Central City opens new brewery and distillery
– by Katelyn Maki
On Nov 29, Central City Brewers and Distillers (CCBD) will host a public grand opening for their new multi-million dollar facility at 11411 Bridgeview Drive in Surrey. The brewery is putting an emphasis on experimenting with new ideas.
The front double doors lead straight into a circular liquor store, with a robotic statue in the centre. Upon arrival to the facility, one can’t escape the beautiful architecture and décor. Off to the right is a small pub, where anyone can sample their beer in-house. To the left, their Red Racer memorabilia is sold along with their craft beer. A large glass window sits so every customer can view their shiny new brewery. Their signature Red Racer symbol, a red haired girl riding a bike, is visible from every direction.
CCBD originally started as a brewpub and liquor store in downtown Surrey in 2003. Two years later they launched a canning line, and in 2009 the brewery reached full capacity. Since then CCBD has won several awards for their Red Racer brand, such as Best Brewpub in BC by CAMRA in 2012/13, and was voted Canada’s Brewery of the year 2012 and 2010.
Their newest facility is a definitive upgrade from their old one; at a whopping 65,000 sq. ft. the brewery is home to state-of-the-art German equipment. The facility will increase its brewing capacity from 7,500 hL to 25,000 hL per year, and could get as high as 100,000 hL in a few years. In simpler terms, that’s a lot more Red Racer.
The company also plans on widening their product line to include gin, vodka, rye, and single malt whiskeys, and some are already in effect. Baby barrels of whiskey are present in the back of their facility, but will take a minimum of three years to prepare. But the brewery wants to experiment with craft beer as well.
“We want to offer more styles so people understand what different ranges of beer there can be,” said Garry Lohin, brewmaster for CCBD, while giving a tour of the facility at a media sneak peak.
“A lot of customers think that Budweiser, Molson, and Labatt Blue are all beer, but they don’t understand how many different styles of beer there are. So we want to expose them to that.”
Lohin went into the ideas he has for future products, such as gin, vodka, whiskey and session ale. He explained that session ale is lower in alcohol percentage, around three-to-four. He emphasized that consumers can enjoy a couple of beers as opposed to one strong beer, and not be so worried about driving.
Lohin also splurged on details of what he calls a “‘vertical tasting kit” they hope to release soon.
“Let’s say we have a beer from 2013, 2014, and 2015. Then we decide to release them so consumers can taste what that beer would be like three, two, and one year old.”
The company wants to put a strong emphasis on their location. “We want to make something that’s very unique that comes out of BC.”
CCBD’s newest beer to be released is a 10th anniversary edition, and will be available Friday at their public opening.