The sun and the crowds were out for Victoria Beer Society’s second annual Langford Beer Festival on Saturday (July 15).
While last year’s event was crowded because the space was too small, according to Matt Poirier, a local craft beer expert with the Victoria Beer Society, this year’s event was able to use the field at Starlight Stadium, allowing for more breweries and food vendors as well as other activities like ping pong and a variety of inflatables.
“Beer on the West Shore is growing,” said Poirier, pointing to breweries like Millstream Beverage Company in Langford and Mile Zero Brewing in Metchosin. “Those wide gaps are slowly getting filled in.”
A variety of breweries had taps flowing, ranging from well-established brewers like Lighthouse Brewing, which is celebrating its 25th year this year, to newer establishments like Beacon Brewing in Sidney, which opened 18 months ago just as COVID-19 restrictions were loosening.
“It was tough, we were so far down the rabbit hole that we really couldn’t turn around,” said Tristan Featherstone, one of three owners of Beacon Brewing. “It worked out in our favour though because we’d signed leases, but during Covid banks were no longer lending money to the hospitality industry, so we lost all our funding. So we had to figure out how to do it without bank funding, so we self-funded and that put us in a space now where we don’t carry any debt.”
“In the end, it was kind of a blessing.”