BC Craft Beer Spotlight: Silver Valley Brewing

In the Winter 2020-21 issue of What’s Brewing magazine, a group of industry members discussed how BC craft breweries are surviving hospitality’s harshest-ever winter with slashed capacity, frozen patios and a raging virus. Among those industry panellists were Silver Valley Brewing founders Kevin Fulton and his partner Brandi.

Based in Maple Ridge, Silver Valley has been open since 2018. As a relatively new business, they’re a good example of a local-first tasting room that also had a budding presence on Lower Mainland liquor store shelves before COVID. You can also place orders through their online store for deliveries in the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows area.

Let’s find out what Kevin and Brandi have to say about the state of things since the onset of the current pandemic.

Q&A with Silver Valley Brewing

Q: The last time we checked in with you, there was no pandemic. Now, there is no end in sight. How are you holding up, and how busy is the brewery these days?

Kevin and Brandi

A: Overall we’re doing okay. Being a brewery that has a stronger focus on the tasting room, we had to make a big pivot and adjust our business model to concentrate more on wholesale. The tasting room has been hit the hardest because of the limited capacity, but it’s still doing fine all things considered.

Having our online store, for local deliveries, has helped. We’re looking at how we might take more advantage of that and possibly expand in the near future.

Q: Winter is a big concern for many hospitality businesses. Have you done much outdoor seating, and if so did you have a plan for the colder weather?

A: We had temporary outdoor seating during the summer, but we didn’t have plans for winter outdoor seating. We were actively working on putting together a plan, but knew that construction may not be possible until closer to spring.

Q: Have you held many “virtual events”, or do you plan to in the future? Do you see much of a role for “online gathering spaces” in craft beer marketing going forward?

A: Although we haven’t had any virtual events, we do plan on hosting some. We’re not sure what “online gathering spaces” will consist of but there’s a sense of community that needs to be fostered now and moving forward. Being a community hub is one of the best parts of running a brewery, so finding ways to fulfill that role is important to us.

Q: Out of the many restrictions in place due to COVID, what is the single worst part of it for business? What do you think the province or your municipal government should be doing next?

A: It’s challenging, but we understand that safety restrictions are important and that complying with them is our responsibility, not just as business owners but as community members.

Moving forward, it would be ideal to be able to utilize more outside patio space during winter. We’re excited about the support that the City of Maple Ridge is providing in this area. Both the City and the Province have been excellent in addressing our concerns and helping us through the process.

Kevin Fulton in the Silver Valley Brewing brewhouse, opening week 2018

Q: Do you think that COVID will permanently change people’s behaviour, and make society less trusting of close face-to-face interactions with strangers, even after vaccines emerge? Do you think craft beer drinkers are more likely or less likely to be mindful of keeping their distance than the general public?

A: It will absolutely change behaviour moving forward, but to what degree and for how long is hard to predict. We think people will be more cognizant of and willing to stay at home or wear a mask while sick.

Once vaccines are widely distributed, we believe most people will return to tasting rooms, but [as we see already] there won’t be a sudden spike overnight. Becoming comfortable with going out and coming into close contact with others will take some time.

Q: What’s next on the horizon for you? Any other topic, product, community activity, or recent successes you’d care to highlight?

A: Making as much beer as we can! Outside of that, our winter seasonals have included Don’t Shoot Me Santa Chai Milk Stout (a collaboration with our good friends and neighbours at Once Upon A Tea Leaf), Frozen Pond English Strong (one of our brewer’s personal favourites), and A Great Big Sled Gingerbread Scottish Ale (the official beer of Glow Maple Ridge).

All throughout the year we’re consistently releasing limited release beers. Be sure to keep an eye on our social media and website to see what’s available next!

Silver Valley Brewing
11952 224 Street, Maple Ridge, BC

Online Store →

Brewery Tour Memories

What’s Brewing visits Silver Valley Brewing for opening week Media Day in 2018!

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Beer Me BC

Beer Me British Columbia: since 2012, BC's #1 resource for craft beer reviews, BC beer industry insights and career opportunities.

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