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BC Breweries by Production 2014

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Ever wonder how big the breweries in BC really are? We all like to talk a good talk about huge year over year growth, but how fast are our favourite brands getting big?

Sadly, no one really talks size or growth, as most breweries are privately owned and not required to share any of those embarrassing financial tidbits. Luckily for us, the LDB is required to post their annual finances, and since all beer in BC must first be sold to the LDB this report acts as a sort of proxy for brewery size.

Below I’ve tabulated the 2014 financials for each brewery that I can identify in the report, along with their 2013 numbers, and an approximate guess for beer production in hectolitres. Previously I’d used numbers ranging from $375 to $450 per hectolitre calculation, but this year I changed it up and went with $300. This is primarily because this year I learnt a bit more about how breweries are taxed, and that these financial statements are post-tax.

The degree to which these hectolitre calculations should be trusted is reflected by how easily I just changed them out: don’t trust them. These are very approximate numbers only, and should only be used for rough relative comparisons. A major brewery like Pacific Western will be lower, and a brewery that solely sells draught and growler products like Brassneck might be higher.

All columns are sortable. Just click.

Some tidbits:

  • For the first time, several breweries appear to be in serious trouble. Tin Whistle, Wolf, Craig Street, and R&B are all hurting big time. If this keeps up, expect some cheap equipment to go up for sale soon.
  • Mid-sizes breweries are broadly down as a trend. Russell, Big Rock, Granville Island, OK Spring, etc are all hurting.
  • HUGE years for Hoyne, Driftwood, Parallel 49 and Central City, but especially Hoyne. Great work, Sean!
  • The shift in strategy for some of the smaller breweries is evident: Longwood, Moon Under Water and Spinnakers bottling efforts are definitely paying dividends.
  • Pacific Western was doing great up until this year. They’re somewhat up market from Molson, so I figured that was due to adventurous drinkers trying something different. Their ~10% drop this year is likely due to adventurous drinks moving down the shelf a bit more to actual good beer.
  • Holy shit. Check out Brassneck’s numbers, and then realize they weren’t even open for HALF OF THE PERIOD OF THIS REPORT. Wowza.
  • I included Big Rock here, too. They’re building a brewery in Vancouver so, uh, welcome to BC guys.
  • The various Mark James properties have been broken out individually. I think this has something to do with Red Truck’s massive production capacity increase and taxes.

Disclaimers (repeated from 2013):

  • Because of the craziness of shadow brands and contract brewing, it’s hard to split out some of these numbers. OK Spring, in particular, also produces Sleeman locally, and those sales are blended in.
  • Some breweries are missing, including Coal Harbour and others. I have no idea why. They are likely running under either a numbered company or a name I don’t recognize.
  • I have excluded Labatt’s (Kokanee) simply because it would be impossible to separate out beer produced in-province from imports.
  • Likewise, I have skipped Mark Anthony Group (Turning Point/Stanley Park) because most of their money comes from wine (Mission Hill)


