This week our Canada's Craft Beer post comes from our BC craft beer guy, Bryan Clegg. Today Bryan is here to help you find the right gift for the craft beer lover on your list. He scouted out the merchandise sections of many of his favourite local breweries, and reports back on what's available. How's that for making your life easer?
Gifting can be hard. What does that person on your list really want? What do they need? Where do you buy it? What size glass should you get for new parents? (Hint: probably the biggest you can find.) I can’t help you with all these questions, but if you have a beer lover on your list, that's something I can help with.
It turns out that breweries are a great place to pick up gifts. No, really! You can always snag a bottle of the latest limited release, but if you’re looking for something that’ll last longer, most breweries have a merch display filled with gear.
And that’s what my focus is today: brewery merch! Whether you’re buying for Christmas, a birthday, or even a housewarming, there’s a gift just waiting at your local brewery.
To make life easier on you, prospective gift-buyer, I’ve gone and scouted out some of my favourite local breweries to see what’s available. Check it out!
Callister isn’t one of the biggest names in BC brewing, but they may be one of the most important. Callister is a collaborative operation, basically a brewery incubator. Every year, they provide three one-year contract spaces to start-up brewing outfits, teams that don’t yet have the capital to run their own space. This innovative operation provided the initial space for two of BC craft brewing’s latest darlings: Superflux and Boombox (both have since moved on). Currently, Night Owl, MorningStar, and Real Cask are operating alongside Callister.
On one hand, it could be a merch goldmine, with four breweries operating out of the single space. But given the start-up situation, it actually means merch is rather limited, with t-shirts, growlers and soap as the only options.
Dageraad has a large, well organized merch space filled with shirts, glasses, growler carriers, and more. For me, this is one of the better places to buy glasses, as I’m a fan of the Belgian tulip style and the price is quite reasonable. The tasters are a definite win as well, as I love having a set of good quality taster glasses for hosting beer nights.
Four Winds Brewing
A selection of shirts, hats, glasses and mugs is available at Four Winds. Bonus points to Four Winds for being the only place I know of that sells a Spiegelau IPA Glass. Jointly developed by Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada, the Spiegelau is *the* glass to get. For the IPA lover on your list, this is a must.
Luppolo offers great beer, but not much in the way of merch right now: growlers (of course), an interesting wood growler carrier, and some soap.
Steel & Oak Brewing
Another one of the best merch selections around. Soap, bottle openers, glasses, shirts, hoodies … you name it. The funny thing about S&O is half their gear puts their own brand front and centre, while the other half puts New West front and centre. I kind of love how dedicated to the city they are.
There wasn’t too much at Storm Brewing — a rack of shirts with a couple toques. But I was pretty amused that they put out a new growler with their favourite Yelp review printed on it.
Strange Fellows Brewing
Strange Fellows has some of my favourite branding, and fortunately there’s a large merch section full of it! The labels and branding are done by designer Christine Moulson, who draws inspiration from “folkloric archetypes, Japanese ukiyo-e, and the awkwardness of medieval woodcut prints.” The style is unique and really stands out in a crowd.
Twin Sails Brewing
Yellow Dog Brewing
Another huge merch section — Yellow Dog offers hats, shirts, several different types of glasses, growler carriers, and much more. For the dog lover on your list, it's hard to go wrong with their gear.
Check out all our Canada’s Craft Beer articles.
Bryan Clegg is the beer columnist for VanFoodies.com. Bryan has a wide and accommodating palate; whether it’s a tasty low-IBU ale or a ride on the IBU train to Hop Country, he’s happy to drink and share a story about the ride. Follow @vanfoodies on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.