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You Asked! – A summary of questions and comments from the 2016 BC Craft Beer Survey.

Your Questions Answered – Ramblings from the 2016 BC Craft Beer Survey

At the end of the 2016 BC Craft Beer Survey we left an open ended field where respondents could ask questions and leave comments about BC craft beer. With several hundred people leaving their thoughts we distilled it down to some themes and have some answers for you. Here are some of the top questions and comments from the 2016 BC Craft Beer Survey.

Are BC craft beers available Canada wide , and in the US ?

Yes, there are a number of BC craft breweries that are exporting across Canada and into the states. A few are also exporting into Europe and Asia with their products. 

BC Breweries need to learn how important it is to print bottling dates on bottles

They can be difficult to read at times but most of the larger craft breweries will put a date stamp on their cans and bottles. This is generally either a date or a code that can be traced back to the production date. 

BC Liquor stores should have a bigger selection of craft beer, not just from the closest breweries to each store.

Under current regulation each BC Liquor Store is allowed to sell unlisted products from the 6 closest BC craft breweries. With increasing centralization of beer ordering through government liquor stores this is not likely to change. You can always do a custom order though for any beer through your local private or government run liquor store. 

Breweries should be allowed to brew cider too! More cider please!

Cider production can be done in BC through a winery license. Any brewery can apply for this and it is much easier to acquire than a brewery license. There has been an increasing number of breweries that are making cider in recent years. 

Breweries should be allowed to sell their beers at farmer’s markets. Wine can be sold at these markets but beer can’t. Doesn’t make sense. Kamloops farmer’s market,for example

Breweries are actually allowed to sell their product at farmers markets in BC. 

Brewery numbers are reaching a peak sustainability point. There are some making inferior products and riding the wave. 90% of the good beer in the province comes from 25% of the breweries. We will start to see some fail.

Attrition is always a possibility in a market growing as fast as BC craft beer. Overall we will likely continue to see an increase in the number of breweries over the coming years but it is likely that some will close as well. 

By-Laws in the Tri-Cities should be more accommodating to the BC Craft Beer industry. They have been too slow in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam to take advantage of an emerging market.

You are correct in that the Tri-Cities has been slow to adapt to allow craft breweries to open. 

Cheaper prices would be nice

Yes…. they would be but it isn’t likely to happen. As breweries grow they pay higher taxes to the provincial and federal government. Beer isn’t cheep to produce and pricing is likely to remain stable and trend slightly upward. 

Do you think the bc craft beer industry is saturated?

Looking at areas like East Vancouver, Port Moody the per-capita number of breweries is likely too high based on the actual population in those areas. Still though, when you consider that these regions become attractions for residents of other communities over-saturation is not likely. The growth rate of BC craft beer will likely slow and the greatest opportunity for new breweries is in smaller communities that do not already have breweries in them. 

I don’t like some breweries add taxes to the beer and not a set price.

In April, 2016 the BC government changed the regulation around display prices. Now, the pre-tax price is displayed. For beer you will pay an additional 15% tax and a deposit in addition to the display price. Given that this is a government led initiative it is not likely to change. 

I find a lot of establishments pour the same things. Gets tired.

If you don’t like what is on tap at your local pub or restaurant, let them know what you would like. Most establishments want to hear from you.

I really wish the taxes would drop a bit. beer is way to expensive for the consumer and also for the Brewers the make a decent profit

Lower taxes would be a great benefit to BC breweries but to be fair they did drop in July 2016 by around 30%. We will not likely see a further reduction any time soon. 

I would like to see a better selection of craft beers at gov. liquor stores. If grocery stores are allowed to sell BC wines, why not local (craft) beer? I also feel that prices should be more competitive. I know that could be comparing apples and oranges but I’d like to see good beer priced closer to schlock.

Grocery store sales of BC wines come from the VQA designation where 100% of the ingredients are from British Columbia. With beer that is very difficult to achieve based on the volume of barley and hops that is produced locally. We will likely see beer sold at grocery stores at some point but it will require a change to the regulations around BC made products which is likely years away. 

I would like to see more BC craft beer in Alberta

BC beer has been pushed out of Alberta with August 5, 2016 tax changes. Currently craft breweries pay the same tax as macro producers at $1.25 per litre. At small-scale breweries this taxation means that their product would be priced out of the market.

