Refined Fool brewery’s downtown expansion bid goes flat

The building that had been proposed for an expansion of Sarnia’s Refined Fool Brewing Company. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

Sarnia’s own craft brewery has scrapped plans to expand operations into a second downtown location, for now anyway.

The Refined Fool alerted city staff last week it was withdrawing its request for bylaw amendments to develop the former Sarnia This Week building.

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, Refined Fool will not be proceeding with an expansion at 153 Christina Street as originally planned,” the owners said in a prepared statement.
“We would like to thank everyone for their support and well wishes. Refined Fool still has big plans and we look forward to sharing them with you soon.”

The brewery’s owners requested the planning applications be withdrawn due to a failure to reach an agreement with the building’s owner, according to correspondence presented to city council on Nov. 14.

“(City) staff is of the understanding the owner and the applicant could not come to an agreement on the use of the building,” the report said.
Jim Pumple of Magic Realty represents the building at 153 Christina Street. He was not immediately available for comment.
On Sept. 12, Refined Fool presented council with a detailed 200-plus-page report prepared with the assistance of a former city planner at a cost of $26,000.

Nathan Colquhoun, one of the brewery’s owners, said the current Davis Street location won’t change but a new production facility might need to be located outside the downtown core. He declined further comment.
This is not the first opposition the brewery has encountered in the pre-expansion process. Just prior to the Sept. 12 council bylaw vote, neighbours raised concerns about potential noise, traffic and fermenting odours should the brewery move in to the Christina street building.
Local lawyer Lyle Curran urged city council to get expert advice before “jumping into” it.
“There are real problems that are going to arise from this proposal,” Curran said. “If you are wrong about the odours … it is going to be a mess for the city of Sarnia.”
Oct. 14 was the last day for the public to appeal the amended bylaws. No appeals were received.