B.C. Beer Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘British Columbia

A Great Canadian Long Weekend on the Victoria Ale Trail

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Poster for The Great Canadian Beer Festival 2017.

Most of the 3.6 million annual overnight visitors to Victoria – city of my birth and capital of the province of British Columbia – are drawn to its charming island setting, British colonial character, mild climate, and outdoor activities. Each time I visit Suzhou’s sister city, however, I rarely find time to stroll the lush grounds of Butchart Gardens, explore the hidden alleys of Canada’s oldest Chinatown, or join a waterborne whale watching adventure. It’s the craft beer I come for.

One of my favourite times to enjoy Victoria’s fermented delights is in the second week of September when the Royal Athletic Park plays host to the Great Canadian Beer Festival (GCBF). More than 60 breweries participate, attracting approximately 8,000 people. With so many brewers and craft beer enthusiasts gathered in a city of only 86,000 residents, you can feel the excitement.

This year was special. It was July 11, 1992, when the forerunner to Canada’s longest-running beer festival was held at George Pearkes Arena with eight participating breweries. Twenty-five years later, the GCBF has grown substantially from its humble origins and survived many challenges. Its founding organizers continue to serve as directors of the festival society. Needless to say, there was no way that I would miss the opportunity to celebrate this remarkable achievement. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Coming BC Craft Beer Correction

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IMG_20150720_205116With the number of craft breweries in BC expected to reach at least 130 by the end of 2016, competition is growing to the point where I expect we’ll see an increasing number of business failures. That’s not because there’s a lack of room for growth. BC has a population and GDP similar to Oregon, yet they have double the number of breweries we have. It’s because there’s a shrinking margin of error, especially in outrageously expensive Vancouver.

Growth of the BC craft beer market alone hasn’t floated all boats. (Remember Plan B, DIX, Taylor’s Crossing, and Surlie?) Yet, that’s what many of the startups seem to be counting on without a much deeper consideration of to whom and how they will sell their beer. In fact, there are breweries that don’t even have a working marketing plan (not the same as a promotion plan), never mind a marketing budget (not the same as ad hoc spending). We’ll see how much longer they’ll last on passion after the next 30 breweries open their doors.

Thanks to Beer Me BC, we have a better idea of whom the typical BC craft beer drinker is and their consumption habits. According to the most recent self-selecting survey, they are predominantly males between the ages of 27 and 42 living in the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria. They drink, in ranking order of preference, India pale ale, stout, pale ale, sour ale, or saison from a bomber 3-5 days per week, mostly at home. Their beer is chosen foremost for its style, then by brewery and reputation.

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BC Liquor Law Review: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

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Almost anyone who enjoys having an alcoholic beverage in British Columbia will have a gripe or few about the legal restrictions on doing so. Well, now you have a chance to influence some changes the government will make to bring our laws more in line with the current social culture. Like Halley’s Comet, this opportunity does not come often. Don’t let this chance to have your views included pass. Saying your individual opinions don’t matter is lame. It’s not about you! It is the sum of the parts that matter, so make yourself part of the equation by October 31 for the collective impact to be greater.

So what should those changes be? It’s easy to leap right into the details, but I have to agree with Anthony Gismondi:

Modernizing B.C. liquor laws has to start with a philosophical change about how we interact with alcohol.

In many respects, I think we are already there, given the many parties that are pushing for change. The challenge is for the government to accept the broader cultural underpinning for these changes and approach this issue from that perspective, rather than reacting piecemeal to parochial lobbying, which is what led to the LDB warehouse privitization fiasco and special dispensations to the wine industry (BYOB, legal personal importation) that irritated beer and spirits folks.

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A Beer Style of Our Own

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British Columbia coastline north of Vancouver.Some places are known for distinctive beer styles. In fact, some styles are even named after the places where they evolved, e.g. Bock (Einbeck), Kölsch (Köln), Pilsner (Plzeň), Vienna Lager. In BC, the craft beer renaissance is reaching ever greater heights. However, is there anything that we can point to as being distinctly BC? When people think of beer and British Columbia, is there anything that differentiates us from our neighbours? The rest of Canada? Not as such.

There is still a lot of experimenting going on in BC as more and more people join the excitement that is craft beer. For a BC style to be adopted, it would require the co-operation of our craft brewers and the support of the drinking public to succeed. As we’ve seen with the Cascadia Dark Ale debacle, the former is already a messy thing. In fact, it might make more sense getting the public behind such an idea. Because if there is an obvious market, what brewer would pass up such an opportunity?

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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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Vancouver Island Craft Beer News, November 8th, 2012

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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

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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 »