Business

Steel&Oak so popular it closes

Brewmaster Peter Schulz, Jorden Foss and Jamie Garbutt celebrate the opening of their New Westminster micro-brewery, Steel & Oak.  - Mario Bartel/NewsLeader file photo
Brewmaster Peter Schulz, Jorden Foss and Jamie Garbutt celebrate the opening of their New Westminster micro-brewery, Steel & Oak.
— image credit: Mario Bartel/NewsLeader file photo

The good news is after just six weeks in business Steel&Oak is closing its New Westminster craft brewery doors.

Huh?

Well, the bad news is craft beer connoisseurs in the city who have fallen madly in love with its product will have to wait a week because Steel&Oak has sold out. Of beer, that is.

"We're running out of beer. We're selling more beer than we're making," said co-owner James Garbutt of the decision to close this week. "Our success has been great. We're moving beer and we're turning down accounts left and right. We have more pubs that want to stock our beer than we can supply."

Garbutt said he and partner Jorden Foss have been turning down requests to stock their beer from pubs in Kitsilano, Surrey and the North Shore.

The first line to run out was brewmaster Peter Schultz's smoked Hefeweizen. As more and more flocked to the brewery's tasting room below the Third Avenue overpass to fill up their growlers the stock of Steel&Oak's pale ale, smoked lager and red pilsner also disappeared.

So while the next batches ferment in time for the Aug. 5 reopening, the success has Garbutt and Foss in expansion mode. They currently have four tanks that produce 3,400 litres each. They're going to add another two tanks with a capacity for 5,100 litres each. That will enable Steel&Oak to increase its current pub account from eight to 18.

Garbutt said they also want to buy a bottling line because the profit margins are better on selling beer in a bottle.

But even with the expansion Garbutt doesn't think they'll be able to keep up to demand.

"I assure you there will probably be another day where we run out of beer," said Garbutt. "It's basically means we've got to spend a lot more money to make more beer. With success everything costs money.

"It worked out far better than we thought."

Steel&Oak were put on the map by a couple of craft beer bloggers praising the product during Craft Beer Week. New Westminster's social media and friendly gossip circles have also spread the word.

"The support from New Westminster is unreal," said Garbutt. "They love their beer. Every week our following is growing because of New Westminster. The pubs and restaurants want us there. Dozens of people are discovering there's a brewery here."

 

• The brewery at 1319 Third Ave., will reopen Tuesday, Aug., 5. The tasting lounge is open Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, noon to 8 p.m., and Thursday, Friday, Saturday until 10 p.m.

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