too crazy,” Weiler said, “maybe like a kolsch, or a blond ale. We’ll have an (India pale ale) and a stout. We’ll probably have about four brands that are on all the time and maybe eight in total, sort of seasonal varieties.”
Alex McGarvey has been brought in as brew master. The products will be available for sale at the brewery to start, with hopes of getting the beer into both The Beer Store and the LCBO. The retail store will be located at the southwest corner of the property, at the corner of Matchedash and Mississaga streets, on the lower floor. Plans for the building will see both floors used, with the craft brewery and restaurant on both the first and second floors and office space on the second floor.
An official plan and zoning bylaw amendment to allow the brewery to operate on the site was pushed through by councillors at a planning meeting Monday. The amendment will become official via ratification by council at its next meeting.
At the planning meeting, councillors were told by Josh Morgan, the planner speaking on behalf of the application, an environmental compliance approval was not needed to allow the brewery to begin operation. One of the bigger concerns with breweries is the odour that can emanate during the brewing process. However, that was deemed not to be an issue with this proposal, and if it were to become a concern, technologies are available to mitigate the nuisance.
Construction is underway at the Mississaga Street location, with the brew system arriving in May.