Jason Meyer

Jason Meyer

Victoria craft beer the new normal

Sometimes the best brands start on a whim. That’s exactly what happened when Driftwood Brewery named its India Pale Ale, Fat Tug.

  • Dec. 22, 2015 8:00 a.m.

— Kevin Underhill

Sometimes the best brands start on a whim. That’s exactly what happened when Driftwood Brewery named its India Pale Ale, Fat Tug.

Since its creation, the seven per cent alcohol, fruity and aromatic IPA has been flying off shelves and over bar tops in B.C. The beer is Driftwood’s number one seller and recently won a pair of Beer Me B.C. Awards.

In a poll of 1,390 people by Beer Me B.C., Victoria breweries, including Driftwood, Phillips and Hoyne, pulled well above their weight in the competition, with Driftwood coming out on top.

Their signature IPA, Fat tug, won best B.C. craft beer and most consumed B.C. craft beer, and Driftwood Brewery took home second to Vancouver’s Four Winds Brewing in the category of best B.C. craft brewery.

“These are actually your customers voting, not just the opinion of a few self-appointed experts,” said Jason Meyer, co-founder of Driftwood, adding that it’s always nice to be recognized.

For the better part of the last decade, the B.C. craft beer scene has been exploding all over the Island and in the Lower Mainland. Victoria is home to more than a dozen of B.C.’s 100 plus craft breweries with new ones establishing themselves every year. Kevin Hearsum, one of Meyer’s founding partners at Driftwood, said it’s nice to see craft breweries taking some market share away from the bigger breweries.

“There’s always going to be a greater percentage of the population that’s interested in the variety that craft beer offers,” Hearsum said. “It’s not about brand loyalty, it’s about trying as many different beers as possible.”

Meyer and Hearsum aren’t rushing into anything but they have been experimenting in distilling spirits. Both say they’d like to expand to a new location within the next decade — a dream that’s not too farfetched because of B.C. beer drinkers’ new attitude.

“It’s an exciting time to be a brewer,” Meyer said. “We’ve rounded a corner as beer drinkers where craft beer has become the new normal.”