To keep up with an ever-increasing demand, Old Yale Brewing has been having an incredibly busy summer.
Pioneered by brewmaster Larry Caza in 1999, this Chilliwack brewery moved from their small Venture Place location to a new home on South Sumas Road in early June.
They were bursting at the seams in the 2,500 sq. ft facility, but now with nearly 10,000 sq. ft, they can accommodate continued growth.
“There was a massive demand. We could never make enough beer, we were always behind,” Operations Manager Zach VanLeeuwen said of the prior space.
They decked out the large production area with a new brewhouse and eight additional tanks from Newlands Systems, an Abbotsford manufacturer.
“We just more than tripled our tank capacity and brewing output,” VanLeeuwen said.
Now they have the ideal space to show off the modern re-brand they launched in 2014. The eye-catching sign post logo is mirrored on bottles, cans, custom taps and merchandise.
A bright, spacious tasting room brings the outdoors in with elegant and unique woodworking elements interspersed with pops of green. The menus on each table are perched in Wool & Wood miniature canoes, while the beer flights are on a canoe paddle.
“We have a place for people to come and sit for a while. Have a flight, decide what you like, and get a growler of it to take home,” VanLeeuwen explained. Old Yale Brewing has become a true destination space for craft beer-lovers to gather and socialize.
They don’t serve food yet, but they’re hoping to. Staff are in the midst of meetings with city council to acquire a “lounge endorsement.” With the endorsement, they’ll be able to serve food, for which VanLeeuwen is already thinking about local farmers and chefs to partner with, and pour more than 12 oz per day per customer, which is their current limit.
Old Yale Brewing is now served on tap in more than 60 restaurants and pubs in B.C., Alberta and the Yukon, and their products are sold in liquor stores in the same regions. And this summer, you can find Old Yale beers in an entirely new setting.
Thanks to recent liquor distribution board regulations, craft breweries now have the ability to sell their beers at artisan and farmers’ markets.
Taking full advantage of the opportunity, Old Yale hired a new staff member to coordinate and run the table at three markets per week over the summer. You can spot their booth at That Local Market (Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Central Community Park), Yarrow Twilight Farm and Art Market (Fridays, 5 to 8 p.m., Yarrow Pioneer Park), and the Eco Market (Wednesdays, 4 to 8 p.m., Sardis Park).
They are able to provide samples, albeit very small ones, and sell products like the new Old Paddle Pilsner, the award-winning Sasquatch Stout (Best Beer in Canada, 2014), and, if they can keep any in stock, the “unbelievably” popular variety Summer Craft Cooler.
“The people that go to farmers’ markets are the people that buy craft beer,” VanLeeuwen said of the exciting new step. With a similar appeal to their fellow vendors, the products are fresh, hand-crafted, and are made just down the road by local employees.
“It’s such a cool thing to be a part of that community,” he added.