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Steamworks brewery opening in Burnaby

Vancouver-based company to launch brewery in city this summer which is designed to fill 250 bottles per minute

While dozens of breweries seem to be popping up everywhere else in the Lower Mainland, Burnaby is finally getting one of its very own.

Steamworks Brewing Company is moving a brewery into a 30,000-square-foot facility at 3845 Williams St., which is slated to open to the public this July.

Twenty-four thousand sq. ft. will be dedicated to production lines, packaging bottles, canning and kegging for Steamworks' various brews, including its seasonal ones such as the popular pumpkin ale, Saison and raspberry ale.

The rest of the space will have offices and a tasting room.

"We're all very excited about the project," said Caolan Vaughan, Steamworks' brewmaster. "We all can't wait to be making some fantastic beers in Burnaby and linking Vancouver and Burnaby together. It's a great project . I'm excited to be making some world-class beer here."

Leading up to its opening, the company will be working through city permits, installing its multi-million dollar brewing equipment and setting up the facility.

The public will be able to come to the brewery for tastings, purchase packs and bottles of beer and get to enjoy the 1955 building's character, according to Steamworks president Walter Cosman.

"We're very excited to be the first brewery in Burnaby," Cosman told the Burnaby NOW in a phone interview. "We first and foremost plan to have a launch party here for the brewery and a kickstarter - we're in the beginning stages of planning that in July."

Although prices haven't been officially set, fees for a growler (a two-litre jug of freshly brewed beer) and filling it up will be in the $18 to $20 range, with refills being about $12 to $15. There will also be four-ounce glasses for tasting.

He described the old-style building as having lots of character with old wooden beams - "perfect for our needs."

Cosman said Steamworks intends to be a community player and will get actively involved in the city through events and sponsorships.

Steamworks currently has a 12-to 18hectare litre brewhouse at its brew pub location in Gastown.

It will be stepping it up a notch in Burnaby, with a 50-hectare litre production planned.

The Burnaby site will fill 250 bottles a minute, which Cosman says is still five or 10 times slower than a big-time beer producer - but it's fast enough for their needs.

"It's definitely a big step up for us from going to a small brew pub to a large-scale production brewery," Cosman added.

Those interested in seeing how Steamworks creates its brews will get the chance to, as the Burnaby brewery will have tours, as well.

"I think the average beer consumer now is more sophisticated and educated," Cosman said. "They want to know where their beer is coming from, how it's made."

Steamworks beer is made with natural ingredients, with no preservatives or additives, according to Cosman.

"It's like going to your local butcher or going to your local bakery," he said. "You can get the chance to see everything in front of you. It goes a long way with consumers."

Although a tour schedule has not been made yet, Cosman said it will complement the tasting room and appeal to the five senses.

"I know that the Burnaby population loves to get out and enjoy their activities," he said, "and enjoy a beer once in awhile."

For more information about Steamworks Brewing Company, visit www.steam