Since opening seven months ago, the Trail Beer Refinery’s popularity has quickly grown. The Refinery is the city’s first craft brewery and tap room, and now sells product in local liquor stores, the Trail Smoke Eaters games and in six restaurants and pubs. The group-of-16 investors is upping their game and looking at expanding into more dining establishments. Mike Konkin (left), Sheri Konkin (not pictured) and brewmaster Andrew Anker were up bright and early Wednesday morning preparing new brews.

Raise a glass to B.C. Craft Beer Month

Cheers to beers; October marks the 7th annual B.C. Craft Beer Month

Cheers to beers as the province celebrates October as B.C. Craft Beer Month.

But is brewing specialty suds all it’s cracked up to be?

The Trail Times talked with Mike Konkin from the Trail Beer Refinery, the city’s first craft brewery and tap room, to ask about the group’s first year in business.

“The project has been super hectic,” Konkin said.

“We started off full steam and have been trying to hang on for the ride ever since,” he added.

“We thought our original brand and idea would be accepted by the town but had no idea that it would be this big.”

He says there’s still an occasional lineup for cold ones and every week there seems to be a need to increase production – after all, there’s a whole new group of thirsty fans.

“The partnership with the Trail Smoke Eaters has been a huge success,” Konkin said. “We built a Trail Beer Refinery corner in the arena and it’s super cool when you walk by that area during hockey games and see so many of our cans in the spectators hands.”

Since opening seven months ago, the Refinery is upping its game even more and brand building outside of the tap room.

“We have beer in about six other pubs and restaurants,” he said. “And hope to double that in the next few months.”

Trail Refinery beer is also sold in local liquor stores, and by the end of the year, the aim is to have product available throughout the West Kootenay.

“Our goal was to build a brewery that makes Trail proud and I think we have started to succeed,” Konkin shared.

“Now we just need to constantly improve and keep on growing.”

Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham issued a statement in recognition of British Columbia’s innovative craft brewers, and the seventh-annual B.C. Craft Beer Month:

“I invite British Columbians to toast B.C.’s local craft brewers during B.C. Craft Beer Month,” Popham said.

“B.C. continues to solidify its reputation as the craft beer capital of Canada.”

The craft beer industry has seen rapid growth in the province. Craft brewers are located in 60 B.C. communities, and 54 breweries in 2010 grew to more than 140 today.

Popham says over 20 new B.C. breweries will open their doors this year, which is the fourth year in a row the industry will have accomplished this milestone.

“Each craft brewery is locally owned and operated by our friends and our neighbours, fellow British Columbians,” said Popham.

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of B.C., and the craft beer industry employs over 4,000 British Columbians. The industry also supports our agricultural and tourism sectors, through industry partnerships with hop and grain growers, as well as fruit growers, and food and beverage establishments.”

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