Despite the fact that many small BC craft breweries often struggle to get their beers listed for sale in government BC Liquor Stores, the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is sending one of their own to the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America (CBC) to give a talk about “market opportunities” in BC for US craft breweries.
LDB Portfolio Manager, Kimberly Giesbrecht, is set to give a one-hour talk entitled, Canada Market – British Columbia, during a day of talks dedicated to “Export Development” at the CBC. According to the LDB, Giesbrecht was invited to speak at the CBC by the U.S. National Craft Beer Association (USNCBA) “because BC is recognized as very supportive of the craft beer industry.” Giesbrecht “will be sharing her insight into the BC market with their members,” addressing “craft brewers from around the world including many from BC.”
I hope BC craft brewers do not have to travel all the way to Washington, DC, where the conference is being held, to benefit from Giesbrecht’s insights about the BC craft beer market.
It appears the City of Vancouver is, once again, living up to its reputation of being No Fun City. Despite the provincial government’s announcement on February 8 that BC breweries and distilleries will now be allowed to apply to have on-site lounges, special events areas (SEA), picnic areas and tour areas, it appears Vancouver’s restrictive zoning regulations and liquor laws will make it very difficult for breweries to take advantage of the changes.
This change to the law, which the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) states in LCLB Policy Directive No 13-02, is “designed to support the growing craft brewing and distilling industries by introducing another means for licensees to showcase their products,” allows breweries and distilleries “to apply for endorsement areas at their manufacturing site where patrons may consume liquor manufactured under the licence.” Currently, breweries can apply to have tasting rooms where they can either offer the general public free samples and/or sell up to 375ml (12oz) per person, per day to be consumed in the tasting room.
The new regulations would allow breweries be able to sell their own beer on-site in amounts more than 375ml per person, per day. I had this clarified by a LCLB spokesperson who, via e-mail, wrote, “the process for breweries and distilleries to apply for on-site lounges and special event areas will be the same as it is for wineries, in that it will be treated as an endorsement on the manufacturer licence, rather than a separate liquor primary licence.” This is the part the City of Vancouver’s Liquor License Department (CVLLD) does not seem to understand.
If you’re a brewmaster making beer for the enjoyment of others, the ingredients and process you use are paramount. Quality control is one of the main concerns for beer drinkers who desire consistency with every pint. Regardless if you like Budweiser or not, no one debates that they have quality control mastered, as you always know how your beer will taste. One of the key factors in this consistency is the colour of their bottles.
The two biggest issues to affect your beer once bottled are light and temperature. Either of these can significantly affect the flavour of your beer, especially the former. This is why you see beer nerds cringe when they watch a beer commercial that shows open beer in the sun. Two seconds of direct sunlight will “burn” or “lightstruck” the beer, making it taste off. This is because light, especially ultra-violet (UV) light, causes an instant reaction, changing the iso-α-acid to 3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol. If this sounds nasty, it is! The “thiol” change means sulphur. And even the smallest amount of sulphur, like one part per billion, will make your beer taste skunky.
This is why beer bottles are typically brown. They’re created specifically as a UV filter to protect your beer. Regular brown beer bottles don’t fully protect your beer, so you should still try to keep even a UV bottle our of the light.
If the rumours I have been hearing the past few weeks are true, the BC beer market may resemble the Wild West by the middle of January. I have been informed from two completely different sources that the BC Liberals will finally be making an announcement about tied houses and trade practices. This comes two years after the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch put out a consultation paper requesting industry input on proposed changes to the relevant provincial regulations.
If the information I am getting is correct, and I do believe it to be so, tied house laws and trade practices will be completely deregulated, leaving the BC market wide open for the highest bidders to lock down pubs, restaurants and liquor stores. There will be no government restrictions on buying these outlets or offering large amounts of cash and other inducements for exclusivity rights (bars/restaurants) or preferential shelf placement (liquor stores).
Curious as to what’s new and happening on Vancouver Island in Craft Beer? There is special dinner and tasting events planned, A charitable vote, new releases from Vancouver Island Breweries, and new days to test your trivial knowledge. Read on to learn more.
Swans Brewmaster Dinner
Saturday November 10th at 630pm Swans is having a special Brewmasters Dinner. The five course meal will be paired with six Swans beers. Price is $49.95 and tickets are available at Swans: 250 361 3310 | www.swansbrewpub.com
Check my leapbeer blog later in the month for a breakdown of the nights nosh.
Winterbrau @ Canoe Brewpub
Canoe Brewpub has a special event planned for you on November the 17th. Starting at 1pm in the afternoon join them for a seasonal beer tasting and food sampling event. Your $45 (Advance ticket price) will gain you access to the event featuring beers from Phillips, Driftwood, Central City, Coal Harbour, Hoyne, Saltspring, Lighthouse, Moon Under Water, Spinnakers, Tofino, Craig Street, Howe Sound, Longwood, Wolf and Vancouver Island Breweries.
Advance tickets available at this site
I don’t know about you, but I am getting fed up with being misled, whether intentionally or not, by bars and restaurants who advertise pints but serve sleeves.
Twice in the last few weeks, I have seen restaurants on Commercial Drive advertising “pint” specials when they were serving sleeves, which are 20-40% less in volume, depending on which version of the hated glassware is being employed. This pisses me off to no end, as it is misleading at best and downright dishonest if the misrepresentation is knowingly advertised.
A few Mondays ago, I notice Falconetti’s tweeting about an all-day “pint” special. I tweeted back a few times, asking if they were, in fact, serving 20oz pours. I was met with silence. Later in the day, I walked past the restaurant on my way to the park with my kid, and noticed a “pint” special advertised on their sidewalk chalkboard. Curious, I stuck my head in the door, and there was not a pint glass to be seen. Just to be sure, I called to enquire, and was told “pints” were a part of the Monday special. When I asked if it was actually a 20oz pour or a sleeve, the response was, “Technically, I guess you are right. We serve 16oz sleeves.”
A few months back I met with someone from the wine camp. Over a few beers, we had an excellent discussion about issues common to both the BC wine and craft beer industries, successes the wine lobby had realized as a result of advocacy, and how craft beer consumers could better organize to help them realize similar successes. During this discussion, it was pointed out to me that craft beer advocates and the craft beer industry as a whole have a major problem. It has nothing to do with the quality of beer being brewed or the lack of industry organization. This is a problem that is playing a major role in the lack of support given to craft beer by the government and the hospitality industry.
“You (craft beer consumers/industry) have an image problem,” I was told. This was not news to me, and should not be for the majority involved with the craft beer scene in BC. It is a reality and a hangover from the Dark Ages of Beer. This was when, with few exceptions, the majority of beers available from coast to coast in Canada were generic, mass-produced lagers meant to be swilled for effect, not taste. During this Dark Age, beer had no place in the finer restaurants about town, did nothing to enhance or compliment food, and was considered a beverage almost exclusively downed by down-and-outs and working men. Thankfully, due to the explosion of the BC craft beer scene and the amazing beers being brewed locally, those days are long gone. Or are they?