Canby Beer Library Moving Forward, Eyes Late 2023 Grand Opening

The Canby Beer Library, an ambitious effort by the Oregon City Brewing Company team to transform the former public library building on North Holly Street into a brewpub, community gathering space and food cart pod, has hit the odd snag or two, but is still moving forward toward a hopeful grand opening later this year.

Hey — it’s not like anybody’s going to charge a library late fees.

Bryce Morrow, owner of O.C. Brewing and the mastermind of the Canby project, having purchased the 10,000-square-foot building in December 2021 for $500,000 and a $100,000 promissory note, scrapped earlier plans to bring the town its first rooftop bar due to the astronomical engineering and construction costs.

Courtesy Oregon City Brewing Company.

Instead, and in light of the fact that the Canby City Council in May 2022 amended its municipal code to allow food carts and pods, Morrow and his team opted to make what he called “one final pivot.”

According to revised designs shared with the Current, that “pivot” will include turning a sizeable chunk of the old library’s indoor space into outdoor space in the form of a fenced patio for eight independently owned and operated food carts connected by a 3,100-square-foot timber canopy.

The setup is similar to what Morrow has successfully piloted at the flagship Oregon City location, which features nine food carts offering a wide variety of food choices to pair with the more than 30 tap beers that are brewed on-site.

Courtesy Oregon City Brewing Company.

The remaining interior space on the building’s south side will be preserved for a taproom and seating, restrooms and the brewing company’s barrel-aging program with 120 or more barrels, Morrow said.

Morrow submitted the revised project’s pre-application to the Canby Planning Department in October and met with Canby Fire, Public Works and Planning, Canby Utility and DirectLink officials the following month.

The team submitted its permit application, design review submission and other documents to the planning office in December and hopes to be heard before the Canby Planning Commission in the coming weeks.

Morrow is also expected to give an update to the Canby City Council, which agreed to sell him the formerly city-owned property, on Wednesday.

Photo courtesy Oregon City Brewing Company.

“We are hopeful our design review submission will make the Planning Commission schedule for January,” Morrow said in an email last month. “If we get the blessing from the Planning Commission, we will break ground in spring 2023 with an anticipated opening date in late 2023.”

The building is ripe for such a project, having been cleared to an empty shell by Morrow and his team in January 2022. The building has been vacant since the library moved to its new location on Northeast 2nd Avenue in 2014.

The property lies at one corner of Wait Park, one of Canby’s most popular play areas for children and the staging ground for many of the city’s signature events, including the Independence Day Celebration and Light Up the Night. It also forms a border to the Canby Farmers’ Market on Saturdays in the spring and summer.

Morrow and his team cleared the interior of the former library building into an empty shell in January 2022. Photo by Tyler Francke.

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