Askî Oci is a very special brew led by Nadine (Hansen) Jopson, co-creative director/co-owner of Another Beer Co. in New Westminster.
This unique brewing project celebrates the brewery’s connections to Indigenous culture and the land. Nadine herself is Cree and the project also involved other Cree and Métis women who are designers and artists to produce the label.
Askî Oci means “From The Land” in Plains Cree.
According to Alex Jopson, co-owner of Another Beer Co., “Within the craft beer industry, it is of the upmost importance that we facilitate and encourage a diverse range of voices to occupy roles within brewing and inspire new creations — and this beer is a small reflection of this positive direction. Using only local ingredients, we created a beer that reflects the West Coast and Prairies and pays homage to the bounty of raw, wholesome flavours this land provides to us.”
Brewed with Canadian prairies two-row barley malt, wheat malt, and Langley alfalfa hay, along with Centennial hops from Bredenhof Hops (Abbotsford), the Askî Oci Saison (4.25%) was also infused with local BC spruce tips in the boil. This light saison is dry and wildly dynamic. Off the nose, there are surges of spruce and lively floral, citrus notes, which give way to multilayered grains, soft smoke, and a sweeping barnyard funk. It is ABC’s first bottled product (500ml) and this limited run is only available at the brewery in New Westminster.
“We can’t be happier to have learned so much during this process and project,” Alex Jopson enthused.
When Nadine started on the idea of the Askî Oci (pronounced Ah-skee O-chi) Saison, it was important for her to work with someone who believed in the same message of changing the stereotypes between Indigenous Peoples and alcohol.
With the beer recipe in place, Nadine went on to connect with Kayla MacInnis, who brought in her dear friend Vanessa Prescott. Together, they came up with the name for the saison and further worked on the design of the label together.
Kayla MacInnis is a Métis artist and writer from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Through sharing stories that mix visual arts and the written word, Kayla hopes to inspire people to find different ways to connect with themselves and one another. Kayla finds happiness in the simple moments—morning cups of coffee, the endless prairie skies, and building connections within her community. Her work often embodies her deep appreciation for the land and sea.
Vanessa Prescott is a Métis Clinical Herbal Therapist, poet, and activist from Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia. Her life’s work involves working one on one with people to find deeper healing through the use of plant medicine. The love she has for her family and the wilderness is palpable. Vanessa is also the co-founder of Wild Greens Sovereignty, an Indigenous-owned business that aims to bridge the gap between accessibility and traditional plant medicine, bringing seasonal wild medicines into urban settings.
Nearly a decade ago, Kayla and Vanessa met working at a health food store on Commercial Drive. Right away, the two of them felt connected and later linked their family lines to the Red River Settlement. They both share a passion for the outdoors, extreme sports, storytelling, wellness, and social justice.
The label includes a message written by MacInnis and Prescott that explores the complicated relationship between Indigenous culture and alcohol:
“We will not allow the Indian Act or Indian agent to oppress us—healing the relationship with alcohol as salve begins with us. Our bloodline lived the havoc it can wreak—resilience did not come easy, so we cheers to the strength of our people; both those who partake and abstain.” – K.M. & V.P.
According to the artists’ statement: “For us, this project was a step we took together to heal the traumas in our family line and highlight the history, oppression, and stereotypes that Indigenous people have faced due to the Indian Act and colonization.”
As Plains Cree, Kayla and Vanessa were excited to hear that the first bison since 1876 was born on Wanuskewin land in Saskatchewan this year. They decided to incorporate the bison into their design, as they were essential to the Métis people’s way of life. Paskkwâwmostosak pê taksinak kâwiy (the bison have come back again).
“This label is an ode to our Cree-Métis heritage with every piece added with intention down to the snake earrings made by Cree-Métis artist Bronwyn Butterfield. The photo was taken on the unceded and ancestral lands of the Kwantlen, Musqueam, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt, and Kwikwetlem peoples.”