Tri-City residents were quick to support Port Moody's Brewers Row, flocking to pioneers Yellow Dog Brewing and Moody Ales when they opened in 2014 and, in the following two years, to Twin Sails Brewing and The Parkside Brewery.
Lower Mainland beer drinkers have followed, discovering quality brews beyond Vancouver's boundaries.
Now, the local craft brewers are getting a little love from L.A.
An article in last Sunday’s Los Angeles Times newspaper, and on latimes.com, that extols the virtues of the enclave of microbreweries on Murray Street is an affirmation of the area’s unique appeal and the quality of beer being produced, said Sam Payne, Parkside’s “co-executive super president.”
“Bless our hearts, there’s been a lot of attention,” Payne said of the article that appeared in the fourth-largest circulation paper in the United States. “It just speaks volumes to the area and the quality of beer being made right now.”
It’s also a bit of a boon for tourism in the Tri-Cities, said the CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, Michael Hind.
While tourists may not be making Port Moody their holiday destination, he said, more and more are finding their way to the city, as well as Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, on day trips, especially since the opening last December of the Evergreen SkyTrain extension that has made the area more easily accessible to the rest of Metro Vancouver. Some of them are coming just to explore, others for sports tournaments or special events such as Canada Day or the BC Highland Games and Scottish Festival.
But an increasing number are coming for the beer.
“It’s a growing segment,” Hind said. “People are coming from outside the Lower Mainland. I can see where Brewers Row is thriving.”
(The craft brewery industry is also thriving, with Mariner Brewing opening last month in Coquitlam and Northpaw Brew Co. planning to open in Port Coquitlam.)
Ken Beattie, the executive director of the BC Craft Brewer Guild, which represents 70 of the almost 100 craft breweries in the province, said the number of visitors will likely increase with the international exposure.
“This type of coverage in the past has created an influx of traffic to the breweries and our website,” Beattie told The Tri-City News.
The article is also a boost to the Guild’s efforts in partnership with Destination BC, Destination Canada and 16 local tourism associations across the province to promote craft breweries as a reason to visit the province.
“It is our belief that we have a world-class brewing experience all across this province,” Beattie said. “Our mission is to let travellers know to visit B.C. and to experience our community.”
While the hot weather has been drawing visitors to Brewers Row all summer, Payne said the true test of promotional efforts like the Guild’s BC Ale Trail, as well as local collaborations with Parkside’s neighbours at Moody Ales, Yellow Dog and Twin Sails, will come as the days grow shorter and cooler.
Payne said the four brewers get together regularly to brainstorm ideas.
“We talk about how to promote the area, support the area and support Tri-Cities in general,” Payne said. “The more people that come to Port Moody, the more customers we all get.”
Hind said the success of Brewers Row spins off to the rest of the business community.
“They’re doing a fabulous job,” Hind said. “I think it’s only going to get better.”