Toronto is at the centre of a worldwide craft beer renaissance. The craft beer sector has seen tremendous growth in recent years and is expected to continue to grow.

Toronto needs to support growth in the new craft beer sector, but the general nature of the definitions in the zoning bylaw do not reflect the realities of craft beer manufacturing and sales.

We need to change that.

That is why I’ve been working with staff from the Planning, Buildings, and Economic Development divisions, brewery owners, and event planners as part of a working group playfully called the Cask Force since 2015.

We conducted a survey of craft breweries to inform the Cask Force’s work and together we have published an internal guidance document for interpreting the existing zoning bylaw concerning craft breweries. While this work has been rewarding, we have reached the limits of what interpretation of the existing zoning bylaw can offer and we are ready to explore changes to the zoning bylaw to foster support of the Craft Beer industry.

This week I introduced a motion requesting that City Planning begin the process to do just that. In the next few months the Chief Planner and Executive Director of City Planning will host a community consultation on recommended changes to the Zoning By-laws related to craft breweries and brew pubs and will report back to Council on their findings in the fall.

Stay tuned for more details and send me an email at councillor_layton@toronto.ca if you would like to be kept up to date on this issue.