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Eat & Drink

Bellwoods Brewery to open new location on Dupont St.

Posted by Ben Johnson / August 6, 2014

Bellwoods Brewery DupontBellwoods Brewery is opening a second location. It's a sentence I've been looking forward to typing for months, but given that Luke Pestl and Mike Clark, the owners of one of the city's best beer destinations, haven't been ready to release the details publicly, I've remained quiet, though it hasn't been easy.

This morning, the brewers made an announcement on their website (so I can finally yell it from the mountain top: Bellwoods, a place that has been churning out award-winning beer since they first opened their doors in 2012, and a venue that's perpetually rammed with craft beer nerds and scene-seeking Ossington-bar-hoppers alike, is efffing expanding.

Located at 950 Dupont Street, currently the home of GH Johnson Trading Company, the second installment of Bellwoods Brewery has long been in the works, and while the Bellwoods folks are close to finalizing the details, they're still ironing out a considerable amount of the finer points in terms of the municipal zoning, city variances, and a handful of other not-so-fun stuff that actually takes up a lot more of a brewery owners' time than they like to talk about. As Clark tells me via phone, "I'm the company bureaucrat at the moment."

For the most part, the bureaucratic work involves ensuring that Bellwoods can have exactly the kind of new brewery they want, and the plans for said brewery are extremely exciting for Torontonians. The space -- more specifically the soaring 25,000 square foot "glass box" portion of that address -- will include a sprawling brewing facility, a potential retail space, a hop garden/green roof, a tasting room, and an event space--both of which will incorporate outdoor seating by way of a ground-level patio on the west side just north of Dovercourt and Dupont and a rooftop terrace on the north section of the glass box.

Clark and Pestl seem very much concerned with ensuring that the space is aesthetically pleasing and it seems clear that the multiple event spaces that will be available could soon be in high demand, both among corporate event planners and beer fans looking for a spot to host their wedding. So now I need to convince my wife to divorce me so we can get re-married there.

Bellwoods Brewery DupontThe brewery istelf will likely produce 8,000 hectolitres of beer to start, but will eventually produce upwards of 15,000 hectolitres once production maxes out (for some perspective, that's roughly a quarter of the amount of beer Steam Whistle produces at The Roundhouse). Accordingly, while they'll still be very much a "craft" brewery by industry standards, there is going to be, in scientific terms, a shit-ton more Bellwoods beer flowing in Toronto in the next few years.

Clark tells me that he and Pestl are obviously very excited about the new space and are hopeful that they can be a draw in their new neighbourhood just they have been on Ossington. In addition to the obvious bonus of providing local residents with a place to get hyper-local craft beer, the Bellwoods guys are looking forward to be part of restoring an amazing space that has, as of late, had the rather unglamorous function of storing furniture and garbage.

"It's an awesome building that's one of the best remaining examples of mid-20th-century manufacturing on Dupont." Clark says. Indeed the building has largely been derelict for 25 years but is a space with a considerable amount of local history, It once housed Hamilton Gear, a quintessential manufacturing company that created machine parts which, among other things, move the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway, retract the Rogers Centre roof, and even once opened and closed the pilot's canopy over the cockpit of the Avro Arrow.

Happily, the brewers have discovered a landlord who sees the value of maintaining the space and has opted to do the restoration work for them. There will be considerable restoration on the glass and resurfacing inside, as well as the large task of bringing the manufacturing equipment up to modern mechanical specifications; a commendable effort in a city that often seems geared more toward knocking things down to build more condos.

"The landlord thinks it's a beautiful structure and wants to preserve it," Clark says. "And he wants a young and up-and-coming tenant to occupy it and hopefully bring some new life to the neighbourhood."

Construction and restoration will likely commence within the year and then it's just a short wait for the doors to open and the beer to start flowing.

Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog. Follow him on twitter @Ben_T_Johnson.

Discussion

58 Comments

Total Cleanse / August 6, 2014 at 10:44 am
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Amazing News! Situated kitty-corner to the future home of Bellwoods Brewery 2.0, we are incredibly excited to welcome such a well-respected company to the neighbourhood!
M / August 6, 2014 at 10:46 am
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Fantastic- have been waiting for something cool to happen with this building. Even more exciting that it's Bellwoods Brewery
Dan / August 6, 2014 at 10:51 am
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So I imagine they will be going for a SteamWhistle Roundhouse kind of a thingee?

