This summer, The 101 Brewhouse and Distillery, opened in Gibsons — the third brewery to do so.
That means that the Sunshine Coast town, population 4,605, almost certainly has the most breweries per capita in B.C.
“There’s a strong culture of camaraderie and partnership among local breweries as opposed to an overarching sense of competition,” says Dion Whyte, general manager at Persephone.
“For the most part, we are all far more focused on moving people away from big beer to craft beer and in that sense there’s more than enough pie to go around.”
Whyte says that because of Gibsons’ size there will likely be some competition for business, but each brewery is unique enough to retain its own distinctive draw for customers.
From Persephone’s taproom located in a red barn on a beautiful small farm to the hip city-inspired vibe of Gibsons Tapworks and The 101’s family friendly pub-style space, there’s an atmosphere (and a beer) to match any craft beer fan’s taste.
“We always wanted The 101 to be a place for everyone,” says Matt Smith, brewer at Gibsons’ newcomer.
“I like being able to bring my daughter in and we can have a meal as a family. I also like our big tables where people can find themselves sitting next to a total stranger, and maybe strike up a conversation.”
Crowd favourites at The 101 are the Mahon Trail Blonde Ale and Tall Faller IPA, Smith says.
The fact that Gibsons is seeing this craft beer boom can largely be linked to its changing community.
“Our community demographic is shifting — even if just slowly — toward more young adults and families who have grown up in the era of micro-brewed beer and craft beer,” says Whyte. “And they are actively partaking, if not thoroughly engaging, in craft beer culture.”
Geoff Gornall from Gibsons Tapworks agrees that the growth in the number of younger people has contributed to the craft beer boom in Gibsons.
“The Sunshine Coast is growing like crazy with more and more young people looking to fill their evenings and weekends,” says Gornall. “What better way to spend it than meeting up with friends and sampling high quality craft beer at a number of different places?”
As is clear throughout the craft beer industry, the abundance of breweries doesn’t mean there is animosity or competition between them.
“We are all very different from one another and more complementary than competitive,” says Gornall.
“It’s a super collaborative and supportive environment. We feel fortunate to be part of a burgeoning community with so many great people involved.”