IN THE BEGINNING
What Was Brewin’ in the ’80s
>> GERRY HIETER t’s hard to imagine that it was 38 years ago when the first ‘micro-breweries' in BC began operation. A lot of the consumers, brewers and brewery owners of today are not even that old!
1982 was, of course, the year Horseshoe Bay Brewing opened its “cottage brewery” doors down the hill from the Troller Pub. Since this has been chronicled in detail elsewhere, I will not dwell on this most important event. Having said that, here is a shout-out to beer pioneers Frank Appleton, and the late John Mitchell, for their efforts.
BC's second brewery, in Saanichton, copied Horseshoe Bay. They brewed 1983-1995 Victoria Times-Colonist, Dec 1983
1983 was a busy year for brewery start-ups here in BC, as a number opened their doors in order to capitalize on the success of Horseshoe Bay. It is particularly important to mention that Saanichton’s Prairie Inn Neighbourhood Pub & Cottage Brewery began brewing that year [with the “cottage brewery” operation in a separate building from the Pub, just like Horseshoe Bay - Ed.]. Although this was an extract brewery suffering from infections, the timing of their venture makes this a significant point in our brewing history. Brian Mayzes brewed there for many years.
Bryant’s Brewery (1983) in Maple Ridge was the brainchild of Peter Bryant who hired Peter Haupenthal as his brew master. Haupenthal later brewed at Dockside Brewpub in Vancouver where he brewed the first hibiscus lager in BC. They brewed Bryant’s Lager and an ale called Bullfrog Bitter, and tried to sell kegs to bars and pubs with little success. Bryant sold the brewery in 1984, then brewing stopped two years later. Mountain Ales (1983) was founded by Frank Berezan, who hired Frank Appleton for his expertise to set up an ale-focused facility
in Surrey. Expecting the beer to sell itself, Berezan found out that wasn’t going to happen, so he applied for an export licence and sold his beer in Seattle and Portland, beginning in 1984. Roger Thirkell was the original brewer and later his assistant Geoff Boraston took over to brew two ales: Mountain Malt (dark ale) and Mountain Premium Ale which it was hoped would be the flagship beer. The brewery closed in 1987 due to lack of sales. Similar marketing problems plagued Island Pacific Brewing (now Vancouver Island Brewing). The fledgling brewery in Saanichton had hired Frank Appleton to locate the equipment and commission the brewery in 1984. They also struggled with several infections, causing sales to suffer. Fortunately, they brought in Bavarian brew master Hermann Hoerterer whose recipes and procedures were responsible for a 750% increase in sales in one year. Hermann was also instrumental in creating recipes for Okanagan Spring Brewing and was my partner in the original Whistler Brewing crew (locating equipment in Germany and creating the Premium Lager and Black Tusk Ale). Hermann remains one of the least known and under-rated brewmasters in BC craft beer history. Spinnakers Brewpub, founded in 1984 by John Mitchell and Paul Hadfield, has had more than a dozen The original Vancouver Island Brewing, also in great brewers over the years Saanichton: Victoria Times-Colonist, Nov 1984 including Lon Ladell and Matt Phillips. Notwithstanding a few hiccups along the way (like franchising brewpubs in Seattle) this stalwart is still thriving today. Aside from Mitchell and Hadfield, another important figure at the time was Mitch Taylor, the founder of Granville Island Brewing (1984). Mitch advanced the cause of every craft brewery of the time with his lengthy negotiations with the BC Liquor Distribution Branch. GIB went on to produce one of the best German-style lagers ever made in BC. Continued on page 13
HORSESHOE BAY BREWERY (TROLLER PUB)
PRAIRIE INN PUB & COTTAGE BREWERY
BRYANT BREWERIES (BRYANT'S)
TERMINAL HOTEL BREWPUB (CHEERS)
GRANVILLE ISLAND BREWING COMPANY
ISLAND PACIFIC BREWING CO. (VIB, 1991)
LEEWARD PUB & BREWERY
SPINNAKERS GASTRO BREWPUB
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