B.C. Beer Blog

The who, what, where, when, why, and how of B.C. craft beer

Archive for the ‘brewery’ Category

Is the Middle Kingdom the Next Craft Beer El Dorado?

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Rick Green visits Bund Brewery, Shanghai.With the craft beer market share in BC at 20% and the number of craft breweries in the province approaching 100, the landscape is starting to look a lot like Downtown Vancouver’s skyline. That’s not to say the market can’t sustain more breweries, given the other 80% that hasn’t come under the craft beer umbrella, but there will need to be more growth. The question is, where will it come from?

No Sure Bet

The easy days – if there really ever was such a thing – are over. Considering names like Surgenor, DIX, Taylor’s Crossing, and R&B, opening a craft brewery in BC is no longer a sure thing. Having a passion is not enough to carry a business. Now, a lot more dispassionate business acumen has to go with it. Marketing needs to be a fundamental component of one’s business plan, not an afterthought. That means realistically analyzing the market to find your niche and developing a strong brand around it before spending a cent on real estate and plant. Or for those with an existing business, it’s time to take a hard look at where the industry is going and ask yourself if major changes will be needed in how you operate to stay in the game.

As I anticipated, increased competition has breweries – especially those without a clearly defined niche – increasingly searching for new markets. Logically, the first forays outside BC have been to Alberta and Washington. Then, it’s only natural that the rest of North America eventually came into view. Anywhere else?
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New Community Nano-Brewery for Cumberland

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Cumberland Brewing Swag ‘Tis the season to open a new craft brewery in British Columbia, apparently. While I was in the Comox Valley for the holidays, I learned that Cumberland Brewing Company was officially opening their doors. According to The Vancouver Sun, 21 breweries are in the planning stage across the province, 13 of which are to be in Metro Vancouver. Canada’s third largest city has proven friendly to nano-breweries where patrons can walk in the door and get a pint or growler fill of a unique tasty local beer. Will the Comox Valley prove as friendly? I hope so.

The Cumberland Brewing Company (CBC) was started by Darren Adam and Caroline Tymchuck, whom I contacted via the brewery’s Facebook page to see if they were interested in talking to a blogger about their business. Darren and Caroline told me to come down to their Dunsmuir Avenue location the next day, their fourth day of operations, for a quick chat. Despite it being a holiday, there was a line out the door and it was tough to get a seat in the tasting lounge. When Darren could spare a minute, he was happy to answer a few questions. Read the rest of this entry »

The Business of Craft Beer

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BCB Business of Craft Beer EventAccording to Jan Zeschky’s reckoning, there will be 22 new craft breweries opening in British Columbia this year — that is, 22 he is aware of. This will bring the total number of BC craft breweries and brewpubs to 85.

So if we assume, on average, that each brewery will produce six beers annually (four core, two seasonals), that amounts to 510 BC craft beers. That is equal in number to 84% of all beers currently sold in the 197 BC government liquor stores, only you won’t find even close to that number of local craft beers actually sold there.

This makes for an increasingly competitive landscape, putting more pressure on startups to have a solid business plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Vancouver Approves On-Site Brewery Lounges

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by Wanderingpaddy

Last night the City of Vancouver took a huge step forward in modernizing their liquor policies by unanimously approving zoning changes to allow breweries, distilleries and wineries to have small, licensed lounges on-site where they can sell their products to be consumed.

The by-law changes removes the roadblocks (read here) in Vancouver that were preventing breweries from taking advantage of a recent provincial liquor policy changes allowing breweries and distilleries to apply for endorsements to their manufacturing licenses to run on-site, licensed lounges giving them equal footing with wineries who have had this opportunity for years.

As of today, breweries can apply to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch for their lounge and special event endorsements (see link above)| with the knowledge that they have clear sailing as far as Vancouver City Council is concerned.

That is the good news which has the local craft beer industry and craft beers consumers hoisting a jar of their favourite local brew in celebration.

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Local Breweries Feel Slighted by LDB’s Plan to Lure US Craft Sales to Gov’t Liquor Stores

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by WanderingPaddy

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.