Good news for that corner and the area.
tt / August 6, 2014 at 10:55 am
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YES! Good news indeed. That building deserved better than a sea of empty cardboard boxes, glad to hear it's going to be home to an ocean of good beer.
K-Borg / August 6, 2014 at 11:00 am
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This is glorious news!
Vasant / August 6, 2014 at 11:01 am
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I love bellwoods, but they really need a pilsner.
Bubba / August 6, 2014 at 11:07 am
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So are they gonna put out a beer called The Galleria?
Davak / August 6, 2014 at 11:08 am
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A more than welcome addition to the hood, couldn't be happier about this.
Welcome / August 6, 2014 at 11:11 am
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I'm not a big fan of Bellwoods Brewery not quite my taste BUT this will be great for the neighborhood and another opportunity hopefully to be able to buy beer later than the beer store and on holidays. The few times I've had Bellwoods was because it was a holiday so I sent to their Bottle Shop and brought beer home!!!

sheila / August 6, 2014 at 11:13 am
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excellent news for property values in the area. bring it on! and I'm glad it sounds like they want to keep the glass box - such a fabulous building.
trickydisco / August 6, 2014 at 11:14 am
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gorgeous space - if they do this right this is going to become a destination and a half :)
johnsonstarfish / August 6, 2014 at 11:15 am
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Sweeeeeeeeeet! I live right around the corner. No more drunk bike rides home and hopefully the new space allows them to brew more than just ales. They really need to diversify.
nbd / August 6, 2014 at 11:23 am
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Holy shit so excited. Such a cool building to be saved!
Yes / August 6, 2014 at 11:30 am
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The only thing that makes me sad about this is that someone was able to do something with this building before I could buy it and turn it into my own modern/industrial lair.
Chester / August 6, 2014 at 11:41 am
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Great news for the area. Biked past this building and it always looked like it has so much potential. I'm glad this is going up and the condo at Dupont and Lansdowne. Duponts gonna be the spot to be in 5-6 years.
asdf / August 6, 2014 at 11:42 am
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F-YA! They can do no wrong in my eyes! Best beer line-up going and that location will be amazing!
Guy from the area / August 6, 2014 at 11:48 am
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Great news! Welcome (unofficially) to the 'hood! There are lots of beer buffs in the area that appreciate you moving into this space. We're ready when you are...
Aaron / August 6, 2014 at 11:50 am
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A+ news! Best of luck to the neighbourhood along with new jobs too.
teary / August 6, 2014 at 11:50 am
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what an awesome building for a brewery. Those soaring glass walls are soo cool. this place will be a Toronto destination.
sean / August 6, 2014 at 11:56 am
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Hopefully some of Bellwoods beer can start flowing east to Ottawa now!
Lin Ye / August 6, 2014 at 12:03 pm
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I'm absolutely shocked nobody has made a "hipsters" comment yet. Wow. Kudos Toronto, maybe you're finally starting to grow up.
Jimmy / August 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm
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Hipsters suck a bag of dicks! YEA!
mike / August 6, 2014 at 12:14 pm
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PLEASE tell me they are going to figure out a parking solution around there. BRUTAL.
Skye replying to a comment from Lin Ye / August 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm
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That's because making comments about hipsters is sooooo mainstream.
chester replying to a comment from mike / August 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm
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It's called take the TTC. It's bordered by dufferin and ossington 29 bus and 63 bus some of the most frequent of the TTC.
links / August 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm
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That's amazing. I've often admired this building and I'm thrilled that someone wants to repurpose it and keep it's beauty in tact.
A neighbour / August 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm
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Count me among those who consider this amazing news (and not just because I live steps away). Let's hope it'll motivate someone to do something with the shuttered Picea space across the street.
elizabeth / August 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm
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Yeah, I'm a bit worried about parking. I live on Dovercourt, and I hope it isn't chaos with people looking to park. There isn't much. Although I guess people can park on Geary! Otherwise, I'm looking forward to it. Wish it would open SOON!
Lisa / August 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm
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AMAZING news! Welcome to the neighbourhood Bellwoods Brewery
Angela McConnell replying to a comment from Yes / August 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm
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My thoughts exactly!!! I wanted that building for me as well
AMY replying to a comment from elizabeth / August 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm
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Hopefully most people won't be driving to the brewery anyways, unless just picking up a case of beer and leaving. Either way its welcomed to the neighborhood.

We all know this will bring crowds, drunks, 2am yelling and hollering, litter, some late night drunken property damages, etc. etc. Its the same on Ossington and Dundas West as they've changed so has the vistors and damages in the area BUT that's just par for the course and not the bar or brewery's issues. THE POSITIVES FAR OUT WEIGH THE NEGATIVES
Chris / August 6, 2014 at 01:08 pm
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My experience with Bellwoods has been hit and miss on the product and generally miss on the staff. Since the article mentions Steam Whistle, here's to hoping they can adopt some of the redeeming qualities of the good beer folks(consistent & balanced product, great staff)
MoC / August 6, 2014 at 02:57 pm
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Their core lineup made up, roughly, of: Roman Candle, Witchshark, Grizzly Beer, Wizard Wolf, Farmhouse, Hellwoods, Cat Lady (give or take a couple others) is as good or better than any other Ontario brewery's core lineup of beers. There's no consistency problems there.

Their experimentation, from the single-hop Monogamy series to playing around with brett to bringing seriously tasty sub-4% beers to market to big, bold barrel-aged stouts and Belgians is both commendable in its ambition, but also remarkable in its consistency in terms of never having bombed one. You may not love sour stout, or tequila-barrel-aged Berliner, or 10% spiced saison styles but the crew at Bellwoods is nothing if not consistently pushing the envelope on their brewing and doing it at a near world-class level (http://www.canadianbeernews.com/2013/01/28/bellwoods-named-the-worlds-3-new-brewery-in-ratebeer-best-2013/).