I’d like to see Growler filling stations at liquor stores.

This works well in other areas in Canada and the USA. Unfortunately it is currently illegal to do so in BC. 

I’m originally from Ontario, and moving out to BC has been a treat. The sheer volume of craft beer, and craft spirits, out here is amazing. I’ve had a hell of a time trying new brews and while there have been ones that haven’t gelled well with my specific taste…there have been some absolute beauties. Well done BC – you truly are the land of craft beer.

Ontario has the largest number of craft breweries of any Canadian Province but BC has been growing much faster. It is exciting to see BC being at the forefront of Canadian craft beer.

Is there a good spot to read/write reviews focusing on BC/Canadian beers?

May I suggest

Just moved here from Ontario. Craft Beer in BC is ridiculously expensive compared to ON. Also why do so few companies sell in Tall Boys? They’re the norm in ON for the year round products and allow for buying by the can instead of by the six pack (and lets you test more variety).

East of Manitoba, single serve cans dominate the marketplace. In BC, larger, multiple unit formats have been preferred. The top format for beer as a whole in BC is actually the 15-pack. Craft beer tends more towards the 6-pack though. As per the cost, if you compare locally made beers from BC and Ontario the costs may surprise you

(LCBO) Muskoka Detour IPA – 473ml – $3.15 = $6.65/L

(BCLDB) Red Racer IPA – 6 x 355ml – 11.99 = $5.62/L

More tall cans, and not just in 4pks

Cans are growing in popularity in BC and we will likely see more and more tall cans from local brewers. BC liquor stores will not sell 473ml cans though and 500ml cans are only made in Europe and Asia. Private stores will likely continue to sell more single serve cans but through government run retail bombers, 6-packs and 12 packs will likely continue to dominate craft beer sales. 

Nanaimo needs a good brewery!

Nanaimo is home to four breweries. There is the Longwood Brewpub, Longwood Brewery, Wolf Brewery and White Sails Brewery. All four make great beer!

To comment on number of BC craft breweries – I feel there is starting to be an excess of breweries doing the same thing – brewing a variety of accessible styles and focusing on the brewery’s image as the differentiating feature. I would really like to see some more specialization and focus on doing particular styles extremely well, which is something common in WA and OR but not BC.

It is great to see breweries like Dageraad which specializes in Belgian style beers. Hopefully there will be more breweries taking this approach down the line. 

Too many sours – for a guy who has to be careful with Hefeweizen, my only other option in the spring/summer for something new is often the sours. Too much focus on those and not enough on
session ales to allow you to have a few on the patio without getting too intoxicated.

In the four years that we have run our craft beer survey sours moved from the number 10 most preferred style to number 3. There is room for all styles of beer but the rise of sours has been like no other.

Why can’t we get it into Rogers Arena?

Rogers Arena has a contract to sell Budweiser beer. They have been mandated though that 10% of beer sales must be craft. You will find a limited selection of craft beer in Rogers Arena but 90% of all beer sold will continue to be Budweiser based on the contractual obligations. 

Would really like the BC retail playing field to be better-leveled, even tilted in favour of the BC craft beer breweries

Technically the field is already tilted the way of craft breweries. Compared to macro producers, craft breweries pay a much lower rate of taxation. There are other improvements that could be made though to help small brewers become successful.


Have more questions or feel differently about something? Leave your comments below!

About Author

Dustan Sept

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


  1. Lee Cation
    Lee Cation 31 December, 2016, 14:40

    Enjoyed this thank you!

    Reply this comment
  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous 3 January, 2017, 10:20

    Not that the last two comments are contradictory, but I think it highlights the disparity in the playing field for craft brewers and especially shelf and tap space. Keep fighting the good fight craft, I don’t want to have to walk all the way around the arena and take a few flights of stairs to get a decent beer!

    Reply this comment
  3. Connor Gillan
    Connor Gillan 3 January, 2017, 10:27

    “BC liquor stores will not sell 473ml cans though and 500ml cans are only made in Europe.” I am curious about this, I have seen local (Yellow Dog) 4 pack tallcans in BC liquor stores in the Tri-Cities/Burnaby.

    Reply this comment
    • Anonymous
      Anonymous 3 January, 2017, 13:19

      You can have a 4pk of 473ml cans, but not sell a single 473ml can. Nobody at the BCLDB will answer this question,WHY?

      Reply this comment

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