Goose Island Brewing of Chicago have been slowly pushing into Canada since 2014. Things are about to change though as the brewery is now making a big push into Canada. As the brewery puts it they are Migrating into Canada with their Migration Week.
Two events were held in Vancouver for this occasion one being a smaller industry event that I attended and one being more public that I couldn’t. Goose Island Beer Co may be owned by AB-InBev but don’t let that push you away from the brewery as they are still making great beer and i don’t see that changing. Some of their core brands are not longer made in house if they were easily scaled up but things like Matilda, Sophie and the Bourbon Country lines are still brewed on site at the brewery in Chicago. The Chicago brewery is still massive with a 60HL brewhouse with more production volume than local breweries Central City Brewers & Distillers or Parallel 49 Brewing.
Seeing as Vancouver is one of the biggest Craft Beer markets in Canada Goose Island Beer Co brought their Migration Week to the city. Only Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal had events in Canada this year. The brewery brought with it one of their Chicago brewers and some of their educators to help spread the word about their beer and inform about their brand. They brought along a selection of beers including Matilda, Sofie, Goose IPA, Honkers Ale, Bourbon County Brand Stout and Autumn Ale. To say the people attending this event were excited to find Bourbon County Brand Stout on tap would be an understatement as this is a very highly sought after beer! Each beer had a food pairing created by the chefs at Wildebeest and all tasted amazing together! From the impression given they look to be pushing much if not all of their beer into Canada in the future. Bourbon Country with an alcohol content of between 14% and 15% will take a little more work for them as our tax laws do not consider this a beer but fear not as beers of 18%+ have been or are for sale in British Columbia.
When big American Breweries push their way into Vancouver, BC and Canada it just reinforces what a growth market Craft Beer is in Canada. We may be small in numbers but we sure are thirsty! Goose Island Beer Co’s push into Canada should be exciting to both the casual craft fan and the uber geek alike! Cheers to more great beer spreading to all reaches of North America! I look forward to seeing what they have in store for us next.
Check out BeerMeBC’s for another perspective on the event.