A planning permit has been granted to Chris Morris – multimillionaire owner of boutique brewery, the Colonial Brewing Company in Western Australia’s Margaret River region, as well as a string of pubs and hotels – to build a boutique brewery near the Cape Schanck lighthouse. The complex will also include an organic farm, restaurant, function centre, plant nursery and caretaker’s residence.
Locals have named a range of objections to the site’s creation including its potential impact on native flora and fauna as well as potential odours from the beer making process and traffic management for the deliveries to the brewery.
Over 60 objections in total were lodged before mediation was entered into and the proposal received approval.
This is not a new story with brewers facing opposition that surely would not be faced by those seeking to set up wineries or wine bars in the same situations – in fact the area in question is a well-known wine tasting destination. However, when one considers that the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reportedly limited the brewery to using hops grown exclusively on the farm – by way of land use restrictions, unless explicit approval is given by the local council – and the situation begins to stray into farce territory.
The last twelve months alone have seen a string of breweries come under fire in the development stage. Young Henrys in Sydney had their struggles widely reported before they eventually had to move the intended location of their brewery to avoid local opposition. Green Beacon Brewery in Queensland had trouble with a resident manipulating the local press in order to stop their brewery’s construction and Cheeky Monkey in WA was dragged through all sorts of legal wrangling by an angry local winemaker who believed the brewery would damage the local wild yeast population.
Despite differences between those small scale developments and this move by Chris Morris and his Colonial Leisure Group being obvious, the principal of discrimination against breweries remains the same.