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Phillips Brewery and Malting Co.


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#1 Holden West

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 10:49 AM

How drinking beer can land you a career

SHANNON KARI Globe & Mail POSTED ON 28/12/06

VANCOUVER -- Like many of his fellow students, Matt Phillips enjoyed a few cold beers in the mid-1990s while attending Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.

But Mr. Phillips, 32, took the pastime a step further and produced his own beer. He even incorporated it into his microbiology studies.

A little more than a decade later, Mr. Phillips has gone from making home brew to becoming the craft-beer-industry version of a top chef, attracting praise for his innovation and blend of flavours.

Phillips Brewing Co. is part of a renaissance within the craft-brewing industry in British Columbia, producing some of the most adventurous beers in the country. And although Phillips remains a tiny operation in the Victoria suburb of Esquimalt, its reputation for producing quality beer grows each year.

Its original India Pale Ale and Maple Cream Ale received the top prizes in their categories last year at the Canadian Brewing Awards. Recently, Phillips was named the top brewery in B.C. by readers of the Northwest Brewing News, a 60,000-circulation publication that reports on the craft-beer industry in California, Oregon, Washington State, Alaska and B.C.

Five years after he founded the brewery, Mr. Phillips jokes that "the banks are a little happier to talk to me now," but it's clear he still has a boyish enthusiasm for experimenting with ingredients to develop new products.

"There is a lot more that can be done with beer," he said, explaining that one of the things he is looking at is the "interface" between spirits and beer.

His beer-making curiosity was triggered when he was in university, taking road trips to the United States, where he was exposed to craft beers for the first time.

Back on campus, he built an incubator and used the residence-hall kitchen to boil beer. "Some people love the smell of beer while it is being cooked," Mr. Phillips said. "Most people hate it."

He had intended to pursue a master's degree, but after travelling across the country and getting a job at a brew pub in Canmore, Alta., Mr. Phillips decided not to return to school.

From there, he worked as a sort of apprentice chef at Whistler Brewing Co. and then Spinnakers brew pub in Victoria, before starting his own company in 2001.

As a result of developing some industry contacts, Mr. Phillips was able convince local bars and some provincial liquor stores in Victoria to sell his beer.

"There is a lot of enthusiasm about good beer within the community," Mr. Phillips said.

The sense of camaraderie within the beer-producing and beer-drinking communities in Victoria and on Vancouver Island is echoed by Gerry Hieter.

"If it is brewed here, people will buy it," said Mr. Hieter, chairman of Victoria's annual Great Canadian Beer Festival, the longest-running craft-beer festival in Canada.

It wasn't just local loyalty that led to the Phillips' success, Mr. Hieter said.

Some craft breweries in B.C. and Ontario have produced bland beers, in hopes it would increase sales, but not Phillips.

"Matt has been unafraid to take chances," Mr. Hieter said. "I have been in this business for 20 years. The word-of-mouth is just huge."

It's certainly made a difference for Phillips' original India Pale Ale and its Amnesiac Double IPA.

The craft-brewed IPA, with a higher hop and alcohol content, is the signature brand of the booming craft industry in the Pacific Northwest and in California.

A Double IPA has even more hops, usually from the Yakima Valley in Washington State, more alcohol and a more bitter flavour.

Alan Moen, the editor of the Northwest Brewing News, said the IPA is "a classic beer that was largely forgotten" until it was revived by the craft-brewing industry. "A lot of movements start by going backwards."

Mr. Phillips "is the rising star of that beer," Mr. Moen said. "It is very tricky to make a good IPA. Some are out of balance, and you are left with a mouthful of bitterness."

The Amnesiac Double IPA matches up with the best of that brand produced in the United States, Mr. Moen said.

Although many craft beers and especially IPAs have higher alcohol content, they are more flavourful, and Mr. Moen said they should be savoured, in the same way that a good wine is savoured.

Phillips annually produces slightly more than 4,000 hectolitres (each hectolitre is 100 litres) of beer -- a relatively small amount -- and it's available only in B.C.

But there appears to be an increasing demand for its product and that of the more than two dozen other craft-beer makers in the province. Overall craft-beer revenue has increased by more than 16 per cent in the past year at the government-owned B.C. Liquor Stores.

"Most craft beers do very well in the region where they are produced," said Michele Green, a spokeswoman for B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch.

Even with increasing recognition and sales, Mr. Phillips is adamant that there are no plans to grow to a certain size and sell the company.

"I am still a young guy. I am having too much fun," Mr. Phillips said. "The bigger we get, the more time I have to play with new beers."

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A delicious product. You kiddies can have your Bud Lite. Us manly he-men are well satisfied with our IPA! :D
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#2 G-Man

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 11:24 AM

Yup that is great I am really happy for the guy!

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#3 Caramia

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 03:37 PM

Victoria Beers are steady National winners. Swan's Buckerfield's Brewery cleaned up at this year's Canadian Brewery awards taking 4 gold medals, including the IPA, and a couple of silver/bronze. I'd be interested in looking at the history of the CBA awards distribution geographically, if this is a new trend or something Vic has just started to really shine at.
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#4 Mike K.

