2015 BC Craft Beer Survey Respondent Questions

Your Questions & Concerns Answered – 2015 BC Craft Beer Survey Responses

2015 BC Craft Beer Survey Respondent Questions
Your Questions & Concerns Answered – 2015 BC Craft Beer Survey Responses

In the 2015 BC Craft Beer Survey some 1390 people told us about their thoughts around craft beer. In the survey we left an open ended question where participants asked questions, vented, praised and commented on what they think abut beer in British Columbia. In an attempt to educate, clarify and show what people are asking about we have picked 63 of our favourites for this article. Crack open a beer for this read, there is a lot to go through!

We have given a response to each of the questions and comments in the top section. It is not our intention to sway opinion with these responses but rather give facts and offer assistance to any confusion that may be out there. Some of these questions and comments are negative in nature but remember it is an amazing time to be drinking craft beer in British Columbia. As a reminder of this, the bottom section includes some great praise from people like you and I that love BC craft beer!



The pricing structure change by the BC government was complete crap and favoured large breweries.


The pricing structure change did make the cost of many craft beers from small breweries rise. The change resulted in smaller margins for many breweries and a higher cost to consumers at retail.
The reformed liquor laws seem to be doing more harm than good in the way of pricing and availability. Also, right now the number of breweries may be ok, but it can’t keep expanding or some will have to shut down due to over supply.


Indeed supply has been growing at a rapid rate. We have seen a significant increase in market share for craft beer in BC however which is now at approximately 20%. There are an increasing number of BC breweries that are looking at national and international distribution as well to access new markets and allow for continued growth.
Love the BC craft beer. I wish the government would support and promote rather than create red tape and regulations to stifle creativity and growth.


The BC Craft Brewers Guild is working hard to help improve regulation around craft beer in BC by representing craft brewers. Help them out by supporting their events and collaboration brews.
Only that BC is finally on the map as far as beer is concerned. Our liquor laws are ancient and antiquated and need to be updated. I have traveled all over he world and only in Canada do we have such ridiculous restrictions on public consumption of alcohol.


There have been small improvements in liquor laws over the past few years. British Columbia is slowly getting better when it comes to liquor reform. We still have a long way to go though.
Nothing other than our draconian laws… I want to enjoy craft beer with my friends, while our kids play in the park.


Drinking on a playground may never be legal; but, hopefully we will see improvements on consumption in public spaces at some point in time.
It’s going really well. Looking forward to a ‘VQA’ style support from the Gov’t to boost it further. And it would be great if all the fancy/flashy rules they put in place last year actually come into play.


The VQA model is based on the fact that the ingredients (grapes) are 100% grown in BC. While hops can be grown locally, barley is a greater challenge. To brew 100% BC sourced beer is nearly impossible so with current regulation such a designation is not possible.
More beers from the interior available in the Lower Mainland would be great.


Tell your liquor store what you want. They will sell what their customers demand. Let your voice be heard!
Current market is weird – I buy most from the govt store because private stores mostly sell at higher prices. I wish it was easier to get the ‘good stuff’


Private liquor stores do tend to have slightly higher prices. This is due to the fact that the government liquor stores are part of a crown corporation and achieve massive economies of scale. By shopping at a private store though you are paying for convenience and selection while supporting local business. Government stores are also limited in the products they can carry due to their centralized ordering system and product listings process.
I think we have a really great industry, but there are supply problems. In the US you can buy craft beer at a gas station, but here the further you get from Vancouver the less shelf space it occupies. It would be nice to break into smaller and more rural markets to get BC brewed craft beer available across BC rather than just urban centers.


Agreed, liquor laws are getting better to allow for this but we have a ways to go still. The current retail system is built around legislation and government control. To simply change the regulation would put some 800 or so business at great risk. We need change but it will not happen overnight.
The lack of variety in terms of BC Craft Beer in the Government Liquor stores and how hard it is for small breweries to sell their products in a BC Government store.


