Canada’s oldest brewpub Spinnakers says cheers to 35 years

Canada’s oldest brewpub Spinnakers says cheers to 35 years

Father’s Day is the perfect day for a pint. But for Victoria’s Spinnakers Brewpub, this Father’s Day is extra special.

“It’s been just a ridiculously fortunate opportunity for us to have been here at the renaissance of craft beer,” says owner Paul Hadfield.

The first pint was poured at Spinnakers — Canada’s oldest brewpub — 35 years ago today, about two decades before the craft beer trend started to take off.

“When we opened you could count all of the craft breweries in all of North America on two hands and today there are more than 7,300 in the States and 2,500 more in the works and there’s about 1,500 in Canada,” says Hadfield.

Thirsting for a better-brewed ale, Hadfield had to lobby to change legislation.

And that wasn’t the only big challenge this brewpub’s faced.

In November of 2016, a raging fire broke out in a fireplace.

Within minutes, smoke and flames are billowing out the roof as firefighters battle to save the building.

The damage was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars but Hadfield kept all staff on payroll and re-opened part of the pub just nine days later.

Spinnakers brewed a special beer dedicated to the firefighters as a thank you. Now they’re doing it again, with a special CHEK pilsner.

It celebrates 10 years of employee ownership, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity.

“For quite a while I’ve wanted to make a pilsner so the opportunity to make a CHEK pils was just a no-brainer!” says a smiling Hadfield.

Spinnakers is now brewing an even brighter future — expanding into spirits.

“It’s more exciting today that it’s ever been,” Hadfield says. “The opportunities in front of us are only limited by imagination.”

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