FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John’s first local craft brewery is hoping to begin serving its first pint as soon as the end of this month.
Owner Steven Beard said that the brewery’s first beer, Red Beard red ale, is being cold crashed today, and will be carbonated by Thursday or Friday. Beard said that the brewery also currently has an India Pale Ale that will be ready in between a week and ten days, as well as a milk chocolate stout that will be ready shortly thereafter.
Beard explained that while setting up operations this year, he’s consulted with several local craft breweries, including both The Grain Bin and GP Brewing, which opened in Grande Prairie within the last two years. He said that many local craft breweries that are keen to help one another succeed in the wake of a growing push from both consumers and brewers that are abandoning products that are made by large multinational breweries such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewing company.
Prior to opening his doors, Beard said that he contacted local pubs and restaurants about the possibility of featuring local products, and he said that so far, demand has been huge. In terms of capacity, his equipment currently has the capacity of brewing 60,000 litres per year, brewing once per week. Ales will be the brewery’s primary form of beer for the time being, since lagers take twice as long to brew.
“I don’t think we’re possibly going to be able to make even a fraction of the beer that we could potentially sell in this first year,” said Beard. “We certainly have plans to expand and upgrade quite quckly. Initially, we are going to start focusing on the local population, and if we have enough beer we will certainly move into other markets.”
Beard said that at present, his brewery will be focusing on selling Growlers and kegs, as his company does not yet have bottling or canning equipment, although he said that he plans to add that in the near future. When it comes to a grand opening, Beard said that he is currently awaiting final approval for permits, but that the tentative goal is to be open within two weeks. For more information, visit www.beardsbrewing.ca.