The current distribution model does make it difficult for small breweries to sell through government stores. This is due to a centralized warehouse, space limitations and quantity requirements. Rules have changed though so Government Liquor Store managers can stock locally made product.
I live in Surrey and feel we could use a few more craft breweries out here. Also, there are many restaurants i frequent which lack a decent BC craft beer selection.


Surrey is a very interesting city. It has a large population and a very large land mass. The population is one of the youngest in BC however and there is a large proportion of the population that does not drink for religious reasons. There is potential for growth but for now three craft breweries will just have to suffice.
B.C craft beers are some of the best I have ever had. I love the idea of supporting local. I live in a small town so the selection is quite poor.


Ask your local retailer to get you what you want. They want to provide you with the product that you want!
When Will a brewery open in Poco?


There are no plans for a brewery in PoCo at this point in time as far as we know. Coquitlam has been struggling with the idea as well with their local by-laws.


As regards the selling of beer in grocery stores, I would be in support of such a proposition, but only if the BC government issued new liquor licenses to existing grocery stores. The current moratorium on liquor licenses, and the need for grocery stores to convince existing liquor stores to move inside them because of proximity rules in the new legislation really defines the new legislation as a p/r stunt by the BC government. However, the market here could never truly be opened up in the same way that it is south of the border because of the relative state monopoly on liquor distribution.


You are correct that the moratorium is designed to limit the implementation of grocery store liquor sales. The issue lies in that many private retailers have paid a premium (up to $1,000,000) for their license and the way our system works is based on the regulation rather than the marketplace demands. If the government suddenly allows everyone to sell liquor, those license investments are worthless and the existing private retail channel will go belly-up. Unfortunately change can’t happen all at once.
Need more craft breweries in the sea to Sky region.


The One Duck Brewing Co. is planned to open in late 2015 in Squamish!
I live in the Kootenays and the BC Craft Beer scene often feels like the “Vancouver” Craft Beer scene, or the BC Coast Craft Beer scene. I find particularly on the coast and in Vancouver, the rest of BC’s breweries don’t really seem to be taken seriously as having solid beers and also even being a part of the same craft beer community. It feels like breweries that aren’t located in Vancouver or on the Island aren’t worth being considered since Vancouver already has so many great breweries, the rest aren’t really needed.


Indeed there is a great deal of excitement around Vancouver and Vancouver Island craft beer. This comes in part because more than 75% of all BC breweries are located in these regions. There are great beers that come from all corners of the province though.
This is a very exciting time to be a fan of craft beer, I only hope the big breweries don’t stomp in, buy ’em all, and go back to the boring, middle of the road stuff that calls itself beer
We don’t want quality to become an issue but don’t immediately assume that a corporate buyout will result in reduced quality. There are many great USA examples where what a buyout did was give the brewery access to the ingredients and distribution network that they needed to make great beer that was accessible to a larger market.
It would be great to see more collaboration releases. I would love to see more connection between breweries and establishing hop farms to incentivize greater hops production!


Currently Crannog Ales and Persephone Brewing grow hops on their land. This allows for economies of scope as well as significant tax advantages. It is a great model but is only possible in areas that are viable for agriculture.
People can get really hostile that they are drinking the right beers and supporting the right breweries. Craft beer drinkers need to stop hating on other craft drinkers


People are passionate about what they like. Don’t hate on the haters but instead introduce them to your local favourites and show them why you love the variety and quality of BC craft beer.
Craft beer industry has boomed. There are so many facets to it as it is a ever changing industry, and slightly competitive. It would be really cool if there were “beerformation” sessions/tours where the hobbyist or the curious could learn a few things about it.


Check out CAMRA education classes, as well as Ken Beattie’s Eureka Beer Guide. They are both a great way to learn about craft beer!



Happy to see an increase in craft beer-focused events and beer/food pairing events across the province. Hoping to see more and continued integration with the BC craft cider scene moving forward. Also hoping to see more restaurants and pubs outside of the craft beer meccas of Vancouver and Victoria adding BC craft beer to their menus.


Prepare yourself – cider is going to be HUGE!
There are sure a lot of new breweries…what is lacking is matching food that keeps up! It’s SO HARD to find a place that serves delicious beer AND good food – you would make a killing. We are over pulled pork, pepperettes and cheese buns!


