BC Beer Awards Preview – Q & A with Chester Carey

Cover image courtesy of BC Beer Awards

The 2017 BC Beer Awards are right around the corner (tomorrow!) and I couldn’t be more excited. This year will be the first time that Luke and I have attended the awards. I’m stoked to nerd out with fellow media, brewery and cidery staff, and other attendees about all things B.C. craft beer. And of course, I’m very interested to see what breweries take home the numerous awards that are up for grabs.

Last year the breweries pouring at the awards were asked to brew their take on the Mild Ale. This year is the #yearofthesmash so breweries have been challenged to create a single malt, single hop beer. I can’t wait to sample the SMaSH brews to see what each brewery comes up with!

This year, the BC Beer Awards have added a creative industry awards section to the lineup. With digital media being essential to the success of businesses today, this addition is a no-brainer to me. There’s also a number of awards that celebrate packaging. It seems that label design has really taken off lately as brewery’s try and find creative ways to help their beers stand out on shelves. This is a great way to spotlight the hard working graphic designers and creative agencies that continue to come up with unique and innovative designs. Another cool aspect of the creative industry awards are that each is presented by a company directly related to the award! The new creative awards include:

Best Beer Can Design (Presented by West Coast Canning)

Best Beer Bottle Design (Presented by Great Little Box Co)

Best Packaging – Boxes and Carriers ( Presented by Great Little Box Co)

Best Tap Handle (Presented by Smooth Edge Design)

Best Website (Presented by My Zone Media)

Best Social Media Presence (Presented by Agency Media)

Innovator of the Year (Presented by Newlands)

To gain some insight into the BC Beer Awards and the current state of the craft beer industry in BC, I sent through a few questions to the awards team. Chester Carey, Founder and Director of the BC Beer Awards, was kind enough to provide his perspective:

Chris (Van Pours)

What trend in BC’s craft beer industry have you been most excited about in 2017?

Chester (BC Beer Awards)

Myself I have been most excited about the number of smaller breweries that have opened but I suspect most people are excited about the volume of very fruity, low bitterness, hazy style IPA available.

parallel 49 trash panda hazy IPA BC craft beer india pale ale vanpours


What brewery do you think will surprise people at the BC Beer Awards this year?


Despite having nearly 100 breweries enter, several breweries that did well in past years or in other Canadian awards did not submit beers for judging. Some people will be surprised by who didn’t place in some categories.


What was the driving force behind The BC Beer Awards adding the Creative Industry Awards section this year? Which of the eight new awards has you most excited?


Packaging and online presence seem to have far more impact on the growth of beer vs other alcohol categories. Much of this is to do with the special release model that is driving craft forward and it is great to showcase and recognize some of the effort we see there.

bc craft beer dageraad brewing special release label artwork vanpours


Craft beer seems to be growing more and more popularity in this province. What do you think is in store for the industry in 2018?


More of what we have seen in 2017. Smaller breweries pushing innovative boundaries without seeming as gimmicky as some of the beers we have seen in the past decade. A decrease in large brewery sales and an increased focus on drinking local.

 Thanks again to Chester for providing his perspective. I hope to see you fellow craft beer fans tomorrow at the awards. There should be a buzz in the air as tickets are completely sold out!

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