estled in the heart of Southlands, Tsawwassen’s new agriculturally-focused beachside community development, sits the future home of Four Winds Brewing: a local craft beer company with a passion for good food, community-building, and creative entrepreneurship.
On a much-appreciated sunny day, Four Winds co-founders and brothers Adam Mills and Brent Mills sit across from the excavation site, where the foundation of their new restaurant and brewery is currently being built. And even though Southlands is still partially under development, it already feels like a vibrant hub; cyclists, people walking dogs, seniors, and young families all pass happily by. A bright yellow sign announces the plot to be the “future home of Four Winds restaurant & brewery”—and while it’s an apparently simple declaration, it’s significant for the brothers. For them it means that, after a little over seven years in the making, their vision is finally coming to life.
Just a year after Four Winds joined the thriving British Columbia craft beer scene and opened its doors in June 2013, its founders were approached by Southlands to discuss the prospect of building a new brewing facility with an attached onsite restaurant. It was a natural fit: the Southlands mission is rooted in farming and food, and the Four Winds team had already proven themselves with their quality craft beer and made-from-scratch eats using local ingredients. Beyond that, there’s another reason Adam and Brent eagerly embraced Tsawwassen as the place to grow their business: this is their hometown. It’s where they grew up, and it’s where they are raising their young families.
And so, with a love for and dedication to the community that raised them, they enthusiastically began to conceive and bring to life the business plan and brewery design for a new location. “I think one of the main reasons why we are attracted to this project and this development is that it’s right in the centre of the community that we came from,” Adam reflects. “And to be a part of providing a much-needed new cultural hub and social gathering place is important to us. It’s like a dream come true in a lot of ways.”
Developed by Motiv Architects with Asher deGroot at the helm, the design takes inspiration from natural elements found in the west coast landscape, blended effortlessly with clean lines, a modern farmhouse style, a touch of Scandinavian simplicity, and nautical heritage. The new 8,600-square-foot building, which will include a 2,600-square-foot brewery and a 6,000-square-foot restaurant and retail space, will be quite different from Four Winds’ current taproom and production facility on 72nd Street in Delta. The dining menu will be expanded (with produce grown right at Southlands featured prominently), while the beer on tap will be more selective and small-scale: specialty brews and innovative one-off batches, created and served just for this location.
The brothers first fell in love with beer-making in their father’s boat-building shop, where they’d test out different homebrews (the new space’s nautical touches are largely a nod to those days). That grassroots, do-it-yourself nature has carried them through to the present, helping them stay nimble and focused throughout the expansion process. They see every step as an opportunity to explore what is best suited for their business and its customers, and are aware that each obstacle is a natural part of the adventure. “I don’t think there’s been anything that most projects don’t go through,” says Brent. “The sheer amount of planning, and then adjusting, and planning, and adjusting, and making budgets, and then adjusting budgets… and we haven’t even started building yet!”
Although the completion date isn’t estimated to be until sometime in 2024, the brothers eagerly await the project’s next milestone—and the opportunities that this new location will bring to the area. Centennial Beach, Point Roberts, and the Tsawwassen ferry terminal are already popular destinations, and Adam and Brent hope that Southlands will also become renowned around the Lower Mainland as a must-visit place—especially for its unique culinary scene. Situated on land where grain, hops, and produce are grown, the new Four Winds project will offer a particularly exciting and unique learning experience for diners. “I think what’s special about this community is that it’s really going to be rooted in independent businesses on the whole agricultural component,” Adam says. “And the walkability of it. It’s focused on the visitors making use of the space.”
Above all, the Mills brothers are looking forward to the social aspect of their new location. “It’s exciting that we are able to establish ourselves directly in the community that we came from,” says Adam. “This gives us more of a home base that is rooted in the community and that we can have as part of our Four Winds legacy to move forward. It’s really nice to build something in the area where we grew up and are raising families, and to contribute in that way. That’s the most important part to us. It’s always been about the community.”