The food at many breweries actually comes as a necessity. In order to obtain a lounge licence a brewery must among other things serve food. There are some locations that are putting a greater focus on food however and coming out with some tasty bites. Breweries are not always set up to prepare food either so looking at cheese buns and pepperoni sticks is one of their only options.
Some breweries failed to scale up like Powell Street and Parallel 49. Some beer is also low quality is not stable. If non craft beer drinker taste sort of not so good craft beer and they judge based on their poor incident, it is not good for overall craft breweries.


Scaling up is not always the goal of a brewery. Some breweries may just want to remain a small, locally focused business. For quality and consistency  of beer, scaling up is actually one of the most difficult aspects. Sometimes it takes some time for a brewery to work through the kinks of a bigger brewhouse and a greater quantity of beer hitting the market.
The hypocrisy of bashing growing, larger BC breweries for being “too big” while coveting the latest releases from Stone, Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, etc. is ridiculous and rather frequent. That attitude amongst many vocal craft beer drinkers brings down the mood, and dumbs the audience as a whole.


Agreed, have an opinion but base it on the beer and your own educated thoughts.
How do you get your hair so soft?


I condition regularly
I loved the Canadian holiday/experience of visiting and talking with many Brewers. FAR better than talking to a supermarket/liquor store salesperson. I believe that Craft Beer Breweries ‘under market’ themselves as a tourist destination. I am prepared to pay more for the Craft Beer experience.


YES! Tell your friends to come and visit! Tourism is a massive opportunity to grow craft beer and supportive industry in BC.
is there a website that keeps up with all new brews coming out?


There are a ton of beers coming out all the time but beermebc.com does a pretty good job of keeping up (in our opinion).
there needs to be a central website listing growler fills and on tap available across breweries!


I do not want to be in charge of updating that list. Great idea but the list is changing constantly. The team at growlerfill.ca is trying but with limited success.
I often try new craft drafts whenever I can. Info on where these craft breweries are and where to buy their product would be helpful


Many breweries list where their beer can be bought on their website. Check out the specific brewery you are looking for and they may be able to help.
Needs a formal guild or group for release news and list of brewery and brews


There is an organization called the BC Craft Brewers Guild. They are not a news source but rather an industry representative for legislation. We post news releases regularly on beermebc.com though.
Keep up the great work. When are you starting BeerMeAB? :)


Do you have the expertise to help out? The url is actually beermealberta.com.
allow dogs in tasting rooms, don’t overprice.


The dogs issue… Breweries don’t hate your dog. It is actually a heath and safety issue. According to Division 7 section 25 of the BC Public Health Act ” an operator of food premises must not permit live animals to be on the premises.” Individual health inspectors have the power to override the decision if it is deemed appropriate. In a brewery space where manufacturing and packaging is happening this is not very likely.
More cans!!!


We like cans too.
I’d love to be able to buy single bottles smaller than bomber sized. I like tasting things, so I rarely commit to a six-pack or four-back. One thing I dislike is that not enough breweries list the “bottled on” date for their beers. Especially when I’m shopping for IPAs, that’s so important. Don’t make me guess!


Date stamping is not widely adopted but is increasing in prevalence. Keep an eye on the caps as well as labels as many do have a bottled date on them. Hopefully they all will at some point.
Definitely not a fan of the custom bottles by breweries. They have to get smashed and are more wasteful than the standard 650ml brown bottles, or the 330ml re-useable bottles. Cans are also awesome and not embraced enough.


The only beer packaging that is refilled/reused are the twist top, 343ml brown bottles, and of course your growlers. All packaging is recycled however where the material is broken down then made into new bottles or other products. In order to use the reusable bottles a brewery must join the BDL Stewardship Plan. There are currently 23 breweries that are a member of this program where a bottle is used on average 15 times. Small breweries generally do not have the packaging abilities or scale required to utilize such a system however.
My main concern is this. Why can I buy a tall can of German beer for less than a local beer? Bum’s me out. So, I always get the German one. Also, why does Okanagan sell only cases of their cider? I just want one can.