Click headers to sort

Brewery 2013 Income 2014 Income alias/aka 2014 Production (hl) Growth
Sleeman Breweries Ltd 100826104 97421073 Sleeman / OK Spring 324736 -3.4%
Pacific Western Brewing Company 37038122 33563099 111876 -9.4%
Granville Island Brewing Company 23597424 22831746 76105 -3.2%
Phillips Brewing Co 14527143 17209987 57366 18.5%
Northam Brewery Lp 12412210 14093947 Whistler / Bowen 46979 13.5%
Vancouver Island Brewing Company 8663020 8082863 26942 -6.7%
Driftwood Brewing 4049056 5843817 19479 44.3%
Big Rock Brewery Inc 6487218 5349530 17831 -17.5%
Fireweed Brewing Corp 5391621 5328876 Tree 17762 -1.2%
Lighthouse Brewing Company Inc 5156097 4962174 16540 -3.8%
Parallel 49 Brewing Company Ltd 1452960 4699953 15666 223.5%
Central City Brewing Co 2717936 4043560 13478 48.8%
Russell Brewing Co Limited 4162692 3917373 13057 -5.9%
Allen Brands Inc 2212115 2926208 Big Surf / Prohibition 9754 32.3%
Howe Sound Brewing 2371393 2560623 8535 8.0%
Nelson Brewing Company 2444327 2405093 8016 -1.6%
Hoyne Brewing Company Ltd 1204082 2384445 7948 98.0%
Dead Frog Brewery 1893880 2065463 6884 9.1%
Mt Begbie Brewing Company Limited 1701101 1874282 6247 10.2%
Fernie Brewing Co 1468056 1670146 5567 13.8%
Cannery Brewing Co 1391236 1338593 4461 -3.8%
R&B Brewing Inc 1218933 1047154 3490 -14.1%
Tuff City Brewing Ltd 532850 956717 Tofino 3189 79.5%
Townsite Brewing Inc. 561253 799821 2666 42.5%
Steamworks Brewing Company Ltd 788268 2627 100%
Gulf Islands Brewery Limited 494823 656752 2189 32.7%
Spinnakers Brew Pub Inc 386987 611865 2039 58.1%
Salsbury Drive Holdings Ltd 514694 Brassneck 1715 100%
Longwood Brew Pub Limited 250872 495047 1650 97.3%
Crannog Ales Limited 367742 399852 1332 8.7%
Four Winds Brewing Company Ltd 365473 1218 100%
Bridge Brewing Corp 58606 354781 1182 505.4%
33 Acres Brewing Company Inc 341586 1138 100%
Storm Brewing Limited 353287 336433 1121 -4.8%
Moon Under Water Brewery Ltd 97534 310847 1036 218.7%
Arrowhead Brewing Company 69882 301396 1004 331.3%
Old Yale Brewing Co Limited 178992 248412 828 38.8%
Persephone Brewing Company Inc 247804 826 100%
Powell Street Craft Brewery Inc 137405 458 100%
Mission Springs Developements Limited 39391 114057 380 189.6%
Tin Whistle Brewing Co 449938 100515 335 -77.7%
Wolf Brewing Company 200198 100045 333 -50.0%
Big River Brewing Company 46422 76883 256 65.6%
Bomber Brewing Corporation 69503 231 100%
Deep Cove Brewers And Distillers Inc 68699 228 100%
Green Leaf Brewing Corporation 66654 222 100%
Shuswap Lake Brewing Company 52840 62931 Barley Station Brewpub 209 19.1%
Yaletown Brewing Co 44347 147 100%
Craig Street Brewing Co Ltd 63910 43137 143 -32.5%
Patricia Hotel Vancouver 38787 40202 134 3.6%
RDO Brewing Ventures Ltd 36046 Barkerville 120 100%
Big Ridge Brewing Company 32591 31508 105 -3.3%
Three Ranges Brewing Company Ltd 28436 94 100%
Freddy’s Brew Pub 26466 88 100%
Barley Mill Brewpub 27327 0.0 0 -100.0%
Plan B Brewing Co 111483 0.0 0 -100.0%
Avalon Brewing Co 353808 0.0 Old Red Truck Location 0 -100.0%

* Arrowhead and Bridge numbers are adjusted to approximate annual production, as they were not open for the entirety of the reporting period.

Written by chuck

December 25th, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Breweries

Stanley Park Windstorm

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I’ll admit that I’ve been a lazy ass, and have been sitting on this review for a while—a few months, even. However, sitting inside while the wind is blowing through Vancouver seems like the perfect time to write this sucker up. Beats the tar out of going outside, at least.

So… another Stanley Park brew, eh? What does Chuck think? Well, before we can talk about what’s inside the can, let’s spend a bit of time talking about what’s outside the can.

Turning Point Brewing (the actual brewery behind the Stanley Park brand) has elected to reinforce their completely fictional relationship with the park whose name they’ve appropriated by releasing a hoppy pale ale to commemorate what is one of the worst tragedies to ever strike Stanley Park.


The closure of an actual, real brewery in the park is also right up there.

