Construction of a craft distillery in Fernie has been stalled by a hiccup in the building permit approval process.
However, the proponents of Lost Boys Distilling Co. have not been deterred by the delay and still hope to open in time for the 2018/19 winter season.
Trevor Semchuck, Spencer Schey and Pat Couglin continue to work with the City of Fernie on their building permit application, which they expect to submit this month.
“We found that they have some additional requirements that we need to address before we can get issued the building permit and that just comes down to our location, and what we’re doing,” said Semchuck.
“They want to be quite cautious moving forward with neighbourhood protection and public safety.”
The business has already cleared several hurdles, including bylaw amendments to allow breweries and distilleries in the Highway Corridor, and at the site of Lost Boys Distilling Co. on 7th Ave, which councillors approved in March.
Semchuck said they have contractors lined up to renovate the 2000 square foot building into a distillery and tasting lounge once the building permit is issued.
He estimates construction will take 4-6 months.
“We’re looking at building it in stages but priority is to get the distillery built, so we can get our manufacturing licence and start doing what we want to be doing, which is making craft spirits for Fernie,” he said.
The trio has started applying for some other permits but most are dependent on the building permit, which Semchuck described as a “big stepping stone” for the business.
In the meantime, the partners have been visiting other craft distilleries and exploring different directions for the business, and ways to make products.
“If there is a silver lining to the length of time it’s taking us to get going it’s that it’s given us a chance to really kind of analyze our market a bit more and develop a better business plan,” said Semchuck.
“It’s going to be a better product and better experience, especially when people come into the distillery.
“We made some changes along the way and we’re pretty excited for some of the innovations we’ve come up with, and during this time there have just been some great people that have stepped up from the community to support us with their time and ideas and their efforts.”