Tapping into Victoria’s beer culture has become a little easier.
The Craft Beer Map is now in circulation, giving tourists and locals alike a guide to taphouses, breweries and brewpubs in the region. Information on tours is also provided.
The map was created by Joe Wiebe, co-founder of Victoria Beer Week and author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries. The Downtown Victoria Business Association and Tourism Victoria are partners in the effort.
Wiebe said the map has the five breweries and four brewpubs located in Victoria and Esquimalt, as well as Four Mile Brewing in View Royal, Category 12 Brewing in Central Saanich and Langford’s Loghouse Pub, which is in the process of adding brewing capacity.
The map also includes Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, and lists details on such places as Tugwell Creek Meadery and Merridale Ciderworks.
Wiebe said the map’s reference to taphouses refers to places that focus on having a wide variety of beer, including beer from all over the province and beyond.
“We couldn’t include every single pub in the city — it wouldn’t have fit in the format — so we decided to focus on taphouses.”
Wiebe said the map is likely a first for the city.
“As far as I know, there hasn’t been a map like this produced before, in Victoria, at least. So in that sense, it’s very comprehensive and covers the gamut for visitors, especially, who are coming to town and might be interested in finding out more about the scene.”
The map is available at the establishments it highlights, as well as spots frequented by tourists. “We printed 25,000 copies and the majority of those actually went out to tourism racks and brochure racks on the ferries, and things like that,” Wiebe said, adding that an app is a future possibility.
Paul Hadfield of Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub said the map has come at an opportune time.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “Clearly what’s happening is that beer tourism is becoming a significant factor in how people make decisions about where they’re travelling and what they’re going to do when they get there.
“Craft beer is just so on fire in our neighbouring states that to not make it really easy for people to find out where to go to get beer is a lost opportunity.”
A section on craft beer, cider and spirits, including a reference to the new map, has recently been added to Tourism Victoria’s website.
Wiebe has taken to calling Victoria the province’s “craft beer capital,” explaining that it has been the leader of B.C.’s craft-beer revolution. He said craft beer is a specific type of product.
“It has to do with the local connection as well as the size — you can’t be too big. But really, it all has to do with the quality of the product itself.”
He said he likens a craft brewer to a chef striving to make a quality meal.
While the region has its share of craft-beer options, Wiebe said there is still room to grow.
“I think we’re still going strong,” he said. “There’s lots of new markets certainly in the smaller communities.”