For those new to the city, in December 2006 a series of massive storms touting winds as high as 120 km/hr tore through the iconic Vancouver park, and uprooted over ten thousand trees. The damage was wide spread and jaw-dropping. Entire acres of wooded rainforest were laid bare, turned into chaotic clear cuts. The emotional toll of this event on Vancouver natives was tremendous. People were literally brought to tears by the footage.

So now, eight years later, to have a brewery commercialize this tragedy for profit is… well, let’s just say it takes a certain insensitivity to think this is a good idea. However, Turning Point rampant desire to build any sort of association themselves with their namesake trumps any sort of good will.

Not to say there isn’t actual good will here. Turning Point is donating 25 cents per can (or per pint of draught) to the Stanley Park Ecology Society and, while 25 cents doesn’t sound like a lot when you consider that the can in question cost you $2.50 at the LDB, believe me it’s eating a pretty hefty hole in their bottom line (although, don’t get me wrong, this beer is still very profitable).

Perhaps I’m being too harsh? Maybe they can pull this one off and treat this touchy topic with all the decorum and sensitivity it demands? Let’s go watch this promo video to learn more.


I’m sure we’ll all watch it, find nothing objectionable, and this article will uneventfully conclude shortly thereafter.

Well fuck. Seriously, guys? In addition to all-but-implying that the brewery has any sort of actual relationship to a wind storm that occurred a four full years before they opened shop, that video lays down a sentence of marketing copy downright laden with wind-theme adjectives: “An unexpected storm of tropical fruit and earthy pine-hop character that bends to a gust of citrus on the palate and a rewarding bitterness that finishes clean.” That is verbatim from this video, and is printed on the side of their cans.

You can do a benefit ale. That’s a thing you can do. Central City has done several versions of their IPA whereby profits are donated to Autism research. However, the beer is simply called “IPA for Autism” and they donate $2 per 650ml bomber compared to Stanley Park’s $0.25 per 500ml can (approximately 6x Turning Point’s offering). If you go read the description of the beer here you’ll see that CC has avoided using tie-in words. Imagine how horrible it would be if they described their beer as having “strong aromatics that can look you in the eye.”

Unimaginably horrible and tasteless, that’s how it would be. And yes, a wind storm in Stanley Park is not even remotely the same thing as a child with Autism, but they’re two tragedies that two breweries have responded to with two benefit beers, and the two different approaches couldn’t say more about each of those businesses.

Nothing more clearly demonstrates Turning Point’s true feelings about Stanley Park than this beer. Stanley Park is not a treasured gem or a source of civic pride to Turning Point. Nope, it’s a marketing opportunity, pure and simple. It was that in 2010 when they created the Stanley Park Brewing brand and it still is today. If they were serious about rebuilding the park, they would have released a tastefully marketed brew and donated 100% of the profits, not 25 measly cents.

What about the beer itself? Yeah, it’s okay. Actually, the nose on this thing is amazing. You should have a sniff. Don’t actually drink the beer, though, as it’s not that great, but merely good. Even so, it might be the best beer Stanley Park has ever produced, but until they change their marketing game I’m going to spend most of my time talking about the packaging.

Oh, and to save you time: skip their winter ale too. It’s frankly bad.

Written by chuck

December 9th, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Beers

Tagged with

Barkerville Brewing

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Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of an urban snob. At least I came upon this trait honestly, though. You see, I grew up on the island, and I’m not talking Victoria. Nope, I’m talking “The Island” as in thinking “let’s all drive our trucks into the woods, build a giant bonfire, and chug Lucky Lager until we pass out” to be the height of societal discourse.

You see, I’ve had to discover and appreciate urban culture for myself rather than have it handed to me as my birthrate like some bloody hipster. Heck, if I hadn’t come to Vancouver for school just in time for the craft beer revolution, I’d likely still be there today. Maybe even with a bigger truck. Definitely with a bigger gun.


Sure, I mock this, but the inner redneck in me
thinks this is pretty sweet.

So when we start talking about beer what’s made in small towns, I get a bit skeptical as to quality. If the general populace of that small town don’t know shit about good booze (as I certainly didn’t way back when), then they’ll buy whatever crap is brewed locally and talk a good streak about how awesome it is.

