The name is steeped in pop culture history, but now the aim is to honour a local artist and raise funds to fight cancer. Backcountry Brewing in Squamish has named its pale ale 'Suck it Cancer,' and is donating a portion of its proceeds to a local charity.
Originally, the beer's name was ‘Suck it Trebeck,’ after the Saturday Night Live skit featuring Will Farrell as Alex Trebeck, the host of Jeopardy! But then Trebeck was diagnosed with cancer.
“We realized, 'OK, well this would be very, very insensitive if we brought a beer back that was called Suck it Trebeck,” explained Ben Reeder, co-founder and marketing manager for Backcountry Brewing. “We thought we’d flip the script and call it ‘Suck it Cancer’ and then fundraise for cancer.”
“Cancer has touched everybody,” Reeder said.
To go with the theme, the brewery is using artwork from a local artist who died from cancer, Chili Thom.
“He was living here in Squamish, recently married, had a child, and then found out that he had this esophagus cancer,” his best friend, Feet Banks told CTV News Vancouver. “He passed in early November 2016.”
Thom was born and raised in the Fraser Valley, and got a scholarship to study art at the University of British Columbia. Ultimately, he dropped out, travelled the world and became a wilderness adventure guide in Whistler.
He left behind his wife and daughter, who is now six years old.
“She still talks about her silly daddy," Banks said.
“He could never really capture the beauty that he saw there in a photograph,” said Banks. “So he started painting.”
Thom's artwork is displayed all over the Sea to Sky corridor, and now on the can of a beer.
“It seemed like a no brainer,” Banks said. “Chili loved the community here. He was big into getting people together for a good cause.”
Backcountry Brewing will be donating $50 to the Terry Fox Foundation for every keg of "Suck it Cancer" sold, as well as $1 for every four-pack and $1 per litre for growler fills. The goal is to raise $5,000 for the foundation, Reeder said.
“Giving the proceeds to the Terry Fox Foundation is excellent because you know that’s encouraging people to get outside, which Chili was all about,” Banks told CTV News.
The art the brewery is using on its labels is called ‘Mounties in my Mind.' Banks said it's "one of his most popular images.”
“He really wanted to capture the experience of what it’s like to be out in nature rather than just what it looks like for one moment in time,” he said.
The beer goes on sale Thursday.