Prince Rupert beer proves popular as Wheelhouse sells out quickly

Craig Outhet prepares the Wheelhouse Brewing Company’s Gillnetter Golden Ale, which will be available for purchase in a few weeks. - Martina Perry photo
Craig Outhet prepares the Wheelhouse Brewing Company’s Gillnetter Golden Ale, which will be available for purchase in a few weeks.
— image credit: Martina Perry photo

For the first time, Prince Rupert residents can drink Prince Rupert beer.

Craig Outhet, James Witzke and Kent Worten of the Wheelhouse Brewing Company, Prince Rupert's lone craft beer brewery, welcomed customers over the holiday season.  Wheelhouse opened its doors for four days in December for a soft opening.

Outhet said the support from Rupertites thus far has been amazing.

"We've seen the widest variety of people in here ... people have been positive with their feedback too," he said.

On Dec. 21, the first day of the soft opening, the new business sold approximately 300 litres of its Gillnetter Golden Ale.

"It was amazing. We opened, and within four hours the first day's beer was all gone," Outhet said.

Then, on Christmas Eve, the business sold out of its beer in four hours again, selling 400 litres of Wheelhouse Brewing's Flagship Pale Ale and Blacksmith Brown Ale.

"It was basically going out the door at a 100 litres per hour," Outhet said, adding it came from the sale of two-litre growlers and 650 ml bottles.

The microbrewery welcomed more craft beer lovers on Dec. 30 and 31, selling approximately 200 litres of the pale ale and brown ale both days.

Wheelhouse will reopen in late-January to begin steadily offering its fresh product. The Gillnetter Golden Ale and Flagship Pale Ale will be available year-round, with the brewery planning to have a third rotating seasonal beer, the first being the Blacksmith Brown Ale.

"Right now we're going to close for about two or three weeks to get enough beer back in stock ... so we can meet demand," said Outhet.

"We're closing down essentially to work out the kinks in our process ... then we can get stocked up again and hopefully reopen with standard hours," he said, adding the business will be open for three days a week once it resumes business.

There is currently a tasting space located inside at the front of the brewery so people can test out the product, with plans to create an exterior tasting area being in the future.

"[The inside tasting room] has been meant to be temporary ... there's nothing we can do about the outside, it's out of our hands. We've had good support from the city to get the inside open, we'll focus on the outside later," Outhet said.

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