Craft Beer Market Opens in Vancouver

Craft Beer Market Vancouver | BCBusiness
The Vancouver location of Craft Beer Market opens officially on November 7, 2013.

After much anticipation, the restaurant and bar—with its 140 beers on tap—officially opens in Vancouver’s iconic Salt Building

Tomorrow, on November 7, Craft Beer Market will officially open its doors in Vancouver, marking the second location of Craft and the first to open outside of Alberta. Craft Beer Market first launched in Calgary, in 2011, and will open a third location in Edmonton this December.

Located in the iconic Salt Building in Vancouver’s Olympic Village, the 13,000-square-foot restaurant and bar opened with a soft launch earlier this week, but after months of buzz leading to its arrival, it was already packed with eager beer hounds.

The concept was developed by Calgary-based restaurateur and club-owner PJ L’Heureux, who says he drew inspiration from his own love of craft beer. “In one of our restaurants in Calgary—which is not Craft—we were touted the best beer list in Calgary a few years in a row, so we’d always had that passion for the beer. We wanted to take it to another level,” he says.

After visiting beer-based bars and restaurants around the world, L’Heureux noticed that they all lacked a common element: a decent food component. “What we wanted to do [with Craft] was really focus on the food,” he says. The chatter in the city has been focused on the beer, but L’Heureux insists that “the food is first and then the beer is second.”

From the sauces to the bread, “everything is made from scratch. So when you’re getting something, it’s proprietary to us but it’s also something that you know is going to be local ingredients and you know is going to be made daily,” he says. The seafood is Ocean Wise (except for one item, according to L’Heureux), and the menu items are sourced from local farms. “For a restaurant our size, it’s very difficult to do but it’s something that we really believe,” L’Heureux says. “It’s one of our core values, to support all local as much as possible.”

The food may be first, but Craft still has the city’s largest selection of draft beer on tap—140, with 55 from B.C.—plus 12 wines on tap. The beer list is “as complex as Trappist breweries to as simple as your regular, North American lager,” says L’Heureux, adding that the selection will rotate to sometimes include more or fewer than 55 local drafts.

L’Heureux is keen to be a part of the craft-beer scene in B.C., adding that he’s frequented local beer joints such as Alibi Room and St. Augustine’s. “It’s a great community, a beer community and a great restaurant community—people support each other, and it’s just good people,” he says. “The more people that are exposed to craft beer and good food, the better.”