Forget chocolate, these B.C. Advent calendars are full of beer

B.C. Craft Beer Advent Calendars| BCBusiness
There is a different beer every day until Christmas in the Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown and Snowcase Calendar packs.

What’s more, they’re selling like crazy

From December 1 to 24, it won’t just be children enjoying daily treats from their Advent calendars. This year, thousands of adults have purchased cases of 24 different B.C. craft beers to be savoured one day at a time until Christmas Eve.

For 2014, Victoria’s Phillips Beer produced 14,000 cases of its second annual Snowcase Calendar, while Surrey’s Central City Brewers and Vancouver’s Parallel 49 collaborated on 12,000 cases of the first Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown pack. At $69.99 and $74.99, respectively, most were snapped up by the last week of November.

The Phillips Snowcase Calendar was so popular last year that the BC Liquor Distribution Branch approached the Craft Brewers Guild about increasing the 2014 supply to meet demand. “They basically called me and asked me would you be able to do it. I think they asked a couple of the bigger craft breweries,” says Central City Brewing VP of marketing and sales Tim Barnes. “I said absolutely, but I’m going to need a partner on it because I knew that we couldn’t do 24 on our own.” The first person he called was Michael Tod, co-owner of Parallel 49 Brewing Company.

“We have a good relationship with Central City Brewing Company, and we did figure it was a good way to showcase both companies’ product at a busy time of year,” says Tod. “To our knowledge, it’s the first collaboration Advent-style 24-pack between Canadian-based brewers and definitely the first between two B.C.-based brewers.” Each company contributed 11 beers plus a specially brewed collaboration beer: Central City’s Dubbel Trubbel Belgian brown ale and Parallel 49’s Schwarzwald Chocolate Cherry Porter brew. Each beer of the day will also be available on tap at various pubs, with the location posted online.

Phillips managed to fill its Snowcase with 24 of its own beers, although “it’s a fairly intense undertaking for us to do that,” says owner Matt Phillips. Although Phillips produces a fairly wide variety of beers on a regular basis, it was a challenge to roll out 24 fresh beers at the same time. The Snowcase includes a balance of beer styles, from very hoppy, to big malty to barrel-aged. “We’ve tried to represent the spectrum of craft beer in this one box,” says Phillips. “Hopefully, it’s got 24 things for everyone, but it does kind of explore the range of craft beer in B.C. right now.” Phillips has posted a Snowcase calendar on its website with information about the beer of the day and an interactive discussion forum.