Expect close to 100 breweries and offerings from coast to coast at this year’s Great Canadian Beer Festival, Joe Wiebe, co-founder of the Victoria Beer Society, announced Tuesday at Cascadia Liquor on Quadra Street. His group is hosting the event for the first time this year. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)

‘Coast to coast’: New Beer Fest hosts promise breweries from east to west

Close to 100 brewers to participate in Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria

The new hosts of Victoria’s Great Canadian Beer Festival are promising the largest lineup of breweries ever for this year’s event, with close to 100 breweries set to participate.

“We are at about 96 right now and we still might be able to squeeze a few more breweries in,” Joe Wiebe, co-founder of the Victoria Beer Society said Tuesday at an event at Cascadia Quadra Village to announce the list of craft breweries set to take part in the festival.

“We have significantly more breweries than ever before. It’s really exciting.”

Breweries from nearly all provinces and territories will be participating — as well as a few local cideries and food trucks. The list includes more than 70 B.C. breweries, eight from Alberta, four each from Ontario and Saskatchewan, three each from Nova Scotia and Quebec, and one each from Manitoba and Yukon.

READ ALSO: New organization to host Great Canadian Beer Festival starting in 2019

“We’ve always had a really strong focus on breweries from British Columbia, and had a few smatterings of breweries from across the country, but we’re really excited to expand the lineup of breweries from elsewhere, including breweries from all the way out to the east coast,” Wiebe said.

“We can say coast to coast, and up in the Yukon as well.”

Close to 100 breweries are set to participate in this year’s Great Canadian Beer Festival (Kevin Menz/News Staff)

Close to 100 breweries are set to participate in this year’s Great Canadian Beer Festival (Kevin Menz/News Staff)

The vendors will be arranged into regional pavilions for this year’s event, according to Wiebe.

His group — the Victoria Beer Society — are taking over the festival this year following the retirement of the event’s founders. The founders hosted the festival for 26 years.

“This event is much bigger than anything we’ve produced before,” Wiebe said. The Great Canadian Beer Festival, which runs Sept. 6 and 7, is expected to see up to 4,500 people each day. The Victoria Beer Society’s previous largest event, Victoria Beer Week, would see about 3,000 people over the entire week.

Still, Wiebe promised attendees at Tuesday’s announcement the festival would feel familiar this year. Returning staff will ensure it, he said.

“The scale is definitely challenging and daunting, but the great thing is that there is a team of people that have worked on this event for a long time now. They didn’t all retire.”

Tickets for the Great Canadian Beer Festival are on sale at Ticket Rocket.


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