On The Wild Side With: Sons of Vancouver Distillery

How did Sons of Vancouver begin? Where did the inspiration for the business as a whole come from and how was your name developed?

Richard Klaus and Myself are the Owners of Sons of Vancouver. We previously bartended and as a hobby, brewed beer together. Over time we found ourselves drinking and making delicious beer but serving the same cocktails over and over. We saw the opportunity in its infancy and jumped on it. Sons of Vancouver is a name we felt would travel well and was something cool we could get behind.

In your opinion, what are the differences in artisanal distilleries versus larger scale distilleries?*

Innovation. Rarely do you see a large distillery release a new product that isn’t just an ‘Apple’ or ‘Cinnamon’ variant of its current product line. Large distilleries are stuck in the same process for many reasons, but it mainly comes down to the people making the products are not the ones dreaming them up.

How was your distillery school brought to life? How has what is offered developed, and where do you see it going in the future?

We had enough people asking us how we got started and if they could come in and train with us. Additionally it was selfish – I want to see a lot more variety in spirits out of BC so we push people to branch out from Vodkas.

What process do you go through to pair the names of your spirits with label designs?

The hardest part is knowing what you want a product to taste like before you start out making it. From there we have a list of cool names, some of them may never see the light of day, and we try to pair them with the product and build a brand and market off that.

Why is it important for you to have free samples in your tasting room? What can customers expect when they visit?

Free samples are such a small thing but its important because its approachable to everyone. We could charge for samples, but it’s the little things that make an experience memorable and make a customer want to come back again with a friend.

Is there anything about your company or products that you would want customers to know?

I would like to say that there are only three of us that work in the company and if you run into us at a farmers market don’t hesitate to chat us up. Everyone who you see at the markets works in the distillery and we are full of cocktail ideas. Additionally, Richard is an incredible dancer and you can find him every Thursday at the German Club on Victoria and 33rd dancing up a storm.

Getting To Know: Mariner Brewing

(Courtesy of Mariner Brewing)

For Mariner Brewing co-founder Lauren Ang, craft beer is about exploring different flavours and trying new things.

Our mottos embody this sense of exploration and adventure. We had a concept of what we wanted our brewery to represent before we eventually came up with our name.

Inspired by both traditional ship navigators and a number of NASA space probes in the 1960’s, Lauren says incorporating stars and constellations into their logo seemed like the perfect fit.

Traditionally a Mariner is someone who navigates a ship; in the past, we used stars as a mariner’s point of reference for navigation. Mariner was also the name of a number of space probes in the 60’s that NASA sent to explore uncharted territory in space.

Lauren says the freshness of their ingredients, leads their beer to be inspired by the time of year. Drawing on everything they see smell and taste, these co-founders are inspired by everything around them.

(Courtesy of Mariner Brewing)

Berry season is upon us and we recently released a blueberry sour that used 1,000 lbs of Fraser Valley blueberries per batch. Several of our beer rotate depending on the season. This is our favourite part about being a small local brewery; we can regularly experiment with different flavours.

Partnering with the Glasfurd & Walker design team, Lauren says can designs evolve from discussions around key words, colours and eventually a description.

Our brewer and design team have a lot of conversations about the taste, look, and feel of each beer, as well as the ingredients, history, and inspiration for the beer. We’re very lucky to work with the amazing Glasfurd & Walker design team on our can labels and are always impressed with their work.

Mariner Brewing locally sources their variety of supplies, including hops, as much as they can. Lauren says they are lucky to live in a region that is good for growing hops but that they sometimes like to include special varieties.

(Courtesy of Mariner Brewing)

We are constantly impressed by the variety our local farmers are producing each year. Some special varieties of hops are only available in Germany and Oregon and we like to include some of them to have a wide range of flavours in our beers.

Mariner Brewing has more than just beer when you stop by their brewing house. Along with exploring new flavours of beer make sure you leave room for food. Most is made in house by a fantastic kitchen staff, including their Sunday brunch, served from 11 am – 3 pm. What isn’t made in house is supplied by other local businesses such as Pasta Pollo and Creekside Coffee Factory.

We also have a dog friendly Beer Garden open 4pm to dusk during the week and all day on weekends. Every Thursday we do something called and Exploratory which is a one off keg of a new beer style, this helps up figure out what types of beer people get the most excited about. So far our Strawberry Weisse has been our most popular Exploratory Batch.

With big plans for new seasonal brews, variations on old favourites and ever developing their food and beer lineup in the tasting room, be sure to keep an eye out for what’s next for Mariner Brewing!

Right now the only thing holding us back is the amount of beer we can produce and we’re expanding and adding equipment to increase that. Like the name Mariner implies, we’re never standing still. Look out for what beer and food is next!

Getting To Know: Royal City Donuts

(Courtesy of Royal City Donuts)

Calling all donut lovers! The much anticipated, Royal City Donuts will be participating in the Coquitlam Farmers Market this season. But before digging in, here’s some more information about who they are and what their products are all about.

Jonathan and his wife, along with their team of fellow donut lovers want customers to experience the balance of unique ingredients that are put into each batch of their donuts.

I want them [customers] to think they are getting more than they expected in terms of flavour and quality.

Royal City Donuts has strived to bring a European style treat, made by hand with care and quality ingredients into the local market. With an expanding team and an eye for food trends, we can expect new things from the company.

My wife has contributed greatly, and now with two members joining the team we are starting to forecast a month in advance with ideas to play with. The trends in the food scene are also very influential with sweet and savoury being so predominant.

(Courtesy of Royal City Donuts)

Continuously forecasting a month in advance, Jonathan says himself and his team are always mindful to balance new blends of interesting flavours while still maintaining the integrity of the donut.

Once you do a few markets or pop ups in the same place you want to keep things interesting and give people a reason to check you out again and again.

With excitement building around the company, Jonathan says Royal City Donuts will concentrate on summer markets for now, but talks about what’s next for the company are already in the works.

We would love to have our own, industrial space where we can do higher production for breweries, coffee shops, corporate and large scale orders while having a small store front where people can get their fix.

Royal City Donuts already has a supply partnership with Hive Cafe in New Westminster and customers can expect continued creativity with their donuts.