The big difference is economies of scale. The German beer is likely brewed by a brewery of behemoth proportions compared to your local brewery. Ask your local retailer about the sales methods. They are often willing to work with customers to better understand your needs
Price of beer should have nothing to do with the strength. I drink it for the taste not alcohol content.


The reason an Imperial IPA generally costs more than a beer like a Pale Ale is actually because it costs more to make. A high alcohol beer takes more malt in the brewing process and has a lower yield for the greater quantity of ingredients. A beer like an Imperial IPA also uses more hops than would a smaller, lower alcohol option.
My only complaint is that I find beer events to be very expensive. I realize that some are done as fundraisers, and thus the funds go to a good cause, but I’m not comfortable paying $70-$100 for my husband and I just to get in the door of some event, only to fork over more money for food and drinks. If there is any way to make these events less pricey, I would participate in them more frequently.


Agreed, keep an eye on where the money is going though. Many long-running events have made very significant contributions to local charities.
How do we lobby to get lower taxes on beer?


You can contact your local MLA or support the BC Craft Brewers Guild. They are the representative for BC craft brewers.
The markup price. Make it cheaper than the Macros. The buy up of indie Craft breweries by the Macros – i.e. AB-InBev – Elysian, Mill Street etc.


Taxation in BC is scaled based on brewing production volume. The provincial “mark-up tax’ scales from $.55 to $1.08 per litre based on the brewery’s capacity.
-2015 is the first year I’ve been charged money for infected and faulted beers. “Cask beer is supposed to be cloudy” or “It’s a Belgian yeast” was legit in the 90’s, but it’s not cool now. Especially at ten bucks a ‘pint’ -What happened to CAMRA Vancouver ? I guess we’re all busy doing other things now.


Check out the CAMRA class that is tought on off flavours. You can gain a better understanding of what is right and what is not through this course.


There is some awful BC beer brewed by hacks. Sadly, most BC craft drinkers can’t tell good from crap, so natural selection is not weeding these out. We have a long way to go.


If you have an issue with a beer, contact the brewery. It is likely that they want to hear from you to understand if something is not right with their beer.
I am getting concerned with the numbers of craft breweries developing. I can’t see them all succeeding, unfortunately. It is good to see a good representation in restaurants and pubs now.


There are still many great places to open a brewery and have a great business based on the local community. The growth rate in areas like Vancouver likely will not continue as has.
I hope this bubble never bursts!


Perhaps it isn’t a bubble then?
There is going to be a breaking point, or rather a plateau for growth in the BC craft beer industry. Consumers are going to hit an exhaustive “wall” of styles and breweries and geeks taking thing just a bit too seriously.


BC is currently at approximately 20% market share for craft beer. This number is likely to continue to rise but will find a plateau. Many breweries are also exporting their beer to reach new markets.
should have a gluten free craft brewery. High need for this!


If the demand is there, one will open. Gluten Free beer is a very tough market to tend to though.
I wish there were more good organic options. I wish there were more tasty nut browns available. I wish there were more delicious amber ales. I wish ingredients were listed on each bottle/type. I wish fining were always vegan.


Crannog Ales, Nelson Brewery and Dogwood Brewing are all fully organic breweries. It is tough (and expensive) to find ingredients though. Beer that is not vegan is generally so because of the clarifying process where gelatin or isinglass is used in small quantities. Some BC breweries (Steamworks, Cetnral City, Parallel 49 and Driftwood) are using a centrifuge which reduces the need to use such non-vegan ingredients.
More lagers/pilsner would be nice to see.


We don’t see a large number of lagers from small breweries because of the time they take to brew. An Ale can be brewed much quicker and so with high demand a brewery can make more beer.
Please for the love of god lay off the f*&$#ing hops. There is a whole world of complex and amazing malt potentials being ignored. I appreciate a good hop layering, but when it’s the only way to distinguish one beer from the next? Please move on and stop thinking that hops are the only flavour in beer. It’s become monotonous enough that I have stopped trying local brews.


