Have Beer, Will Travel

Graham With, Parallel 49 | BCBusiness
Graham With, brewer at Parallel 49.

Two B.C. craft breweries get a marketing push south of the border

October is Craft Beer Month in B.C., celebrating the success of a rapidly growing industry. According to the Liquor Distribution Branch’s Quarterly Market Review from June 2013, packaged sales by microbreweries that produce less than 15,000 hectolitres a year increased by a whopping 48 per cent in B.C. over the previous year.
The new CRAFT Beer Market restaurant at the Olympic Village opens its doors on November 7. Fifty B.C. brews are among the 140 options on tap—Canada’s largest selection.
“The craft beer scene is really exploding,” says marketing manager Alison Robertson. “The community in Vancouver and B.C. is very tight knit and we’re excited to showcase their beer.”
As new brewery ventures pop up around the province, established players are growing to keep up with demand.
“We’re looking at about a $2-million expansion,” says Anthony Frustagli of East Vancouver’s Parallel 49. “By the end of next year, we’re anticipating we can be at roughly 2.5 times our current capacity.”
Parallel 49 needs that beer to satisfy its local customer base and to fuel its out-of-province marketing initiatives. A national rollout continues after successful forays into Alberta and Ontario, and America beckons.
Squamish’s Howe Sound Brewing and Parallel 49 are the first representatives of “Canada’s Select Brews.” The brand portfolio is being launched by 2×4 Brewing and Imports, which provides distribution along with sales and marketing support to help Canadian microbreweries gain a foothold stateside.
The craft segment of the U.S. beer market is expected to grow from five to 15 per cent over the next several years, says 2×4 co-founder Tony Formby, a Vancouverite who has split his time between the U.S. and Canada for the past three decades.
“It’s very robust and should keep getting better. 2×4 came about as I saw the growth of the sector here in B.C. and realized it was following a similar path. Also, these guys up here are producing terrific beers.”
2×4 plans to expand its portfolio up to eight breweries from across the country by the end of 2014, with distribution into 30 states. After some regulatory delays due to the U.S government shutdown, Parallel 49 and Howe Sound Brewing are about to make their American debut. The first of Canada’s Select Brews should be on shelves in California within the next three weeks, and in 12 states by the end of the year.