Craft beer boom fuels growth in other industries
British Columbia is in the middle of a craft beer boom.
By the end of the year, the province will have nearly 140 breweries, and many are calling Vancouver the craft beer capital of Canada.
The huge interest in locally-brewed beverages is fueling the growth of other industries in the Metro area, from canneries to tour companies.
Matthew Leslie, co-owner of West Coast Canning, told CTV News that his staff can't fill their cans fast enough.
Leslie runs Vancouver's only mobile beer canning company, and said he won't get a day off until the fall.
"In the summer, beer doesn't stop," he said.
His company started off with two people, but he now has eight employees and needs to hire more. His business is thriving because the number of brewers in B.C. has tripled in the last five years.
The craft brewing industry employs approximately 2,500 people, but that figure doesn't include all the indirect jobs like Leslie's.
It also doesn't take into account all the people who build or sell brewery systems and equipment.
Newlands Systems in Abbotsford has a waitlist of up to a year and a half for some of the products it manufactures.
"It's the busiest we've ever been," Newslands master brewer Christian von der Heide said.
"We keep adding fabricators, engineering teams, support staff, and we can hardly keep up with the growth."
Newlands' staff has grown from 40 to around 200.
The hype around hops is also bringing beer-loving tourists to the province, and guided brewery tours are becoming more common.
When Ryan Mackey started Vancouver Brewery Tours, the "company" was just him and his wife in a van. He now has three vans and nine staff members.
Hundreds of pints are expected to be poured out to Vancouverites and tourists alike during the city's Craft Beer Week, May 27 to June 5.
And those in the related industries don't expect business to slow down any time soon.
"I don't think it's going to stop here for a while. These breweries are creating jobs. They're continuing to produce beer," Leslie said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim