Kootenay craft beer, wine and distilled products now worth $13.2 million (+21%)

The Fernie Brewing Company continues to be at the top of the list with sales hitting just shy of $5 million

Outside of Golden's Whitetooth Brewery.

Golden's Whitetooth Brewery has seen impressive sales growth compared to the previous year. — Photo courtesy Whitetooth Brewing Co/Oxner Landscaping

Craft beer, estate wineries and craft distilleries continue to grow rapidly throughout the Kootenay/Columbia region. The sector is now worth over $13.2 million and has experienced an overall average increase of 21% year-over-year, beating last year's increase of 17%.

Once again, based on numbers from The British Columbia Liquor Control Board’s latest financial report ending March 2018, the craft beer, wine and spirits market is continuing to show impressive growth.

The runaway percentage increase leader is Golden’s Whitetooth Brewing Company with sales jumping from $123,717 to $542,033 in one year – an impressive 315% increase.

The Fernie Brewing Company continues to be at the top of the list with sales hitting just shy of $5 million, followed by the Nelson Brewing Co. at $3.1 million in sales. New on the list with an impressive debut is the Trail Beer Refinery with sales of $558,402. Nelson’s Backroads Brewery appears on the list with sales of $264,264. The list below compares four years of sales figures from 2015 to 2018.

Company Name Town 2015 2016 2017 2018 % change
Fernie Brewing Company Fernie $2,095,171 $2,959,377 $4,184,437 $4,797,560 +14%
Nelson Brewing Company Nelson $2,677,768 $2,834,665 $3,091,419 $3,136,493 same
Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.  Revelstoke $2,112,428  $2,377,512  $2,321,541  $2,695,392 +17%
Arrowhead Brewing Company Invermere $450,094 $584,490 $643,795 $604,681 -6%
Trail Beer Refinery (new) Trail N/A N/A N/A $558,402  
Whitetooth Brewing Company Ltd. Golden N/A N/A $123,717 $542,033 +315%
Torchlight Brewing Inc. (new) Nelson N/A N/A N/A $318,577  
Backroads Brewing Co. (new) Nelson N/A N/A N/A $264,264  
Overtime Beer Works Ltd.  Kimberley N/A N/A $112,838 $188,688 +73%
Baille-Grohman Estate Winery Creston  $73,914 $120,577 $148,130 $144,721 -6%

A number of distilleries have also popped up in the Kootenays as well including Taynton Bay Spirits in Invermere, Bohemian Spirits in Kimberley, Fernie Distillers and Lost Boys Distilling Company in Fernie, Monashee Spirits Distillery in Revelstoke, Kootenay Country Craft Distillery of the Slocan Valley and Burton City Cider of Burton – though at this point none of them appear to be selling directly to the BC Liquor Distribution Branch. In addition, there are a number of other wineries in the Kootenays including Columbia Gardens in Trail, SOAHC Estate Wines in Fruitvale, Skimmerhorn Winery in Creston, Wynnwood Cellars in Wynndel and Creston's newest vintner, Red Bird Winery. Other players in the craft beer industry in the Kootenays, not appearing on this list include: Fisher Peak Brewing Company in Cranbrook, Nelson’s Savoy Hotel and Kaslo’s Angry Hen Brewery.

The sales numbers reflect product sold directly to the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch. Many of these producers also sell directly from their tasting rooms and/or at venues like farmers markets and special events. The numbers do not reflect the company's merchandise and logo'ed apparel sales.

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