In short, small town brewers have a tendency to put out mediocre beer and never know better, because no one knows enough to tell them. Eventually, they get big enough to ship a few bottles down to Vancouver, then they get panned, and subsequently go out of business, leaving Smithers brewery-less again… uh… you know, in general. I’m not talking about anyone specific here.


It’s okay to kick ‘em while they’re down, right?

Thus, when I spied a screen-printed bottle of Barkerville Brewing’s 18 Karat Pale Ale in the local LDB a few months back, I reluctantly bought it expecting it to be bottled shit, or something even worse, like DMS-laden shit. Even though the brewery isn’t actually located in Barkerville, calling Quesnel home doesn’t exact get you big city cred.

Imagine my surprise, then, when the beer turned out to be pretty damned good. No, not just good, great. Now double the surprise you’re imagining when I stumbled over a bottle of their 52 Foot Stout and found it equally great. Well, crap, there just might be something here.

So I set out to get the rest of their beers into my mouths. The chaps up in Quesnel were nice enough to send along their Golden and Brown ales, and luckily my local Rogue Wetbar had a keg of their Wandering Camel IPA on tap.

Five beers brewed; five beers consumed. Are they all great? Nope, but they are much better than anything I’d expect to come out of Quesnel, and honestly better than about half the beer us Lower Mainland beer snobs are drinking on a daily basis. Are they worth driving to Quesnel for? Fuck that; nothing’s worth that. However, they are worth making some poor schmuck drive a delivery truck from Quesnel to Vancouver for. Heck, if I hadn’t moved to the city, that schmuck might be me.

Prospector’s Peril Golden Ale

APPEARANCE Clear as a bell golden colour. Likely highly filtered.
NOSE Thin cara malt (some Pilsner?). Simple light hops.
TASTE Smooth round mouthfeel, some diacetyl, gives way to a tad too heavy hopping.
STATS 5.4% ABV / 24 IBU / Blonde Ale
SHOULD I BUY IT? Meh. There are better local Blondes around.
RATING 3.5/5.0 (Above Average)

Hound of Barkerville Brown Ale
APPEARANCE Rich, beautiful, opaque, auburn; tight off-white head.
NOSE Light nose, some caramel/rye? Pepper.
TASTE Sweet malt, with metallic finish and slightly chemically hops.
STATS 5.9% ABV / 17 IBU / Brown Ale
SHOULD I BUY IT? Decent example of a brown, a style lacking popularity. So sure, buy it.
RATING 3.5/5.0 (Above Average)

Wandering Camel IPA

APPEARANCE Light aromatic hops. Citrus, light pine.
NOSE Pours cloudy orange/yellow. Thin tight head. Long persisting.
TASTE Little bit watery but good hops integration. Nice jackfruit citrus freshness. Creamy mouthfeel.
STATS 6.5% ABV / 48 IBU / English IPA
SHOULD I BUY IT? If fresh, yes. This guy goes over a serious cliff after about a month.
RATING 3.5/5.0 (Above Average)

18 Karat Pale Ale

APPEARANCE Light caramel. Some slight c-hops.
NOSE Pretty much perfect bitter/pale body with a tight persistent head.
TASTE Bam. Great slight roast malt. Well matched hops. Good finish. Great stuff.
STATS 5.0% ABV / 33 IBU / American Pale Ale
SHOULD I BUY IT? Some bottle variation, but I’ve had some killer samples.
RATING 4.0/5.0 (Excellent)

52 Foot Stout

APPEARANCE Dark with an eye-pleasing tight tan head.
NOSE Mild roast malt. Some booze.
TASTE Big roast malt. Some booze tinge (7% ABV). Tight and tasty.
STATS 7.0% ABV / 52 IBU / Imperial Stout
SHOULD I BUY IT? Damned straight. Might be my favourite.
RATING 4.0/5.0 (Excellent)


Not bad for a new brewery.
Now make me some Barley Wine.

Written by chuck

October 23rd, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Beers,Breweries

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