Vancouver brewery looking to move due to high rent

Ashley Moliere / March 5th, 2018

Storm is located at Commercial Drive and Hastings Street in East Vancouver.
(Storm Brewing / Facebook)

One of the oldest breweries in Vancouver may need to pack-up and leave after being in the same location for 25 years, according to its owner. Storm Brewing owner, James Walton, said his lease is not being renewed at the end of its term in two years time.

“Everything is super expensive and there aren’t a lot of properties that are amenable to having a brewery in them…I’m looking at double my rent just because it’s gone up so much lately, everybody thinks these buildings are made of gold!” – James Walton, owner of Storm Brewing

Walton said rising taxes make it harder to run smaller businesses like breweries in Vancouver. He said he’s now looking to possibly move into Port Moody’s brewery community within the next two years if he can’t find another location in East Van.

Walton said he’s thankful for the positive responses he’s received from long-time patrons looking to help.

“Everybody is trying to help me solve my problem…somebody even phoned me with some buildings that he has.” – James Walton, owner of Storm Brewing

The original East Van brewer

Walton started Storm Brewing 25 years ago and is considered a pioneer in the micro-brewing community in Vancouver. He said when he started the business, not as many small breweries existed. Even with explosion of craft beer culture and the popularity of brewery crawls, Walton said it’s hard to compete with the rising cost of rent.

“A lot of them are being driven out with the high cost of Vancouver real estate…it could mean we’re all moving out of town. I doubt that will happen but a few might move out, a few might not survive, a few of them may just quit.” – James Walton, owner of Storm Brewing

Walton said one mistake he believes the city made was allowing condos to be built in industrial areas. He said the mix of residential and small business in one building makes the land very valuable which drives up the cost of rent for the businesses.

Although he may need to move locations, Walton is happy that he has had an influence on the Vancouver beer scene for more than two decades and vows to continue to make beer for as long as he can.

With files from Sean Murphy.