New West's Another Beer Co. is making neon signs cool again.
In the 1950s, downtown Vancouver used to be lit with more neon signs than the streets of Las Vegas, as mentioned in a show at the Museum of Vancouver. At a time when rock and roll music, and poodle skirts were the in thing, turns out, the city had 19,000 neon signs.
However, as with any fad, this one too lost its sheen. And by the 70s, there were few neon signs left.
But those who want to travel back in time, and party amidst the glowing signs, can do so right here, in New West's Sapperton neighbourhood.
Another Beer Company, a brewery that offers key lime sours, Italian pilsners and oatmeal stouts, among others, has converted its brewery space and the adjacent art department into a luminous party spot for the month of November.
“I was kind of feeling bummed that the summer was already over, and wanted to try to brighten up the space,” said Alex Jopson, co-founder of the brewery. “My wife and I have a love for neon signs, and when we built the brewery, we got a neon piece done (by ‘neon bender’ Cameron Clow) and learned a lot about how expensive and difficult it is, because nowadays, a lot of people use LEDs (which are more energy efficient),” he added.
In 2019, the year the brewery opened, they displayed Clow’s neon artworks. After a two-year break due to COVID, the team has decided to bring back 'Neon November' — a month dedicated to celebrating neon artworks. This year, though, the brewery is decked out with neon works by a different set of artists: Andrew Hibbs of Endeavour Neon, Owen’s Oddities, Antiques & Collectibles, and New West-based Seen Signs,
“One of the works that stands out for me is a neon sign that says ‘Fresh’. And it’s in a shopping basket. I think it's a play on shopping, and the items in the basket being fresh. Another one that seems to be talked about quite a bit is the 'Orange Crush', an old sign that would have been in a corner store."
Besides the neon art, “what a lot of people who come into the space are blown away by is the eight-foot disco ball, from our neighbour Seen Signs, that’s hanging up. It pretty much takes up the whole space (in the brewery's art department, which will soon double up as a beer-tasting room). It’s so awesome. With the light reflecting off of it, it's quite a setting.”
And this makeover has had a lot of people booking the space for parties, this holiday season. The 1,500-square-foot space can fit over a 100 people, said Jopson.
“Some people have been booking it for photo shoots. We've also had some music videos done there. But right now, with a disco ball in there, obviously it's more of a talking feature for people to book it for a party.”
Though Neon November, as the name suggests, will end this month, Jopson confirmed it'll be back next year.
Not just because it allows the brewery to morph into a neon-lit discotheque, but also because, as Jopson said, "We realize that it's (neon signs) a form of art that is dying out.”
To book space at Another Beer Co. (30 Capilano Way) for a party, you can send in an email to email@example.com. If there is alcohol being served, it has to be from the brewery. Food can be brought from outside, or bought from Jerk Shack that’s located at the Food Zone that's in the same building. Meanwhile, the brewery is also hosting a 'Sip N Shop' Fall Market featuring 10 vendors on Sunday, Nov. 20, 12 to 6 p.m.