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 03:42 PM

Victoria's beers really shine because of our water, with water being the MOST important ingredient for making beer. Much of BC's water supplies beat what is available elsewhere in the county so even our mass-produced beer like Kokanee tastes far better than brews east of BC.

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#5 G-Man

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 03:48 PM

Vic has had great beer for as long as I have lived here. I am still quite partial to the Lighthouse Beacon IPA.

I agree about the water Derf. I truly laugh when people buy bottled water here. I mean why?
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#6 Caramia

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 04:11 PM

Great water, great brewing community, great brewers, great brews.

Too bad I have never aquired a taste for beer.

:(
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#7 NMP

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 05:29 PM

Bottled water does look like utter nonsense... Beer wise, I love many local brews and admire local brewers but ever since I tried Innis&Gunn my heart is taken... Caramia, you may want to give it a shot, with this one I personally have converted several non-beer persons of both genders :)

#8 Jada

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 05:57 PM

People buy bottled water because they are thirsty and on the go. Its not too hard to figure that one out. Alot of people try not to drink so much coffee or pop, so bottled water is the best way to get a drink when youre out and about.

#9 G-Man

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 06:23 PM

People buy bottled water because they are thirsty and on the go. Its not too hard to figure that one out. Alot of people try not to drink so much coffee or pop, so bottled water is the best way to get a drink when youre out and about.


Sorry I should have meant people that get water to their house or office. I have no problems with buying it while out and about and there is no access to water fountains.

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#10 Holden West

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 06:33 PM

I have no problem drinking bottled water as long as it also contains barley, malt, hops and yeast.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#11 NMP

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 09:05 PM

People buy bottled water because they are thirsty and on the go. Its not too hard to figure that one out.


I guess... not any harder than to figure out that it was bottled water as a substitute for tap one that we meant...

#12 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 11:08 PM

I have no problem drinking bottled water as long as it also contains barley, malt, hops and yeast.




:lol:

#13 Walter Moar

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 12:14 AM

I have no problem drinking bottled water as long as it also contains barley, malt, hops and yeast.

Just to be pedantic, malt = barley (well, malted barley).

Just to be in tune with the thread, I'll keep sipping my Amnesiac :)

#14 Holden West

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 12:30 AM

What are you, some kind of professional proofreader or something?

Oh, you are?

Damn.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#15 Walter Moar

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 12:40 AM

What are you, some kind of professional proofreader or something?

Utmost apologies... and I'm a beer snob too :lol:

#16 Jada

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 10:55 AM

Okay, well if some people can be beer snobs, then by this same logic, people can be water snobs.

You wouldnt want to drink beer poured from a dirty tap in a dirty pub. And there are some who wouldnt drink water poured from a dirty tap either.

Im just trying to defend the bottled water statement. Although I am not one of the bottled water purchasers, I dont think its that strange for people to have bottled water at home. There are alot of germiphobes out there.

#17 NMP

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 12:02 PM

Okay, just to put it in the right context and make sure we are talking about the same thing which is not fringe cases like germaphobia. There is certain (quite big actually) controversy created by bottled water industry advertisement painting tap water as inferior, quality and cleaniness wise, and singing praises to their product as more clean, healthy, safe etc. Opponents claim that tap water is quite safe and clean, and bottled water in fact in many cases is that same somewhat modified tap water; just some of it comes from more exotic sources like icebergs or wells. Considering rather mind-boggling price difference and the fact that bottled water became multibillion industry on what some claim is false advertising and scaremongering, debate has awaken my curiosity a while ago. That's what I (and I believe G-Man) was referring to, not obvious convinience case of buying odd bottle on the go or psyhcological deviations requiring medical attention.

#18 Mike K.

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 12:21 PM

Investing in water bottling companies might be a good idea right about now :)

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#19 Jada

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 02:10 PM

Okay, just to put it in the right context and make sure we are talking about the same thing which is not fringe cases like germaphobia. There is certain (quite big actually) controversy created by bottled water industry advertisement painting tap water as inferior, quality and cleaniness wise, and singing praises to their product as more clean, healthy, safe etc. Opponents claim that tap water is quite safe and clean, and bottled water in fact in many cases is that same somewhat modified tap water; just some of it comes from more exotic sources like icebergs or wells. Considering rather mind-boggling price difference and the fact that bottled water became multibillion industry on what some claim is false advertising and scaremongering, debate has awaken my curiosity a while ago. That's what I (and I believe G-Man) was referring to, not obvious convinience case of buying odd bottle on the go or psyhcological deviations requiring medical attention.


But you could say the exact same thing about beer companies and their advertizing of "smooth, clean beer". In the end, where do beer companies get their water anyways?

#20 NMP

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 03:26 PM

Huh?

Am I the only one who doesn't see any connection here? :) What does beer have to do woth bottled water vs tap water controversy?

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