The Transformation of St. Aiden's Church
The idea for a brewery in the former St. Aiden’s on the Hill church dates back to early 2015. When Dennis Morgan was hanging out with the owner of the building, Leif Hagar, and Jonny Ferguson (who had already been working on the building with Leif and who would go on to do all the interior renovations). Dennis had spent almost 9 years in Oregon in the 1990s, just when the craft beer world was exploding, and it was there his love of craft beer began. Leif, Jonny and Dennis were chatting about what the best use would be for the building, something that would be community-oriented, and the idea of a micro-brewery popped up and began to grow. Work towards the idea was sporadic for a few years (gotta feed the kids!) but in October of 2018 Dennis began to focus 100% of his time on the project, getting business plan together, finding funding, sourcing equipment, acquiring permits and License and many other aspects of this complicated venture. The interior renovations began in February 2019 and were completed in February 2020. One look at the final product will show why it took so long – it is a masterpiece! Re-purposed and salvage wood is everywhere: the wood that fronts the bar and kitchen made with the joists from the hole in the floor where the brewing equipment is. And prior to that use they came from a building at the Seaplane base after World War II. 3rd function iteration.
The Church is believed to be built with volunteer labour in the early 60’s. Many of our patrons will have stories from the former church, including marriages, Sunday school in the basement or even the thrift store that was there for years. We are hopeful that the Ucluelet Brewing Company will continue the community feel of the church and act as a new hub for the community, not unlike the traditional definition of a local public house. From the start of operations, we will discourage a “party” atmosphere and will set a tone of comfortable, friendly consumption where families are welcome. According to 2016 Stats Canada data, the demographic of Ucluelet has dramatically changed in the last few years, with the average age dropping to 39 (right in the middle of the craft beer demographic) with many of these people being young families.
The Ucluelet Brewing Company brand is all about comfort and approachability and creating a great west coast experience for its guests. We will continue to be a brand that has core standards that represent quality ingredients, where guests feel valued, and love the space they are drinking and dining in. Great beer, made here. Drink slow.
Thank you to everyone that lended a helping hand in this beautiful transformation from one gathering point to another.