Molson Coors Canada is announcing plans to use Fraser Valley hops to brew their beer starting next summer from Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/The Progress file)

Local hops to be sourced by Molson for Chilliwack brewery

Fraser Valley hop farms in the spotlight as Molson Coors plans new Chilliwack brewery

Molson founder John Molson, who brewed his first barrel of ale in 1786, was quoted saying “an honest brew makes its own friends.”

So there’s a kind of symmetry to Molson Coors Canada announcing plans to use Fraser Valley hops to brew their beer starting next summer from Chilliwack.

Select varieties of B.C. hops for the new Molson brewery in Chilliwack will be sourced from Sartori, Northwest Hop, and BC Hop Farms, according to a release.

READ MORE: A resurgence of hops

“Molson has a long-standing history of local community connections where we brew our beer. John Molson always said that an honest brew makes its own friends,” said James Hall, Molson Canadian marketing manager.

Two of the hop farms are Chilliwack-based, while another is in Abbotsford, and this catapults local producers, many of whom have been orchestrating a comeback for the hops industry, into the spotlight.

“Molson’s decision to brew with local hops is great news for the Fraser Valley,” said Ken Popove, Mayor of Chilliwack. “We are excited to see Molson continue to deepen its relationship and investment in our community, and we look forward to the facility opening in 2019.”

Keenly aware of the solid history of hop-growing in the region, particularly in Chilliwack, Molson Coors reps worked hard with area producers to ensure that local brews would include “select local hops.”

“As the oldest continuous brewer in the America’s and Canada’s oldest brewery, steeped in a strong family history and connection to the community, we are very excited to have Molson Canadian brewed with select B.C. hops,” Hall said in the release.

Hops was once the dominant crop in Chilliwack and it brought seasonal work for thousands over the years. By the 1990s that was just a memory, but starting in the mid-2000s hops were growing in Chilliwack again.

“In early discussions with community leaders it was something that was top of mind,” said Matthew Hook, chief supply chain officer for Molson Coors Canada, who is responsible for brewing, packaging and logistics.

“It is truly exciting to be building the brewery in the Fraser Valley at Chilliwack and to think that hops for Molson brews will be directly sourced from farmers in close proximity to our brewery,” Hook added.

Construction on the Chilliwack brewery is ongoing, with the physical structure now closed in for internal details to be completed through the winter.

The anticipated opening date is the summer of 2019. The brewery will be fully powered up with BC Hydro by some time in early December.

READ MORE: Home to hops


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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