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Craft beer brewery brewing in New West
Jorden Foss and James Garbutt were visiting Vancouver Island in July 2012, and being beer connoisseurs, they decided to check out the Tofino Brewing Company.
It was in an industrial park and along with making the beer, they served it in a tasting room and sold it to people by the keg, bomber bottles (650 ml) and growlers (large containers supplied by the customer).
It was a simple little operation, and the New Westminster natives thought why not bring it to the Royal City. Foss says they’d always talked about going into business together because they got along so well, and since they both enjoyed craft beer they’d joked about starting their own brewery.
He admits, however, that when someone says, “we should start a brewery” out loud it sounds a bit insane.
But they decided to put their money where their wisecracking mouths were anyway. The result is Steel&Oak, a craft beer house they hope to open on Stewardson Way next to the successful Pacific Breeze Winery sometime in the spring.
“I’ve always been a lover of different food and drinks. I love the aroma, the taste, how everything can be layered perfectly to create an experience. So when I first realized that macro beer wasn’t all that was out there I immediately became obsessed with craft beer,” said Foss.
Both say when putting the business plan together they were encouraged to discover other small craft breweries were being set up in Greater Vancouver.
“Breweries are also extremely expensive and for me it was a bit of a struggle to get my head around spending that much money out of the gate without having a product to sell yet,” says Foss. “For me it was about doing something I’m passionate about and being able to start it in a community that I grew up in and that I love, a community that I thought would not only support local craft beer but deserved to once again have a brewery to call their own. So one day I just thought, ‘if you don’t jump now, you never will,’ so I did.”
They already have Peter Schulz, a brewmaster with seven years’ experience, lined up. Garbutt says they have plans for some North American, German and English-style beers. Along with the usual method of using steel to brew beer they plan to make some oak-aged beers as well, hence the name Steel&Oak.
Along with distributing to local pubs, they want to have a lounge tasting room and sell beer by the keg, the bomber bottle and by growlers to customers off the street.
“It’s the best way to get fresh beer,” says Garbutt.
Their website is steelandoak.ca.