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John Folinsbee, head brewer and Co-founder of Backcountry brewing.

John Folinsbee, head brewer and Co-founder of Backcountry brewing.

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you and what is your background? Your job and current title?

John Folinsbee, former professional poker player now head brewer and co-founder of Backcountry brewing. 

In what city?

Squamish, BC 

A word to define what type of worker you are:


Where does your interest in microbrewery come from?

While exploring the pub culture in London with In-laws I discovered cask conditioned ales, I loved the uniqueness of the cask and the atmosphere felt like home. 

What makes your beer unique? Why?

We try to push the boundaries of flavor within each style category, experimenting with different ingredients and techniques. We have been concentrating on New England style IPA’s and Pale Ale’s as well as fruited sours and coffee conditioned dark beers in winter. 

What is the size of the brewery (number of barrels per year, etc.)?

This current year 2019 we are aiming for 6000 HL.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software)?

The leatherman is on me at all times for brewing and my smartwatch keeps my family life intact! 

What does your office space look like?

A bit of a mess honestly… priorities!

Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work?

Usually yes, but we’re usually more like a fire department putting out fires…

Any “tips” to improve productivity?

Never stop thinking about beer… dream about it if you can. 

Can you give us a tour of your local craft beer brewery scene?

Squamish has only 21k residents and we now have a recent explosion of 6 craft breweries and cideries, up from a previous total of a single brewery only 3 years ago. So yes the scene has exploded!

How do you control the growth of your microbrewery?

We try to make sure the infrastructure is in place well in advance of any growth, this takes careful planning, this is something we learned after we opened. 

What is your strategy for making your beer known? (tastings, festival, etc.) Why this strategy?

Instagram is king! We create fun and creative content that is engaging and also being a big part of our local community has been great to get the word of mouth going. We also started a beer club for our regulars to get deals on beer and access to events. 

About design, what does your brand represent/reflect?  how was it designed? By who?

We are in a small mountain town on the west coast that is known as the outdoor recreation capital of Canada so we embody that spirit. There is a nod to the old school with our oil lantern logo and poems written on each can that takes you back to the early days of mountaineering. We also have a modern aesthetic with a simple clean can design and great artwork done by Hired Guns Creative. 

What inspires you and motivates you to go to work every day?

#1 Making beers fun, keep improving quality, and working with a kick-ass team always helps. 

What are your end and start routines?

I start by looking at the sales report to see what beer is selling best. Then I make a to-do list for the day and go till I drop… 

What were your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?

People Problems of all sorts….

What advice would you give someone who wants to start a brewery?

Don’t go in blind, get industry experience first.

Any new projects coming soon? 

We are doing a collaboration with legendary outerwear brand Arc’Teryx, creating a beer for their “Climbing Academy” a 3 day festival in Squamish August 22-24th. 

At the end of the day, what kind of beer do you drink to relax?

Each day is a different mood and associated beer style but Pilsner is my go to.  |