After a dry January, residents in the Tri-Cities, Burnaby and New Westminster can spend February sampling suds from breweries along the North of the Fraser Ale Trail.
And a stellar grand prize is up for grabs for participants who pick up the free Trail tasting passport and get a stamp while visiting at least six breweries before the Feb. 29 deadline.
The regional breweries taking part in the promotional project — designed by Destination British Columbia and BC Craft Brewers Guild — are:
- Mariner Brewing
- H-1100 Lansdowne Dr
- Boardwalk Brewing
- 2155-575 Seaborne Ave.
- Northpaw Brewing
- 2150-570 Sherling Pl.
- Patina Brewing & BBQ
- 2332 Marpole Ave.
- Taylight Brewing
- 402-1485 Coast Meridian Rd.
- Tinhouse Brewing
- 2140-550 Sherling Pl.
- PoCo Brothers Brewing
- 1979 Brown St.
(The Port Moody Ale Trail Tasting Passport was open last November.)
Supported by Tourism Coquitlam, the City of Port Coquitlam, Explore Burnaby and Tourism New West, the BC Ale Trail passport campaign will also see a lucky winner randomly chosen for the grand prize draw that includes:
- one night stay at the Executive Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre Coquitlam
- beer package from Mariner Brewing
- Tourism Coquitlam swag package
- one night stay in a theme room at the PoCo Inn & Suites
- $50 GC to the John B Neighbourhood Pub
- Port Coquitlam swag basket
- one night stay at the Delta Burnaby
- Burnaby brewery swag pack
- two tickets for the Hidden Wonders Speakeasy Magic Experience
- beer package from Steel & Oak Brewing
- BC Ale Trail swag pack
In a news release, Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, whose council recently moved a motion to boost the number of tasting room seats from 50 to 75, called PoCo’s craft beer industry as a “real success story” for the city.
“The tasting passport is a chance to support and visit all of the local craft breweries, experience the atmosphere and the different beer styles,” West stated in the release.
“It’s also a great opportunity to visit all of these breweries using the 25-km Traboulay PoCo Trail that surrounds our city.”
The Ale Trail passport promotion comes at a time of growing uncertainty in the craft brewing industry as the province’s more than 240 craft breweries struggle with changing consumer preferences and business cost pressures brought on by inflation and higher rents.
Two of the participants in the passport program — Mariner Brewing in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam’s Taylight — recently underwent ownership changes, the latter after it had been closed for a year. Several other breweries in Metro Vancouver, like Studio Brewing in Burnaby, have closed outright.
Ben Coli, who owns Dageraad Brewing in Burnaby and is on brewers guild’s Board of Directors, said more casualties are likely as operators are overwhelmed by debt they took on to keep open through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some breweries were probably mismanaged,” he said. “But a lot of them just had terrible luck with the way that events unfolded.”
The national Canadian Craft Brewers Association and the Canadian Coalition of Craft Brewers is also pitching for changes to excise tax laws that would give small breweries across the country a break on the first 500,000 hectolitres they produce.
— with a file from Mario Bartel, Tri-City News