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No Fun City Bureaucracy Stands in the Way of Beer Lounges

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by WanderingPaddy

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.

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Vancouver Island Craft Beer News: Sept 27th, 2012

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In my haste to get my last report in I forgot to announce a few other cask events and a couple of other new beers from Vancouver Island Brewery.

Cask Nights Abound for BC Craft Beer Month

In addition to the previously posted about Cask nights at the Strathcona Hotel in October, there’s even more to report. A brief look at the CAMRA Victoria events calendar shows there is not one, not two, but three different venues offering cask nights to celebrate BC Craft Beer Month. A total of 15 different cask evenings are planned throughout October. CAMRA divided the week and gave each venue a day. Monday’s belong to the Beagle, Tuesdays @ The Games Room & Thursdays @ The Clubhouse at the Strathcona , and Fridays will be at Canoe Brewpub. First up on the docket is a Cask of Driftwood Brewing Companies Sartori Harvest Monday October the first at 530pm. Head over to the CAMRA Victoria website events page for details on all the other cask nights. Be sure to show up promptly, as these casks won’t last long.

For those unfamiliar with these locations the Beagle Pub is located at 301 Cook St, The Strathcona Hotel is at 919 Douglas St and Canoe Brewpub is at 450 Swift St all in Victoria,BC.

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Vancouver Island Craft Beer News: September 24th, 2012

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It’s been a busy time in the brew houses since beer fest this year. Two of the Victoria breweries have new beers due for imminent release (if not already released) and three have some returning favorites, for a limited time. Without further adieu, here’s whats new for VI Craft.

Hoyne Brewing Company

Hoyne Brewing Company announced via twitter their new wet hopped beer, the Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale

This very unique, single-batch seasonal offering was brewed using copious quantities of local, fresh, hand-picked (harvested on Wednesday, brewed on Thursday!) Centennial and Cascade hops. This limited edition amber colored Wet Hopped Pale Ale is delightfully fragrant and is proof of how fortunate we are to live in one of the great hop growing regions of the world. (via Facebook)

It is also of note that two other Victoria breweries are working on wet hopped beers. Driftwood Brewing Companies Sartori Harvest is covered next in this post, and Phillips Brewing Co is also working on one. (via facebook) Read the rest of this entry »

Vancouver Island Craft Beer News: August 15, 2012

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This marks the first installment of a new series of posts about what is new in the Vancouver Island craft beer scene.

Pandamonium Unleashed by Phillips Brewing Company

Hot off the heels of their last limited beer release, Evergreen Ale, Phillips has unleashed PANDAMONIUM. This über-hopped double IPA went out Monday the 13th from the brewery, was field tested by the public at the brewery on the 14th, and is on its way to the Alibi Room for keg tapping tonight at 6pm. Grab it quick before it’s gone at discerning craft-focused liquor stores.

Release notes from Phillips’ Web site:

August 13th 2012: A year ago we celebrated 10 years of brewing with a 10% Double IPA, and this year there was only one way to follow it up: Turn it up to 11!

So we dialed up the malt and hops across the board, and are celebrating 11 years of beers with Pandamonium–a double IPA monster.  Brewed to 11%, we loaded hops into the pre-boil, and then added more hops every 11 minutes over a 111 minute boil for a grand total of 11 hop additions (plus a dry hop).

Hopquakes like this don’t come around very often and we only turn 11 once, so enjoy this brewtiful beast while you can!  Pandamonium 11th Hour IPA is available for a limited time at finer craft-focused liquor stores.

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A Question from the Audience

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Big River brewpub, Richmond, BCWhen I wrote the “So You Want To Open A Brew Pub” series of blog posts here as a guest blogger, I didn’t have any grand ambitions beyond giving back to the community and sharing some knowledge. The series has proven fairly popular. Today, someone who I apparently met while working for Building Opportunities with Business, put two and two together and sent me a couple follow up questions. I decided to share the answers with the rest of our readers.

Have you come across any stats/articles for the size of craft beer marketing budgets? How are they making a name for themselves in the face of the dominance of the big breweries?  Read the rest of this entry »