“It has been a very exciting ride. We are really lucky to have the team that we work with, and we get to make beers and create friendships and relationships with people. The craft beer community is awesome. It is very welcoming and there is a lot of changes ahead of us that we are very excited to be a part of it.”
If you are a craft beer fan, you must have visited Bridge Brewing before. Since they opened in 2012 as one of the first nano-breweries in Vancouver, they have been making high quality craft beer in their cosy tasting room on Charlotte Street on the North Shore. Not only that, they really care for the community, and strive to be a zero waste brewery.
VOICE (V): “How did your craft beer journey start?”
Leigh (L): “My husband, Jason, and I both grew up on the North Shore.
We moved to Alberta for corporate jobs for a while but what we were really longing to do was having a business that creates a product and that also brings people together. We have always loved drinking craft beers, and it was our dream to open a brewery together. Then, my husband came back home one day and said, let’s move back home to Vancouver, raise our family there, and let’s open a craft brewery. My first reaction was that it was the dumbest idea that I ever heard! Craft beer wasn’t much of a thing at the time and there weren’t any tasting rooms in BC. But, I still said let’s give it a go because I rather try and fail than not trying it at all.
We opened in July 2012 as a very small 930sq. foot brewery located at Dollarton Highway near The Crab Shop is. We started very small to be sustainable both environmentally and financially so that we can be here for a long time. We let the business grew organically, and we moved to the current location on Charlotte Street 2 years later.”
During the launch time, Leigh was having her second child, who was born 5 days before the opening on July 27th, 2012. ( 9 year anniversary coming up soon!) That was a part of the reasons why they built a business around being family friendly. They really wanted to create a family environment where you could bring your child to work if you had to, and be able to accommodate everybody and everybody was welcome.
V: “How would you describe Bridge Brewing’s personality?”
L: “I would say quality and innovation. We are being authentically local.
We try to source ingredients as locally as possible. Our hops are from the Pacific Northwest and our grains are from Western Canada, but sometimes we get hops internationally to change the flavour up.
We also brought a lot of new things to the craft beer industry in Vancouver. We were the first nano-brewery in the city, the 2nd brewery to sell growlers (behind Parallel 49), the first to do fruit and hard alcohol in a beer with our Bourbon Blood Orange, the first one to bring Northeast IPA to the West Coast, and also to introduce PrimeTime, which is the first low cal/low carb craft beer. We want to share our love for craft beer with everybody.
Being innovative and trying new things is our focus, and we have new beer that comes out every 2 weeks.”
Quality and innovation are not only 2 words to best describe Bridge Brewing. They are also good stewards of the environment and their facility is 99% waste-free.
V: “Tell us about your sustainable practices.”
L: “As a family, we compost and recycle everything so we don’t have a garbage at home. When we opened our brewery, we really wanted to have the same practices there. Brewing beer is very water intensive, not just for brewing but also for cleaning the facility. We wanted to make sure that we are doing something to counteract that, and that we are not adding anything to the landfill. This is something that I am very passionate about. At the brewery, we have no garbage bin, instead there are a lot of recycling bins. We always work with guests and educate them that garbage is not something that you can just throw away out of sight and it disappears. It is something that you should be responsible for until the end.
We also have a program where the plastic tops on beer cans, you can bring them back to us and we will give you 25 cents credit. We sanitize and reuse them. It is way better to reuse them because there is a lot of energy and water used during the recycling stream.”
Their passion for the environment reflects on their products as well. Their Rye Cycle beer has been made from unsold bread that was destined for landfill. It is a limited time brew and it has a great rich rye flavour to the beer. A partial proceeds of Rye Cycle goes to Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Now also available in small batch is Mustang Survival Session IPA. This is a collaboration beer with Mustang Survival, dedicating $2 from every 4-pack sold to Ocean Ambassadors Canada (OAC) – a local non-profit focused on marine environment education and cleaning up our oceans. (OAC is also VOICE’s partnered charity!)
V: “How is Bridge Brewing different from pre-pandemic time?”
L: “At the height of Covid-19, it was definitely a challenging time for us. Being closed for dine in 2 months was hard, but thankfully we were also in the manufacturing business of alcohol so we pivoted very quickly to home deliveries which we still do. We also opened Lonsdale Bridge Deck last March to offer people a new place to enjoy their favorite Bridge Brewing Beers with craft foods. It was the onset of the pandemic and we opened for only 4 days and had to close for 2 months. After the reopening, we brought back all of our staff, added the patio, and we partnered with Skip the Dishes for take out. Direct order and pick up through our online is also available, and that has kept our kitchen busy. Our staff has been really great throughout it as well. We are very grateful for our team and we really grew together as a team and worked hard on some of the tougher days together.”
V: “How do you find Vancouver’s craft beer community?”
L: “We are all friends. It is a great community, and we all step out and share when some other brewery needs assistance.”
The craft beer brewing in Vancouver has exploded in popularity in recent years, and each brewery has their own unique personality and story to tell. If you are looking for a great tasting craft beer that can also make you feel good about drinking, look no further. Bridge Brewing has been brewing beers for everyone and also brewing for a better Earth. They offer something more than just a tasty beer in our hands.
Leigh’s Favourite Bridge Beer: It is always changing, but at the moment, it is PrimeTime Tropical! It is a great summer beer, and it is refreshing with a benefit of being low cal/low carb yet full of craft beer flavour.