Ten years ago, the Central City Brew Pub opened up in downtown Surrey. Their award-winning Red Racer beer proved so popular, they started a canning line in 2005 to sell their beer throughout B.C., and beyond.
Now the brewery is expanding in size and product offerings: Central City Brewers and Distillers officially opens a massive new facility with a public grand opening on Friday, Nov. 29 in the North Surrey Bridgeview industrial area.
The 65,000 sq. ft. facility houses a full production line for beer and spirits, as well as a tasting room and retail store.
Founder and president Darryll Frost says the state-of-the-art building, which includes a number of environmentally-conscious features, was built in partnership with the Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC).
"We wanted a beautiful building that highlights the craft movement. We found a union between the City of Surrey and ourselves where we both won. We got a beautiful building and they got a wonderful amenity for their city."
Central City Brewers and Distillers leases the building, which sits on five acres city land just off the Pattullo Bridge, from the City of Surrey.
'We've come a long way'
Inside the sleek glass and concrete building, CBC News found brewmaster Gary Lohin surrounded by copper stills and stainless steel tanks imported from Germany.
Lohin says he can brew up to 25,000 hectolitres, or 2.5 million litres, of beer per year — up from 7,500 hectolitres at the original location near the Surrey Central SkyTrain Station. Production could expand up to 100,000 hectolitres within a few years.
Lohin, who is the original brewmaster for the company, says it's exciting to work in the new plant.
"We've come a long way from manually turning cranks at our brew pub to having valves actuated by air... but it's all just relative. The actual process is exactly the same. We're just using a larger vessel," he said.
At the new brewery and distillery, visitors can take guided tours of the plant, as well as visit the tasting room and retail store. Lohin hopes the location will become a destination for fans of craft beer — an industry he says keeps on growing.
"The craft beer industry is exploding. I think [there are] at least 20 [new] breweries in B.C. this year. So we're creating jobs for the B.C. market, we're injecting capital, and the money is staying right here in B.C."