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Simon Fraser University archives B.C.’s extensive beer history

Click to play video: 'SFU archives has amassed one of most extensive collections on B.C.’s beer history'
SFU archives has amassed one of most extensive collections on B.C.’s beer history
As Jay Durant reports in This is BC, the collection reveals an industry that spans more than 160 years. – Nov 6, 2022

Simon Fraser University’s archives have amassed an extensive collection related to B.C. beer’s history.

Researchers have uncovered information about the industry spanning more than 160 years.

“We have bottles, coasters, documents, architectural designs and labels,” said Melanie Hardbattle, an SFU Archives employee.

In just over a year, the archived history has grown to include files and photos dating back to the origins of B.C.’s beer history, including independent brewers that opened shop in the 19th century. Two-hundred-and-thirty breweries have since opened up shops across the province.

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“You realize the breadth of the history of brewing in B.C. when you see how many breweries there were up north and in the Interior, in Vancouver and Vancouver Island,” said Richard Danc, with SFU Archives.

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Much of the collection chronicles the renaissance period over the past 40 years that started with John Mitchell, who’s credited as the first craft brewer in Canada.

He opened Horseshoe Bay Brewing in 1982, with the aim of offering better quality to his customers.

“He was an English expat and did not want to serve poor beer to people coming from around the world for Expo 86, so that was his goal,” said Dave Smith, an editor at What’s Brewing Magazine.

SFU Archives has the goal of trying to uncover everything researchers can to map the history of beer within the province.

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