Craft Beer Comes to Comox
With forestry having played a large role in the economy of Vancouver Island, it’s not surprising that as the industry took a nose dive, many people found themselves facing the prospect of unemployment. Bob Surgenor was one of those people. He depended on the forest industry for much of the work that engaged his Comox-based industrial electrical company. Not wanting to lay his employees off, he decided to start a brewery to keep them working. Last month, after a number of delays, they began shipping beer.
Not a brewer himself, Surgenor has hired Douglas Rae as his brewmaster. Rae began his brewing career at Granville Island in 1984, before moving on to stints at Labatt and Molson. He’s starting off with two beers — Red House Irish Red ale and Steam Donkey Lager — to ween the “Lucky Lager crowd” from macro lager onto craft beer. A stout and a wheat ale are next in line.
Surgenor is concentrating on developing the nothern Vancouver Island market over the next nine months, followed by the south Island, before expanding province-wide. The brewery will host a soft-opening celebration on March 21. The grand opening is planned for some time in July.