Who are you and your current job?
I am Ben Coli, owner and head brewer of Dageraad Brewing.
What was the inspiration behind your brewery?
Years ago while traveling in Asia I met some people from Antwerp, Belgium. I visited them several times and ended up spending quite a bit of time in Belgium. I fell in love with Belgian beer and wished we had a beer like that at home in Canada, so I started Dageraad Brewing. We are a Belgian-style specialty brewery; we don’t try to replicate beers from Belgium, but everything we make is Belgian in spirit, and we bottle condition everything we make. The brewery is named after the Dageraadplaats, a neighborhood square in Antwerp. The name means “sunrise” in Flemish.
Can you give us a tour of your beer scene?
The beer scene in British Columbia in general and Vancouver, in particular, is exploding at the moment. There are now over 130 breweries in the province, with 20 to 30 new breweries opening every year. The exciting thing to me about our beer scene is the diversity of the beers our breweries are producing. We’re not only producing IPAs (although we’re making quite a few of those, too). Breweries here are putting out all kinds of weird, creative stuff with mixed-fermentation and all kinds of crazy ingredients. And our local drinkers are drinking it up and really giving us room to innovate.
Another cool aspect of our local beer culture is how popular brewery tasting rooms have become. Some regulatory changes came in a few years ago, allowing breweries to sell beer both for takeaway and consumption on-premise, and breweries have popped up everywhere and become community hubs. People rally around their neighborhood brewery and go on trips to other parts of town to go tasting room hopping.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?
I don’t really have general advice for people opening a brewery. There are too many different business models for one-size-fits-all advice. Know your market. Quality counts.