After a five-year process, Deeds Brewing received the green light from the local council for its taproom in the Melbourne suburb of Glen Iris.
In a livestream of the council meeting held on Monday (27th April) councillors spoke encouragingly about Deeds, especially in light of the current COVID-19 crisis.
“Right now it’s hard to imagine being out and about and enjoying a meal, and a local beer but the time will come,” Councillor Glen Atwell said at the meeting.
“[It has been a] long and persistent journey from the applicant to realise plans … to add a taproom to existing craft brewery in Glen Iris.
“With council’s support tonight as we come out of COVID-19 and look to smart investment by small local business, crafting new jobs, this is the sort of application council should get behind, so I am happy to support it.”
Long is an accurate description, as Deeds Brewing’s application was first heard at the very first meeting of the current council in 2016.
Back then the proposal was rejected, partially due to its initial plans for 350 patrons. The latest version is a slimmed-down blueprint, with room for 150 patrons and includes a fully-functioning kitchen and taproom.
This past year Deeds tried again to get their taproom over the line, going back to the drawing board and rallying the local inhabitants, appealing to them to sign a petition in support of the taproom.
Deeds co-founder Patrick Alé said at the time of the petition that he hoped councillors and locals would see the benefits of a local neighbourhood taproom.
“Once you’re here, it’s hard to say we’ve not done a good job and it will be great for the area, it’s not a hodge-podge setup, it’s a genuinely good-looking brewery and will have good facilities for families and the community and that’s lacking in this area,” he told Brews News.
This time, the councillors agreed. Councillor Atwell brought in a sample of the hand sanitiser in a can that Deeds has been producing during the COVID-19 crisis.
“For me that reflected the smarts of this business,” he said.
“It’s a clever little operation and I think the application tonight makes concessions from the original proposal which had a lot more people in mind.”
He said the “reasonable” application with hours restricted to 5pm-11pm during the week and 11am-11pm on weekends, and said it would be a much-needed boost for the area, especially coming out of the current COVID-19 crisis.
Councillor Jami Klisaris also said that while the council takes licensed venue proposals very seriously because of their nature, Deeds is a “very well run little operation and what they’re applying for is a natural progression of their business model.”
She praised the Deeds team as “lovely” and co-operative with the council.
“You can tell they want to operate this bar responsibly and in a good way,” she said.
Only two councillors objected, with one maintaining that the narrow laneway location may restrict fire brigade access. Parking for rideshares as well as acoustic issues were also raised. However this was not enough to scupper the application, especially after the Fire Management Board stepped in to say they did not have any objections to the plans.
The objectors will have 28 days to take the Deeds team to VCAT, but if this does not occur, the taproom will be officially approved, according to Alé.
“With this COVID crisis upon us, this smart small business is something I feel very strongly for, I hear the concerns but the benefit of a business like this… they’re nimble, they’re great. They’re a smart business that employs local people,” Councillor Atwell said.