Prince Rupert brewery targeting a spring opening
When the weather starts to warm up, Prince Rupert craft beer lovers will be able to buy local with the launch of the Wheelhouse Brewing Co. in Cow Bay.
"Our intention is to be completing our first sales this spring. We're two to three months away from opening," James Witzke, one of Wheelhouse's three creators, said.
"This is what we're passionate about, so we want to see this through."
Witzke and Wheelhouse Brewing Co. partners Craig Outhet and Kent Worten all started home brewing around the same time, and decided to take their hobby to the next level by opening Prince Rupert's lone microbrewery.
The partners have laid the groundwork for the microbrewery located on 1st Avenue East, and while the space is currently empty, Witzke says there's not a lot of "dirty" work left. Approximately 90 per cent of the equipment for the brewery has already been purchased, and the trio already planned the lay out of the brewery. The space will include a walk-in cooler, a bottling station, fermenting area, brewing station, tasting room and more.
"It's primarily going to be a brewing space, but it's also hopefully going to be a space where we can have functions," he said, mentioning band performances and unconventional events like bean bag tossing competitions could be in the establishment's future.
"We don't just want to make and sell beer. Even as we're developing, and not even making beer yet, we're thinking about what things we can do to contribute to the community in a positive way."
Another factor the entrepreneurs are weighing in on is the perfection of their beer recipes. Wheelhouse will have two main stay beers, a West Coast Pale Ale, with a "robust, hoppy" taste, and either a golden or blonde ale, available in 340 ml bottles. The brewery will also release seasonal beer batches in 650 ml bottles, that Witzke says will be their "creative, more complex beers such as stouts and porters".
Both the business' main stay beers and seasonal beers will also be available in kegs.
While there is still work to do before the brewery's beverages flow into the mouths of Rupertites, Witzke says the longest process left will be waiting on the permit and license process. In the mean time, the Wheelhouse Brewers eagerly anticipate the opening of their business.
"For us, this is right up there with the most exciting things we've done in our lives and we're not even started yet. It's been such a fun process up to this point already," Witzke said.
"We're looking forward to opening and celebrating with everyone in town."