Way back in April, I posted about a new craft brewery coming to East Vancouver. Now, after months of red tape and renovations, Powell Street Craft Brewery is set to open this Saturday! I caught up with owner/brewer David Bowket again to find out more:
I'd describe a nano-brewery as a brewery that runs a system that is less than 4.5hl (450L) in size; that's the equivalent of about 9 standard size kegs or about 690 bomber bottles per batch. I decided to go the nano route mainly because the shift from home-brewing to nano-brewing isn't that far off on the whole brewing scale. Also, after a lot of research into different size systems I realized that going the nano route made much more economical sense from a start-up point of view. Depending on the size of the nano system, prices can range from 5-20 times less than a micro-brew system. The final reasons for choosing the nano route over the micro route are that I could easily manage the system on my own, and the small batch sizes will allow me to experiment more freely without much risk.
You've successfully made the transition from home brewing to opening a brewery - congrats! What are some of the biggest challenges you ran into? Any advice for someone hoping to do the same?
Well... thank you! It's been a fun, challenging, and sometimes stressful journey. For me the biggest challenge was getting use to waiting for things to happen. By nature I like things to happen right away, but when you're opening a brewery there are a lot of approvals that need to happen and that means a lot of waiting. Spending money - that seemed to be the easiest thing haha! All kidding aside, one of the easiest and most wonderful things that occurred was the amount of support we gained from the local community (both beer and general public). In terms of advice, I'd say, plan, plan, plan, and then get the right people on board early in the process.
For your soft launch on Dec 15, you're offering up a pale ale and a porter. Can you tell me a bit about the beers?
Sure, our "Old Jalopy Pale Ale" is a a twist on a traditional English Pale Ale. We combined Caramel and English Pale malts with the floral, citrus, and grapefruit notes of the North American hops to give the ale a very distinct sensory profile. Our "Dive Bomb Porter" is actual a Brown Porter with a slight upfront hop bitterness and a nice roasted malt character with hints of caramel, toffee, chocolate, and nuts. I really like both of our beers and I hope you will too.
What's your next brew going to be?
Next on the list is our third start-up brew "Hopdemonium IPA". I'll be brewing it on Sunday, so for anyone coming down, be sure to pop your head in around back and say hi.
Are you brewing solo / full-time?
For now, I'm brewing solo and part-time. However, I can't take all the credit - my wife Nicole is helping out tremendously. She's taking take of the sales & marketing and will also be the friendly face in our retail store/tasting room. For any of our future regulars, you will get to know her well. As for myself, I'll be there on the weekends and evenings taking care of the brew-house operations, during the week I'll continue working my day job.
Will we be able to get your beer on tap around town or in bottles?
Yes, we'll have our beer on tap at various locations. We're just sorting those details and we'll let everyone know as soon as they're concrete.
Are you offering growler fills or tastings?
We are indeed offering growler fills and tastings. We have the regular 2L Growlers in addition to some nice 1L Boston Rounds. The retail store/tasting room is quite small but we do have a small bar which will have 4-5 stools - if you don't mind standing that might be your best bet. We'll also be selling our bombers.
What's the story behind the gallery wall - will you be featuring different artists?
The gallery wall came about because both Nicole and I have a true appreciation for art and we wanted to give a forum to local artists to display and sell their art. The gallery wall will host a selection of art from various local artists for a month at a time. All sales will go 100% back to the artist. We'll be putting out another submission call very soon for the next gallery wall showing; the response to the first call was overwhelming.
Thanks David! Make sure to head down to Powell Street Craft Brewery at 1830 Powell Street this Saturday (Dec. 15) from 1-7pm to check out the space, try out their first two brews and give David and Nicole a high-five. After Saturday's event, they'll be open Dec 16-22 from 2-8pm, and starting on Dec 23 they'll be open permanently: Wednesday-Saturday from 2-8pm. For more info, follow PST Brewery on Facebook or Twitter.