British Columbia

B.C. nanobrewery shuts its doors

The owner of an award-winning craft beer brewery in northwestern B.C. is closing up shop, saying he can't compete with larger breweries in the Lower Mainland.

An award-winning craft beer brewery in northwestern B.C. is closing its doors.

Last month, Plan B Brewery in Smithers was voted the best nanobrewery by Northwest Brewing News, beating out competitors in California, Washington and the rest of B.C.

Brewery owner Mark Gillis says due to the small scale of production and the limited size of the market, he can't afford to operate.

"You know the past four months have been some of my biggest sales months. I'm not closing the brewery down due to lack of sales," he said.

I can't feed my kids beer, so to I need to face realities and find a job that pays a bit more money than the brewing right now."

As a nanobrewery, Plan B only produced about 300 to 400 litres of beer at a time.

Nanobreweries are often defined by a less than 470 litre-brew system. (iStock)

Gillis says it's hard for small craft brewers outside the Lower Mainland to compete with larger breweries.

"Even if all the customers in Smithers were buying the beer, it's still not a big enough market here for the cost of beer, the cost of the ingredients, and then the taxes and the mark up that's paid to the government," he said.

"It just doesn't leave any money left."

Gillis sold his final bottle of beer on New Year's Eve, and plans to go back to working as a computer programmer.

But he's not ruling out a return to brewing at some point in the future.