Kamloops brewer joins craft beer revolution by taking the big guys head-on | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops brewer joins craft beer revolution by taking the big guys head-on

November 29, 2016 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - A local entrepreneur has plans to build the largest brewery in Kamloops and take on brands like Budweiser and Molson for market share.

The B.C. Brewing Company started delivering beer in Kamloops yesterday, Nov. 28, and while the product is currently being made in Kelowna, the owners intend to move operations to Kamloops as soon as possible.

Co-owner Joey Bedard says they are looking for locations in the city right now.

“I think there’s room for a whole lot more craft beer in Kamloops,” he says.

Right now the company only has four full time employees, but that will grow over the coming months, with sales people in Kamloops and Vernon in training right now.

“We should be around 10 employees to start,” he says. “Twenty-five once the brewery is running.”

Bedard says they’re aiming to have a 50 hectolitre operation in Kamloops, which would be three times the size of Red Collar Brewing Co. or five times the size of Noble Pig Brewhouse, both currently brewing beer in the city.

A third, Iron Road Brewery, plans to be up and running in Kamloops by the fall of 2017.

Bedard isn’t worried about flooding the market and says the company is actually working with Iron Road Brewery as a hops supplier.

“I don’t see it as competition,” he says. “We’re all going after a separate part of the market.”

The company’s plan is to focus on the Interior’s mainstream beer market, creating a locally made product for people who enjoy the larger, industrial brands like Molson and Budweiser.

“We’re kind of going for something more on the commercial side,” he says. “We want to get the Interior to support something local by offering something to people they’re already drinking.”

Currently most craft beer on the market, from Bedard’s point of view, is aimed to craft beer fans instead of people who drink beer regularly but shy away from the experimental or weird styles micro breweries specialize in.

“I think a lot of people want to convert and move to something that’s locally done,” he says. “But don’t want to leave their Budweiser for a Belgian dubbel.”

Once a site is found in Kamloops, the company will move brewing operations to the city, and distribute the beer in cans and kegs. Some local pubs are already carrying the first batch, while other pubs in the wider region will be working with the brewery to create brewpubs in smaller towns.

Bedard says the company is already working with the Sun Peaks Grand on a project. They also have plans for a tasting room near Thompson Rivers University and a brewpub at the Hop “N” Hog Tap and Smokehouse in Clearwater.

Bedard, who is also an owner of the Hops Canada hops farm on Tk’emlups te Secwepemc land, says his company is not only targetting a different demographic, but has a different business plan altogether, with an intergrated system of growing their own ingredients to distributing their own products.

“We’re going to start growing barley,” he says. “If we can get that malting barley done here we can get that cost of production lower.”

They currently have barley malted by a company in Armstrong, but Bedard says the plan is to open a site in Kamloops sometime after the brewery is established.

The company has started talks with Lafarge about a site in east Kamloops the cement manufacturer owns and is shutting down. Bedard hopes to use the rail access and equipment there to unload barley and start a malting plant. If the plan works out, he thinks they could offer work to some of the people who recently lost they jobs at Lafarge and foresees a 25 to 40 person malting operation.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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