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Salmonbellies games deemed to be of municipal significance in New West

Steel & Oak Brewing to serve up new beer at lacrosse games: Bellies Lager
Bellies beer: Jorden Foss, owner of Steel & Oak, is excited about the brewery’s new Bellies Lager, which will be served at New Westminster Senior A Salmonbellies games. photo Theresa McManus

This could be the quintessential New West collab: Salmonbellies lacrosse games and S&O beer.

When lacrosse fans head to Queen’s Park Arena for New Westminster Salmonbellies Senior A Salmonbellies games, they’ll be attending a “municipally significant” event. And if all goes according to plan, they may be able to enjoy a local brew at those significant events.

At its April 24 meeting, city council approved a motion in support of declaring the New Westminster Salmonbellies Senior A Lacrosse Club games to be of “municipal significance” and to forward its resolution to the province’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

Paul Horn, the club’s president, acknowledged the city’s support for the team at an April 25 event attended by players, coaching staff, board members, volunteers and sponsors.

“Last night, Mayor Johnstone and his council designated our games as events of municipal significance,” he told the crowd at River’s Reach Pub. “And that makes a huge difference to us, not only as an honour but it allows us to continue operating our beer garden. And … that allows us to have a brand new partner as well.”

At the event, Horn said the club was excited to announce a partnership with Steel & Oak Brewing Co., which would allow it to sell a locally brewed lager at all of its home games.

Jorden Foss, co-owner of Steel & Oak, said the Bellies Lager is a new beer for the local brewery, and will be sold at Salmonbellies games. It will also be on tap at Rivers Reach Pub, but it won’t be available for purchase at Steel & Oak’s tasting room.

“We just don’t know how much we’re going to go through, so we don’t want to accidentally sell too much at the brewery and not have enough for the games,” he said. “Especially if the Bellies go to the Mann Cup!

Municipally significant

A staff report to council explained that the “municipally significant” designation would allow the club to sell liquor products that are packaged in a can larger than the standard size allowed by the province, at a cost above the price maximum set by the LCRB.

“The local brewery that the Salmonbellies are looking to work with packages their beer in a 473ml can, which is larger than the standard 355 ml can that the LCRB uses as a basis for their maximum price structure,” said the report. “The Salmonbellies have indicated to staff that the team would therefore lose money by using the local brewery.”

Although the province is currently reviewing its price structure and sizing – recognizing that many craft breweries use the larger 473-ml can – it can’t say when that review will be complete, said the report.

“The maximum prices set by LCRB may only be exceeded if the purpose of the event is to raise funds for charity (does not apply for the Salmonbellies) or if the event has been designated of municipal, provincial, national or international significance,” noted the report.

In order to be of significance, the event must be connected to a local public event that receives significant media attention. LCRB policy also states that municipally significant events are of “unique importance” to a specific municipality.

While the City of New Westminster doesn’t have a criteria in place that it could use to evaluate the request, staff recommended council approve the request to declare the New Westminster Salmonbellies Senior A Lacrosse Club to be of municipal significance.

“Given the longstanding role the Salmonbellies have in the community, along with the intent of the event organizer to support a local business which is in alignment with city’s desire to promote local, staff recommend that council designate the Senior A games as municipally significant,” said the report. “Staff are not aware of other local events of a similar scale, significance or longstanding role in the community.”