It was no April Fool’s joke when Cannery Brewing, one of Penticton’s most iconic breweries, celebrated its 20 year anniversary on April 1, 2021.
Although the festivities were slightly dampened after the announcement of new provincial coronavirus restrictions, the Cannery was still able to celebrate the big milestone in style.
Co-owner Ian Dyck said he’s extremely proud of what the Cannery has been able to accomplish in 20 years as the brewery has become a pillar of the community in Penticton, but it couldn’t have been done without support from the community and all the staff members at the brewery.
“At the end of the day we just make beer but we’re pretty proud of the relationships we’ve built in the community over the years as well as the local support that we get, but the biggest thing is our staff,” Dyck said. “We’ve had many of our staff here with us for over ten years, that’s a pretty big thing for us and a pretty big thing for them as well.”
The brewery had planned an indoor celebration for their twentieth anniversary, but due to the provincial restrictions on indoor dining being put in place three days prior, a smaller celebration was held on the brewery’s patio.
For their anniversary the brewery also released some experimental beers, including the white IPA with preserved lemon, Ceres. Made by the women at Cannery Brewery, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of all Ceres beers will go to the Pink Boots Society which helps women in the beer industry through education.
A lot has changed in the craft beer scene since Cannery entered the game twenty years ago when they were just the second brewery in Penticton. There are now seven, with another on its way, and Penticton is known as one of the craft beer epicentres of Canada.
Dyck said he had no idea two decades ago that the Cannery would have such a fundamental role in turning Penticton into the craft beer hub it’s become.
“The beer business was very different back then, we honestly felt like craft beer missionaries back then,” he said.
Although 20 years ago Dyck would never have predicted craft beer would blow up in the Okanagan and across North America like it has, he believes it is a “natural fit” in the Okanagan.
“We have a pretty awesome wine industry that’s developed here over the last 30 years, as well as some pretty awesome spirits lately, lovey ciders, lovely food, the Okanagan lends itself to that.
I think most of our locals are all very like-minded too. They want to know where their beer comes from, where their carrots are grown, who’s making their sandwich at lunch.”
Moving forward Dyck is excited to continue pushing the boundaries of beer and feeding the desire for new and exciting brews.
Recently, beer trends have gone back to their roots, as consumers are seeking out well-crafted traditional lagers and pilsners more than ever. However, the desire for stronger, heavier, more experimental beer still remains.
“Back in the day lager was sort of the enemy because it was a pedestrian beer that was being mass-produced by the big guys, but all of a sudden we’re seeing local, small breweries produce some absolutely amazing traditional lagers,” Dyck said.
Twenty years of making beer is no small feat, but the Cannery has no plans of stopping soon. The brewery is looking forward to another 20 years of beers in Penticton and plans to do a “make up party” for their 25th anniversary once COVID restrictions are a thing of the past.
“We’re just going to keep making new and interesting beers and try to create an awesome place for our community,” Dyck said.