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Victoria Beer Week Society to run GCBF 2019


Victoria Beer Week Society to manage the Great Canadian Beer Festival in 2019 and beyond.

The Victoria Beer Week Society (VBWS) and the Great Canadian Beer Festival Society today announced an agreement for the VBWS to manage the Great Canadian Beer Festival (GCBF). VBWS intends to continue the legacy of the GCBF in 2019 and beyond, and the non-profit society that manages GCBF will formally dissolve as part of this agreement.

The Great Canadian Beer Festival has been held annually in Victoria, BC, since 1993. Since 2003, the festival has been produced outdoors at Royal Athletic Park on the weekend after Labour Day, attracting an array of breweries from British Columbia and beyond who showcase their products over a two-day festival.

After celebrating the GCBF’s 26th anniversary in September, its longstanding team of directors—Phil Atkinson, Gerry Hieter, Claudia McNeil, John Rowling and Petra Trafford—decided to retire from managing the longest running beer festival in Canada, and asked the Victoria Beer Week Society to take it over.

“We are pleased to announce that we are passing the Great Canadian Beer Festival over to the Victoria Beer Week Society,” remarked Gerry Hieter, GCBF Chairman. “Over the past five years, Glen Stusek, Ryan Malcolm, Joe Wiebe, Chris Nohr and the many alumni of the Victoria Beer Week Society have demonstrated a commitment to craft beer and a quality in their events that we believe will reflect the values of the Great Canadian Beer Festival. Under their stewardship, we look forward to enjoying future GCBFs and having a beer with you all on the field!”

For the Board of Directors of the Victoria Beer Week Society, the offer to manage and operate the Great Canadian Beer Festival came as an unexpected but very pleasant surprise. “We are honoured to be given this opportunity to sustain and build upon the legacy created by Gerry Hieter, John Rowling and the other key organizers of GCBF,” said Joe Wiebe on behalf of the Victoria Beer Week Society. “We are very excited about what the future holds.”

The 6th annual Victoria Beer Week festival will return as usual March 1-9, 2019, featuring an assortment of craft beer-focused events in venues all around Victoria. Concurrently with planning and producing VBW, the VBWS will work with the outgoing management team at the GCBF to learn their systems and procedures, and begin planning for the 27th annual Great Canadian Beer Festival to be held September 6-7, 2019.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Joe Wiebe, Victoria Beer Week Society:  moc.keewreebairotcivobfsctd@eoj | 604-783-5266
Gerry Hieter, Great Canadian Beer Festival: ac.wahsobfsctd@reteihg | 250-920-6785

More on this story here >>


  1. Inside GCBF 2019: one final word from a key leader - What’s Brewing Magazine 24 October, 2019, 00:03

    […] in BC craft beer circles. But when he and his colleagues in the Victoria Beer Week Society were offered the job of taking over production of the Great Canadian Beer Festival—Canada’s longest-running (and probably most beloved) […]

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