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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John is about to get its first craft brewery.

Stephen Beard says the company is hoping to start brewing beer as soon as September.

“We’re still going through some of the regulatory hoops, both by the BC Liqour Board and the City but everything looks like it is going ahead with smooth sailing.”

Beard says he is a big believer in chasing dreams and that is one of the reasons he decided to undertake the venture.

“I was looking for a new challenge and it’s something I believe Fort St. John deserves and has needed for a while. We figured, let’s prove that it’s possible and it’s doable and let’s provide something to this amazing community that we call home.”

Photo: Beard’s Brewing Co. – Facebook

The process started in January of this year to get the brewery idea going.

“I’ve been dreaming and talking about it for years but the real start was in January. We purchased our equipment, I drove down to Rossland, B.C. and picked it up myself and drove it home. It’s all in town, we’re just waiting for approval to set everything up.”

Beard says that typical beers that people enjoy are owned by a company named “InBev”. He says he wants to bring a local option for beer lovers.

“They own beer. They own Canadian, Molson, Kokanee, Goose Island, Budweiser, Miller, Corona, Heineken. If you look them up, they own everything and they’re not even a North American company.

People are looking to support local and I think a lot of people that switch are realizing that there is more flavour, more variety and we’ve been kind of mass marketed and trained to drink watered down beer and craft beer is so much more.”

The company will also be doing growler refills. They will also have mini kegs for camping and events.

“A lot of people in Fort St. John haven’t heard of it because we don’t have a craft brewery but in any bigger centre or the States, you put a deposit down on a bottle or you can buy the bottle and just come in and refill it with your favourite craft beer. Take it home, enjoy it, rinse it out and bring it back and fill it up again and it ends up as cheap or cheaper compared to the mass produced beers.”

Beard says they aim to start brewing at the beginning of September. He adds that it will be another two weeks until the first batch would be ready. They are hopeful the Grand Opening could take place during Oktoberfest.

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