Barkerville Brewing Co – (Gold) Rushing to Quesnel for BC Craft Beer
Barkerville, British Columbia is a National Heritage Site in the centre of our beautiful province and is often refereed to as Gold Rush Town. This homage to British Columbia history is a tourist destination for history buffs around the globe. Approximately 80km west of Barkerville in Quesnel the Barkerville Brewing company is opening its doors for business.
Officially opening its doors on February 4th, 2014 the Barkerville Brewing Company will be the first craft brewery in the area. Building off the tourism momentum around gold rush history the 18 Karat Ale will be the first beer brewed in the 15bbl Newlands brewhouse. In similar historical tribute we can expect to see the Wandering Camel IPA, Prospector’s Peril Pilsner and the Hound of Barkerville Brown ale to be released in staggered fashion over the coming year. Following these soon to be staple options, rumour has it that brewmaster Troy Rudolph has a Birch Syrup brew that he has been perfecting.
Looking way back the original Barkerville Brewery was opened in 1860 during the cariboo gold rush and is now being resurrected by owner Russ Ovans. Beer Me BC caught up with Russ to ask him a few questions about the newest BC Craft Brewery.
What started the idea of opening a brewery in BC?
I have been intrigued by the industry from the moment I heard Matt Phillips on CBC radio discussing his legal battles over Blue Truck Ale (which was my gateway beer to craft). In 2009 I wanted to open the ninth brewery in Victoria, but I was talked out of it by an industry consultant. Then I really wanted to invest in Sean Hoyne’s brewery, but he raised the money on his own. So I gave up on the idea of ever starting a brewery. But after spending a year living in Scotland and visiting 365 different pubs in 365 days, I came home to BC more inspired than ever.
How long has Barkerville Brewing been in the works?
Since December of 2012, when I used the idea of a microbrewery in a historic gold rush town as my case study during training to become an Accredited Mentor at the BC Innovation Council.
Finding and acquiring the right property. The building we chose to buy failed the environmental assessment (it was once a gas station and there were still buried tanks) and that temporarily scuttled the whole deal. But we persevered while the existing owners stepped up and paid for the remediation. I’m glad we stuck with it as we see our building as one of our core strengths.
Who was the biggest help in making this project come together?
Two people. First, Troy Rudolph, my brewmaster, who has worked tirelessly from the start. Second, my daughter Svea, who was a constant sounding board for my crazy ideas about marketing.
What single factor separates and identifies Barkerville Brewing from the other breweries in BC?
Our location, which is reflected in our branding and the stories our beers tell. It’s not just that we’re the only brewery between Kamloops and Prince George, we’re the only brewery who tells the story of BC’s historic gold rush.
What is the most exciting aspect of having the brewery up and running?
Besides being told how awesome 18 Karat Ale tastes, it’s the groundswell of civic pride and support that our project has generated in Quesnel.
Who is your greatest inspiration in brewing?
Matt Phillips. His success is nothing short of remarkable, and his engagement with the community is fantastic. I also love everything that Brew Dog (of Edinburgh) does.
Are any thanks due to those around you?
So many thanks are due to so many people, like my investors, mentors, bankers, family, employees, etc. But especially deserving is my friend Paul Crawford who not only suggested that I open a brewery in Barkerville, he introduced me to my brewmaster!
The Barkerville Brewing Company opens its doors on February 4th, 2014. Stop by for a taste and fill your growler while you are there!
Welcome to the world of BC Craft Beer Barkerville Brewing!
Brewery Hours and Location
12pm to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday
185 Davie Street, Quesnel, V2J 2S8
Click on the images below to see more photos from the newest BC craft brewery – Barkerville Brewing Company!