Victoria breweries have been leading the way for the craft beer industry since the mid 1980's when Spinnakers served their first brews. Since then, the number of Victoria breweries, distilleries and cideries has exploded - each with their own creative spin on what was a relatively generic drink, not that long ago.
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If you grew up in the 60s, 70s or 80s the idea of independent breweries, distilleries, wineries or cideries was pretty far-fetched. We were led to believe that only big companies made anything remotely drinkable – after all we all had friends who were either fermenting grapes or experimenting with barley and yeast at home. And unfortunately most of it was nasty! I will say this though - times have changed and home-made concoctions have vastly improved over the past few decades.
Bottom line though, it wasn't too many years ago that our selection for beer seemed limited to either Labatt’s Blue or Molson Canadian. Sure, the odd person maybe drank Red Label or a “premium” beer like Sleemans but we didn't even realize how few choices we had. We were naive beer drinkers!
Fast forward a few years and we now have independent brewers selling their products in the coolers and on the shelves beside the “big guys”. And they are bravely going wherever their taste buds take them (and taking a good chunk of profits with them!).
According to Statistica, in 2018 Anheuser-Busch controlled 35.1 percent of the Canadian beer market, Molson Coors Brewing Company controlled 28.1 and “Other” controlled the remaining 36.8 percent.
That “other” category is comprised of all the small breweries and microbreweries who are shifting the balance. Once big brand loyal consumers are now jumping ship and lining up to enjoy distinctive, flavourful beers - with some very unique names - made locally in their own communities.
Here on Vancouver Island, we have an excellent variety of delightful locally produced alcoholic beverages with many of those businesses offering tasting room and tours, and some available at local farmers markets. For our purposes, we highlight the Victoria breweries, cideries and distilleries that are located in the region from Sidney to Sooke.
Closed in Oct 2021 and will re-open in the spring of 2022 under Craft Beer Market branding
We want to hear from you! If one of the Victoria breweries, distilleries or cideries is your fave and you would like to write a rave review - be sure to contact us for details on how your review could be a page of it's own right here on this site.
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