Uptown’s Brick Brewery closing, expanding in Kitchener

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

After thirty years, Brick Brewery Co. Limited will no longer be offering “Brick Tours” to the public.

The popular local brewery plans to close the doors of their Waterloo location — for good.

“It’s mixed emotions moving out of that location,” said president and CEO of Brick Brewery, George Croft. “It’s where the company got started.”

Their property, located at 181 King Street South, has been sold for $4 million to Guelph real estate development company, HIP Developments Inc.

Croft explained the decision was made based on plans to expand Brick’s current Kitchener site at Bingemans Centre Drive, incorporating a new brew house. They essentially want to have all production centralized in one single location.

“We also know that Kitchener is the choice in terms of our build out,” Croft continued. “It’s good for the city [of Kitchener] in terms of redevelopment and is good for our shareholders.”

“From an economic perspective we think that’s a win for the region.”

HIP Developments’ vice-president, Scott Higgins, explained that their vision for the location consists of making the building multi-residential.

“Our plan for the Brick is a mixed-use development opportunity,” he said, explaining they would like to create a residential building on top of the brew house.

“Retail too, and who knows, maybe room for a pub,” he continued. “We really just want to keep true to the history of the Brick and it’s a nice, high-end redevelopment opportunity.”

HIP Developments has constructed more than 750 residential, recreational, industrial, commercial and institutional buildings with a total value reported at more than $1.75 billion. Some recognizable projects include KW Habilitation’s new offices in Kitchener, the Sportsworld Crossing and BlackBerry’s Northfield Drive campus.

But in terms of historicism, Higgins believes it’s an important feature with 181 King Street.

Brick has occupied the location since 1984, but the building was once a furniture factory. While the site itself is not a historical monument, HIP Developments hopes to preserve much of the building.

As for the disappointed students who frequented Brick’s pub and famous all-you-can-drink tours, Higgins hinted that all hope is not entirely lost.

“We’d love to have the Brick back operating a small brew pub and just continue to do what they’ve been doing,” he said.

The $4 million deal is not a definitive agreement as the transaction has yet to be closed. Croft anticipated the transaction to be completed by October.

HIP predicted occupancy by 2017 or early 2018.

Thirty years in one location comes with mixed emotions for Brick, but Croft assured the move will help make both the brewery and community stronger.

“We do know that certainly King Street was convenient for students,” Croft said. “But we aspire to be a strong traditional brewery and if anything that means our intent is to grow … and that means future opportunity.”

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