While I was in Penticton last weekend I heard that there were a few Brews Brothers collaboration packs left at only one of the local liquor stores so on the way out of town I stopped in to grab one. Naturally, this box got me thinking about collaboration and how it seems to define the brewing industry.
I walked into the cold room of this liquor store and grabbed one of only six remaining cases. As I queued up to pay for it, the remaining cases were snatched up by other patrons, the last one was grabbed by the person directly in front of me. I knew these things were popular but even I was surprised.
I’ve spoken to a number of people about this topic and how it relates to the industry in BC and one thing that comes across most of all is a spirit of ‘getting there together’.
It seems rather poignant to me that the Brews Brothers is put out by one of the local breweries that helped launch the craft beer resurgance here in BC. I don’t mean to say that Parallel 49 are solely responsible for that resurgence, but they certainly helped popularize well-made craft beer to a wider audience and deserve credit for that at least. Now they hold a significant share of the market and produce a properly large volume of beer. You would think that such a company would rather crush their competition than collaborate with them, and yet this collaborative case of beer is only one of many visible examples of this attitude of cooperation we see on a daily basis in our industry.
Sure, the 12 pack is brewed at the P49 brewery and is prominently labelled with their own logo, but the beer inside was created by both breweries listed on the bottle, not just the one that owns the SKU.
More and more we are seeing this between other local breweries as well – albeit on a smaller scale. Brassneck and Dageraad are releasing a bottle conditioned beer (hopefully) very soon. Doans from Vancouver and Ravens out of Abbotsford are working together on something sure to be delicious. Powell Street and Fuggles and Warlock recently had their Hikari Sour collab. These products are everywhere and it reinforces the idea that by working together we make better beer; beer that is greater than the sum of its parts.
While no one needs me to belabour the point, I think we would do well to help our brewers by celebrating these moments of cooperation and collaboration. So many industries appear to be characterized by a level of distrust of their competition so it is entirely refreshing to see breweries helping one another and working together to make the industry as a whole that much better.