It’s been a heck of a few months as COVID-19 brought disruption across much of our daily life. However, it’s also given us the opportunity to rediscover our own backyards, communities, and incredible surroundings. While many things haven’t been easy since the public health emergency began, it’s been inspiring to see family and friends, neighbours and colleagues, and industries of all sorts get creative and prioritize connecting and helping one another.

The craft beer movement in BC has always embodied that sense of community and camaraderie and, even in these surreal times when so much has changed so quickly, it’s still been an industry that brings joy — and not just because of the beer. Some brewers have released beers with proceeds going to good causes. Others have shifted to produce hand sanitizer or have offered use of their equipment to help sanitize masks for healthcare workers. Many have adapted to the new lay of the land with delivery and pickup options to still serve customers great beer (and other goodies too!).

Whistle Buoy Brewing on the BC Ale Trail.
Beer, coffee, and doughnut delivery from Whistle Buoy and friends in Victoria.

As more breweries begin reopening their doors to dine-in customers, some are also offering other ways to buy their beer and support their business — and the great news is that it’s in pandemic-proof ways!

Craft Breweries at BC Farmers’ Markets

One of the great ways to support your local community, while also picking up fresh local produce, goods, and beer, is at a BC Farmers’ Market. Markets are held around the province, often on a weekly basis, and bring together local vendors with customers in outdoor spaces that make for safe social distancing. In this time when supporting our local businesses and organizations is more critical than ever, a visit to a local farmers’ market can really make a difference to your local community. 

Sunshine Coast

Some of our wonderful farm-based craft breweries in BC are even hosting markets themselves. Persephone Brewing on the Sunshine Coast, for example, is hosting the Gibsons Farmers’ Market on the beer farm every Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, starting on June 7th! Come get some beer and other locally produced goods this sunshine-y season.

Thompson Okanagan

Crannóg Ales is selling beer and goods from their farm at a number of farmers’ markets in their local communities. Find them at the All Organic Farmers’ Market in Salmon Arm on Wednesdays, the Enderby Farmers’ Market on Fridays, and the Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market on Saturdays this summer.

Crannog Ales on the BC Ale Trail
Crannóg Ales sells fresh, organic beer and farm goods at a few community markets (as this photo from 2019 shows). This year will be a little different with the addition of masks, gloves, and other safety measures to keep staff and customers safe.

A guiding principle in much of the craft beer sector is that community-focused and sustainable approach to production. That’s why so many of BC’s breweries and brewpubs make an effort to source their ingredients for the beer and food they serve as close to home as possible. While they won’t be at a farmers’ market in the Thompson Okanagan region, the Noble Pig Brewhouse purchases ingredients from local farmers for their kitchen. Having a meal and a beer here is another easy way to support the local community and farmers in the area.

Last year’s spread. (Please note that sampling of products won’t be available until the public health officer says it is safe to do so.)

Crannóg Ales and the Noble Pig Brewhouse can be found on the Kamloops, Shuswap and Vernon Ale Trail.

Victoria

Lighthouse Brewing can be found every other week at the Esquimalt Farmers Market this summer too! The market is open every Thursday from 4:30pm to 7:30pm and is being held outside in Bullen Park this year, behind the Esquimalt Rec Centre. Check the week’s full vendor schedule to see who will be in attendance and place an order online for quicker pick-up or delivery options.

The Fraser Valley and Vancouver regions

With much of the population of the province concentrated in these regions, there are plenty of community farmers’ markets to visit around the Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver, and the City of Vancouver itself. Here are a few more that will be hosting breweries this summer:

As the public health emergency continues to evolve, find a market close to home and reconnect with a community-based supply chain for fresh produce, fruit, craft beer, and other locally grown and made products.

Parks and patios opening

As of June 1st, many of our national and provincial parks are reopening to the public for hikes, activities, and overnight camping. Physical distancing measures are in place, and there will be reduced access to some facilities or services. Make sure you “know before you go” — check the latest information on BC Parks to find out what to expect and what you should bring with you before heading out to a park.

This summer, camping in BC will be reserved to residents only so it’s the perfect time to revisit an old favourite spot or discover a brand new outdoor location that’s close to home. (And yes, enjoying a craft beer around the fire pit at a designated camping site is allowed.)

Patios are also getting special expanded licensing this year, allowing breweries to extend their space (while not extending their capacity). This will help them create more physically distant spaces to ensure staff and patrons can stay safe.

Explore your own backyard and support local businesses

This pandemic has made it clear that we need to be more mindful of our relationship to food, beer, and the other things we consume on a regular basis. As more breweries and businesses begin to reopen with new policies in place, shop local whenever possible and help keep our communities thriving. 

Explore BC locally and support your community by going to a BC farmers’ market this summer. Keep an eye out for some of BC’s wonderful craft breweries too!

With so much to choose from in terms of fresh produce, quality craft beer, and natural beauty, enjoy what your backyard in BC has to offer this summer.


Know Before You Go

For more information about travelling within British Columbia, please check out this page.

 

For more information about COVID-19, please consult government resources.

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