It’s no secret that Squamish has earned a reputation for adventure. But you might be surprised to learn it’s also gaining a reputation for producing excellent handcrafted beverages made by world-class brewers.
From locally made craft beer, spirits, and mead, to artisan cider and wine, whether you’re rewarding yourself after a day of adventure or embracing the opportunity to sip a boutique beverage against a breathtaking backdrop, Squamish has it.
Well-established craft brewers such as Howe Sound Brewing, A-Frame Brewing, and Backcountry Brewing and cocktail lounge Gillespie’s Fine Spirits, all already have an avid fan base in this formerly small and sleepy logging town that is now home to approximately 20,000 residents, according to Statistics Canada’s latest count, and hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.
Cider and wine though are so new to town the ink has barely dried on the map.
The soon to open Cliffside Cider on Second Ave. is located in the funky artisan downtown south part of Squamish locals call – “Ted Town” after municipal councillor Ted Prior who owns a lot of property in that area.
The cidery resulted from a collaboration of like-minded locals who shared the vision of creating great-tasting ciders with “honest” flavours, in a space with a community feel, explained partner and managing director, Rob Weys.
“We will be making seven or eight different ciders including a dry apple cider, a dessert cider, a pear cider (also called Perry), and ciders using different regional BC fruits,” Weys said.
Scheduled to open any day now, Cliffside will offer a tasting lounge and daily tours, as well as the chance to meet co-owner and cider maker, Tom Hackett.
If you’re looking for an alternative beverage to beer or wine, cider could be it, said Weys. Being gluten-free and boasting fewer calories, it fits in with current healthy lifestyle trends, and is better for the environment in terms of waste, he said, adding the aim is to produce zero waste.
With beer, cider and spirits checked off the list, it seems only natural for wine to have a home in Squamish too.
When four Squamish residents combined a passion for music and wine, the outcome was two quality vintages by Mash Records Wine, with a third to follow soon.
The newly-opened Squamish eatery, The Joinery, is serving a wine menu created by Mash Record founders, featuring wines of which they’re proud of and
personally love to enjoy, said Mash co-founder, Jimmy King.
Though current licensing restricts Mash Records’ manufacturing to the U.S., “As soon as the liquor licence allows it... we’ll be doing it here in Squamish,” said King.
When they receive licensing approval, their location will be alongside The Joinery.
“Over time, we’ll be introducing our style and our craft,” said King, who explained they hope to source everything as locally as possible, including grapes from the Okanagan.
In the meantime, you’ll also find a supply of their wine at the Squamish BC Liquor Store (40204 Glenalder Place).
Could there be more craft beverage makers to come? Both Weys and King believe so and explained that Squamish is just in its infancy with huge potential for growth.
As with so many other local businesses, the community has been incredibly supportive of craft brewers who are, themselves, supportive of one another, explained King.