There are a lot of IPAs out there but there are also some fantastic other styles like Saisons, Porters, Stouts, Blonde Ales and much, much more. In fact, in the past 3 1/2 years we have posted a review for approximately 650 different BC-brewed beers that are not IPAs.

Additional Praise for BC Craft Beer

  • What to say about BC craft beer? I LOVE IT! The breweries that are in BC are amazing, each one is so different, and all offer such unique beers. From the weirdness of Storm Brewing to the comfort of Postmark. From diner like at Red Truck to fun and games at Tree Brewing Beer Institute. Watching a brewery move to a larger location (Powell Street Brewery), another start up in that old location (Doan’s) and feeling the excitement when someone grows (Fuggles & Warlock), it’s a great time to be in BC and enjoy the beer!
  • Keep up the good work!
  • Good to see the craft beer culture increasing, and also to see breweries thriving in the South Okanagan. Until recently, craft beer was something we mainly enjoyed when we visited the US but there are more and more great opportunities all over BC now.
  • I am ever impressed with BC craft beer and love the induction of more breweries each year, all producing quality product.
  • Just wanted to give a shout out to Bridge Brewing who I think have really stepped up their game this year. In particular, their Red Rye Sour and Fresh Hopped Red IPA were phenomenal.
  • Like the survey method to collect diverse data!!
  • Not only does BC have almost every style of beer… but between the island, the mainland, and the north we have come up with some crazy brews and the water from every region makes a nice difference. And if you can try Tofino Brewing Spruce ale with actual spruce tips – does it get any more BC than that.
  • We got some of the best beer in the world!
  • It is really fun to be a beer drinker in British Columbia right now! Before the Craft Beer industry in BC exploded, I use to drive to beer and wine stores KMs from my home just because they carried a certain IPA or a certain Stout before “Stout” and “IPA” became household names. It is super exciting, super fun and great to bring people of all walks of life together to enjoy a dizzying array for amazing BC beers. I love it.
  • I’m amazed at the choices that have evolved in the past 15 years!
  • No comments other than to say how deliriously happy I am that we are enjoying such a huge explosion of new craft breweries in BC.
  • Just would like more time to actually go to all the new breweries in town.
  • Keep it up. Go BC Go!


Have more questions? Agree or disagree with our responses? Tell us in the comments below!

About Author

Dustan Sept

Dustan Sept is the founder of Beer Me BC. His passion for craft beer drove the creation of beermebc.com in 2012. To learn more about the beermebc.com editorial team visit beermebc.com/the-beer-me-bc-team/.


  1. B
    B 16 December, 2015, 17:10

    Regarding no gluten free BC breweries, I read an article in the past year about the challenges a couple was facing trying to open a gluten free brewery up and their biggest road bump was taxation. As far as I understood, because of the high percentage of “adjuncts” (i.e. spelt, sorghum etc), gluten free beer doesn’t qualify to be taxed as beer (a malt based beverage) and is instead found in no man’s land being taxed as if it were a cooler. Because coolers are essentially just watered down spirits and flavouring, the taxes are through the roof and for a gluten free brewery to break even they would have to have absurd markups, making their product far more expensive than anything else on the market. Correct me if I’m wrong?

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  2. dustansept
    dustansept Author 16 December, 2015, 17:26

    Thanks B,

    That is very true actually. Beer is by definition primarily made of barley, hops, yeast and water. Gluten free beer does not fit that categorization as it lacks barley. I wouldn’t be surprised if something was changed to allow for this down the line but with low priority it likely won’t happen soon. It is much more likely that an existing brewery would make a gluten free beer in the meantime.

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  3. darryns
    darryns 16 December, 2015, 21:15

    As of Dec 1st Govt Liquor Stores can now carry twelve non-listed beers from the six micro breweries closest to them. This sounds great, but the LDB includes brewpubs, most of which do not package product, and breweries who do not package (can or bottle) in the six. The result is that many Govt stores are actually only getting a few beers to sell. The rule should only include those breweries and Pubs that package product.
    P..S Mt Begbie Brewing Co in Revelstoke also has a Centrifuge…look inland more my friends!

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