When their second location opens and starts cranking out beer, this move, and the ambition behind it, will no doubt be one of the biggest beer news stories in Ontario, if not Canada, of the year. More space for more sours and barrel-aged beers, and more creative and unique bottle-conditioned releases? Yes, please. If there's anyone in this country who can pull this all off, it's Bellwoods.
DL replying to a comment from mike / August 6, 2014 at 04:04 pm
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Yes, we do need more parking solutions around breweries...
DL replying to a comment from Chris / August 6, 2014 at 04:04 pm
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Minus the piss-tasting beer, of course.
Chris replying to a comment from MoC / August 6, 2014 at 05:08 pm
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I'd gladly take something from Great Lakes or Le Castor before anything from their line-up but DL brings up a good point on how subjective taste is.

mfm / August 6, 2014 at 06:37 pm
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who the hell drives to bellwoods brewery

take the bus
reed / August 6, 2014 at 08:40 pm
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oh boy.. here come the hipsters
Potrzebie / August 6, 2014 at 08:50 pm
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When you are grown up and have a busy life, you don't have time to take the bus for a beer run.

But let's not bitch. This is great news. Very glad to see this remarkable building go to good use. Thumbs up.
Aubrey replying to a comment from Bubba / August 6, 2014 at 10:12 pm
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This is my favourite blogTO comment ever. Thank you, Bubba.
oldy / August 6, 2014 at 10:29 pm
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I can buy beer anywhere, a decent furniture store in my area is rare. I will smoke the hipsters out with my 2 stroke.
Drew / August 7, 2014 at 12:35 am
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Ahhh Yeah SteamWhistle Roundhouse North is a great idea. Awesome building!

Welcome to the neighbourhood. You're welcomed.
alanna l / August 7, 2014 at 02:19 am
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I live near the current Bellwoods and work near the proposed building and I'm super happy to see that the comments here are generally positive (I was expecting the worst - this is blogTO afterall!).
This is great news for beer and for the neighbourhood.
And, no thanks to any Steamwhistle style pilsner factories please (it's a truly garbage beer and a total waste of space in the roundhouse. You have a gem down there Steamwhistle, use it and brew some other beers - it's a disgrace to the craft).
Donald / August 7, 2014 at 05:44 am
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I wish them the best. However trust me on this, the Landlord -- although a true character -- is one of the most difficult people Ive ever dealt with. It would not surprise me if this whole thing turns out to be a major disaster will lawsuits all around. Mark my words...
Sarah / August 7, 2014 at 08:59 am
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Has this been final approved by the city councillor? I see no mention of it. In the new rules establishments like this need the approval of the area councillor before it can become a reality and they can open thier doors there.

Please get the proper approvals if you havent already before stirring up area residents with an announcement.
Andy / August 7, 2014 at 09:03 am
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Yeah a Steam Whistle roundhouse north. This sounds like a great idea. Steamwhisle has shown to have great success with a brewery/bar/event space. I wish Bellwoods brewery much success in following suit.
trevor / August 7, 2014 at 09:06 am
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Is this what we call gettin in while the gettins good? Or business mistake 101 expanding to fast?
ellietown / August 7, 2014 at 09:17 am
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i admire this cramazing building every time i bike past it to fiesta farms, cannot wait for a grocery shop pit stop!
Audio Blood / August 7, 2014 at 11:35 am
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This is terrific. Support local breweries!
Matt / August 7, 2014 at 03:25 pm
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Great news! I just bought a house close to there!
Garneau / August 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm
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Outstanding news!! Welcome to the hood!
Shane / August 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm
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The only brewery that asks you to throw away your empties.
NC / August 8, 2014 at 08:49 am
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My favourite building in TO ... I'm hoping it doesn't change much.
Bobby replying to a comment from Lin Ye / August 8, 2014 at 10:46 am
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This isn't a hipster area…..yet. But with the lower housing costs north of bloor and available industrial space it's only a matter of time and I welcome the transformation, I am a resident of this area and I'm looking forward to seeing some changes.
Scott replying to a comment from Shane / August 8, 2014 at 10:57 am
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Totally false. They don't ask you to throw them out, they tell you to recycle them. They just don't charge a deposit and they're not in the LCBO so the beer store doesn't take them back. A lot of what the beer store takes back just gets recycled...most things in non-standard bottles.
Peter / August 9, 2014 at 03:49 am
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Oh, great. There goes all of my disposable income. Witchshark is one of my faves & I live blocks from there.
I have heard the no-return bottle is enviro-friendly. I had a talk with Steve Beauchesne of Beau's at a beer festival. They say they did a lot of research about packaging & chose the no-return bottle as the best option.
I look forward to it. It's a great addition to the neighbourhood.
Sarita replying to a comment from mike / August 9, 2014 at 11:08 am
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The most exciting neighbourhood revitalization news in central Toronto in years and your concern is parking on a gridlocked street? The idea is to increase foot traffic, not vehicles.
Sobriety Coach / August 12, 2014 at 08:36 pm
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Want to be a real entrepreneur? Open up a local, organic, free-range, CFC free Alcoholics Anonymous storefront. Sounds like there is an emerging market.

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