By Jessica Kirby –
This summer will probably go down in history as one that brought upset and disruption to many people in the region; but also, it will be remembered for its community connections and those who came together to help. No exception to the crew of those eager to ease the burden for others are regional brewers Barkerville Brewing and Jackson’s Social Club and Brewhouse, who recognized the importance of giving back to their communities and took action right away.
When the wildfires began, management at Barkerville Brewing in Quesnel knew right away they wanted to do something to help. It is part and parcel to the company’s unofficial mandate that when they can help, they will.
“At our storefront, we decided for every pint sold we would donate one dollar to the Red Cross,” said manager and part-owner Justine Pelletier. “That was something we could do immediately, and it has brought in $1810 to date.”
The team wanted to do more, but had to keep up with current production and didn’t have tank space available, so they teamed up with new Prince George brewer Crossroads to create a limited-edition brew.
“Crossroads had a free tank, so we went up together and did a brew together called Community,” said Justine Pelletier.
“One hundred per cent of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross.”
The brew is a dark German lager with a bit of beechwood, which brings a light smoke to the flavour. The name is fitting considering most materials for the brew were donated—Universal Packaging donated the bottles, Summit Print printed the labels no charge, Country Malt donated the malt, and WCG Consulting designed the product labels for free.
With 768 bottles and 11 kegs currently for sale, Barkerville and Crossroads estimate Community sales will bring in around $8,000 for the Red Cross.
The Barkerville team sees its philanthropic work as giving back to its roots. Although the company’s products are sold across Canada, the community of Quesnel is its foundation.
“This is our backyard and the locals are who support us,” said Pelletier. “We are their brewery.”
This isn’t the first time Barkerville Brewing has stepped forward to lend a hand—it created Out of the Ashes, a limited edition white rye IPA to assist Jason and Pharis Romero of Horsefly after they lost their business to a fire in 2016, and regularly hosts $1 from each pint sold fundraisers at its storefront to support various local charities.
Out of the Ashes was relaunched in September and the proceeds from this batch will also support the Red Cross or another fire-related cause.
Barkerville Brewing opened in February 2013 after its owner decided to fulfil his dream of running a brewery and chose Quesnel over busier centres like Victoria and Vancouver as the ideal location for a brewery.
Across Canada, its Wandering Camel IPA is its biggest seller, while locally tried and true favourites like the Cariboo Bedrock pale ale and Prospectors pilsner bring customers in again and again.
It’s the feeling of community and bringing people together that people need most in troubling times, and customers at Jackson’s Social Club and Brewhouse know exactly what that feeling is like.
“I believe people are very happy that we’re here to offer a place to be social, unwind and actually say what is on their minds,” said owner Keith Jackson.
Formerly known as Broke N Rode Brewing Co., Jackson’s opened under a fresh name in spring of 2017 and has brought people together with a welcoming atmosphere and delicious brews ever since.
Jackson’s Social Club and Brewhouse recently hosted a beer garden in the park for the first annual South Cariboo Summer Festival, which turned into a thank you to local fire fighters, RCMP, and everyone involved in the summer wildfires.
It is also selling wildfire benefit t-shirts for two different causes.
“We just supplied the bar featuring Jackson’s Beer to one of our local ranches for their Pasture to Party dinner,” said Jackson. “We are also being featured in our 100 Mile House Wrangler Junior Hockey Team’s beer garden this year.”
Some of Jackson’s Social Club’s fan favourites are its Retro Dog Blonde, Bicycle Tree Red, Wrangler IPA, and Giddy Up Brunette, which is made with its house roasted coffee and Jack SMaSH.
“Our beers all have distinct tastes, flavours, and colour,” said Jackson, noting the establishment has a five-beer rotating system, with seven currently ready to pour.
“We are the only brewery between our friends at Barkerville Brewing and Kamloops, and we are situated on Highway 97 in a gas station garage built in the 50s,” he said. “We bring some great craft beers to a small town as well as a fun relaxing atmosphere for the locals and tourists.”
The family-friendly, wheelchair accessible brew house also offers tasty treats made by neighbouring businesses, which further illustrates Jackson’s commitment to the community.
“I’m doing all I can to make good beer and support my community,” he said.