The Sunshine Coast is only a 40 minute ferry ride from West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay but in crossing Howe Sound the Queen of Surrey may have well been a time machine as things move a little slower in the town of Gibsons BC. Well, that is unless people are looking for craft beer. The residents of this Vancouver-offshoot community operate a little bit differently than the big city folks do. Speed limits are only a suggestion of how fast your car may go, the legion is where youth hang out and the busiest place you can go on a Saturday is the local farmers market. People in the area value local, they value fresh and the value relationships. These three values all point to craft beer!
The Persephone Brewing Company, as a part of the Brand Group opened its doors only a few months back in 2013 and the entire area has been buzzing with excitement ever since. Building on past momentum from the popular 80’s TV series The Beachcombers, Persephone takes its name from the scripts that first put Molly’s Reach on the map back in 1972. Besides legacy in the name and in addition to the fresh and local mindset of locals, great tasting craft beer has put a hopped spark under locals who are flocking to this farm fresh brewery.
Coming from the Russell Brewing Company head brewer Anders McKinnon has taken the helm at the mash-tun and has concocted a number of recipes worthy of commendation. Mere weeks after opening the doors at Persephone the PBC Dry Stout took home a gold medal at the 2013 BC Brewing Awards. While at that point there were only a few beers available, when you enter the brewery now you can expect to find at least 6 different craft beer options poised to fill your growler. If the growler isn’t you cup of tea you are just in time since bottling has commenced and canning is just around the corner. You may still struggle to find this beer in its bottled form but even the local BC Liquor Stores made an exception to the rules and have stocked their shelves with the Double IPA and Scottish Ale bypassing the usual rigamarole in province-wide, government distribution.
The Persephone Brewing Company is off to a sprinting start with the full embrace of the community and while they owe much of that success to quality beer and the people around them there is also some thanks due for their neighbours to the North at Powell River’s Townsite Brewing Inc. Located on the North Sunshine Coast in Powell River this small brewery set the stage for craft beer in the area with their opening back in 2010. Even during the launch of Persephone, as beer-drinkers flocked to the brewery in greater than expected numbers Townsite came to the rescue with an extra supply of growlers to fill the unexpectedly explosive demand.
Following an extremely successful start to brewing in Gibsons BC, the team at Persephone is already looking at installing additional tanks to increase the amount of beer being produced. Additionally the brewery is located on a small farm where they will grow their own hops and ingredients for seasonal offerings. The Persephone motto of Farm Fresh Beer goes above and beyond expectations and is likely part of their key to success in their local community.
Keep your eyes open and your ears tuned as Persephone is not a name to forget. Their local success will likely grow exponentially and this small farm based brewery very well could become a provincial contender in the BC craft beer market.