December 2023 Backcountry Report

Hello friends,

It’s high time for an update! There’s a lot of exciting news to cover, from collaborations, taproom and patio expansions to a new General Manager in the Taproom. See below for our latest beer releases, merch gift guide, holiday hours and our new online reservation system for group and private taproom bookings!

PROTECT OUR WINTERS Poster and Can - "This pale ale was made possible by the generous support of our industry partners. Partial proceeds from each beer sold will be contributed to Protect Ou8r Winters Canada, a non-profit organisation united to advocate for policy solutions to fight climate change."

Protect Our Winters

We are very excited to announce our collaboration with Protect Our Winters Canada. With the help of our industry partners, our goal is to raise over $10,000 for the fight against climate change, with this sessionable pale ale. Get your hands on this beer at your local liquor store, or at the brewery today!

Stefan Hebert | Two images

Movin’ on up!

Stefan joined Backcountry back in 2017, making an impressive positive impact since day one. Known as the “human Swiss Army knife” he has excelled in roles across many departments, most recently as the Marketing Coordinator. We could not be more stoked to now have Stefan leading the way in the taproom as our General Manager, his smiling face, infectious laughter and good vibez make him the perfect fit.

Make sure to give him a crisp high five, next time you’re visiting us. We love you, Stef!

Backcountry Brewing group photo at the British Columbia (BC) Beer Awards 2023

2023 British Columbia Beer Awards

It was a great year for the brewery with a trifecta of wins at the BC Beer Awards.

? Widowmaker: 2nd in the hotly contested Hazy IPA category.
? Trailbreaker: 3rd in the North American Pale Ale category.
? I Don’t Know Half Of You Half As Well As I Should Like; And I Like Less Than Half Of You Half As Well As Your Deserve: 2nd in Smoke & Wood-Aged Beers.

? Not to be outdone by the brewers, our marketing team continued to entertain, winning two “Crushies” at the Craft Beer Marketing Awards for best use of social media in the Americas. Taking both 1st and 2nd place for videos: Run Forest Run collaboration with Squamish Logger Sports & Daffy Twister Spread Pale Ale.

Backcountry Brewing outdoor Hawker's booth

Backcountry Brewing interior photo of "The Barrel Lounge" by Kai Jacobson

Photo credit: Kai Jacobson

The Barrel Lounge

2023 saw the addition of much needed seating with the opening of our Barrel Lounge, followed by the patio’s grand opening this summer. This expansion allows us, for the first time to offer group and private bookings, check our website for details!

Backcountry Brewing - "Best of 2023" cans stacked


Use our ‘Beer Finder’ to find your closest draught tap, or 4 packs for sale! Check out our current offerings! Widowmaker & Trailbreaker are now listed in over 90 BCL stores.

Keep your eyes peeled for our 2024 Trailbreaker Treasure Trail with over $5000 in prizing to be won!

Backcountry Brewing — Gift guide items

Annual Gift Guide

? Check out our annual gift guide featuring loads of new items! ?

Stock up on stocking stuffers like our beer-infused hot sauce and XOCO chocolates or our Trailbreaker Speed Wax, performance socks, drinkware and massive hat and toque selections. Peruse our full selection online and enjoy free shipping on orders $100 and up. Still not sure what to get? Gift cards are available in-store and online.

Santa Ben sneaking in a beer!

Holiday Hours

Sunday 24th December

Taproom 12pm-4pm
Retail Store 12pm-6pm (for those last minute Christmas gifts!)

Monday 25th December

Taproom & Retail Store CLOSED

Tuesday 26th December

Taproom & Retail Store 12pm-10pm

Regular Hours for the rest of the holiday season

Backcountry News: March 2022

Backcountry Brewing acknowledges the land on which we gather as the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), andSel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Hello friends! We thought it was high time for an update from each department. We have some very exciting news from the tasting room and we also decided to share our beer release calendar for each season well in advance, see below. Check out our new menu items from the Backcountry Kitchen as well as the interview with Head Chef James Buchanan, and Brewer Paul McLachlan gives us his top 5 beer picks for spring.

Tasting Room Expansion!

After some long, strange years, it is with great excitement that we get to announce some good news out of the taproom. We are planning to expand our seating areas inside and out! Construction on the new front patio and the Barrel Room additions should start early summer if all goes to plan. These undertakings will effectively double our current seating capacity for the taproom just in time for us to celebrate our 5 year Anniversary!

Furthermore, the BC government has loosened COVID restrictions! This means there are no longer table seating limits in the taproom. Dancing is also once again permitted! We hope to make up for lost time with some on-site events this summer with live music and DJs on the patio. Keep an eye on our social media for the latest updates.

Fun With The Marketing Team

Back in the fall, we held a beer-naming contest where we put it to our Instagram followers to name a Backcountry brew. The feedback was overwhelming with 2800+ submissions that we then narrowed down to 7 finalists for the public to vote on. A well-deserved congratulations to @rhiannon.brunker for her winning submission: ‘I Put My Crocs In Sports Mode For This’. You can also expect to see two more crowdsourced beer names coming up for release this : ‘I Love Inside Jokes I Hope to be Part of One Someday’ submitted by @bikenate & ‘That’s What I Do, I Drink and I Know Things’ submitted by @daboded. These names should make for some fun content!

Speaking of content, we recently updated our website to include our   where you can easily access all of our original videos. Our latest work for the Daffy Twister Spread Pale Ale features former Olympians Tami Bradley and Ryan Johnson, as well as resident marketing coordinator and jack-of-all-Backcountry-trades Stefan Hebert. Well worth the watch if you haven’t already tuned in   You can also find our promo videos screening prior to feature films at the Rio Theater in Vancouver.

Owner operators Ben & Marc were also recently the featured guests on Where U At Buds? podcast, discussing everything from the origins of the brewery, our marketing efforts and all sorts of shenanigans in between. Where U At Buds? Is available on Spotify , Apple Music  or wherever you get your podcasts!

Daffy Twister Spread video

Backcountry Brewing YouTube Channel

Where U at Buds? Podcast

Backcountry Kitchen New Menu

As head chef James has settled into his role at Backcountry, the quality of our ingredients have improved as he continually hones his pizza game. As any true Backcountry fan can attest, all of our pizzas use fresh ingredients, and our dough is house made and hand tossed. Where applicable, our ingredients are now also authentically Italian, DOP. DOP stands for Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin) and is a guarantee that the food was produced by local farmers and artisans using traditional methods. We use Canadian cheese and fresh BC produce wherever possible. Been a while since you’ve savored something delicious from the Backcountry kitchen? Check out these new additions to our menu.

Dios Mio Spicy Italian Pizza!
Featuring a house-made buffalo base, spicy capicola, genoa salami, bacon, banana peppers, mozzarella, and feta! 

Spicy Korean Wings
Spicy house-made Korean chimaek style wings. Sauce is made in-house and the wings are garnished with green onion. Pairs perfectly with Ridgerunner Pilsner, if we do say so.

Salt & Pepper Wings
Our house-battered wings served as classic salt & pepper dry wings. Try them with a side of our fresh ranch sauce, made from scratch of course, or our beer infused Backcountry Hot Sauce!

Widowmaker Mac & Cheese
A twist on a classic! Oven baked pasta with three kinds of cheese: Oaxaca, white cheddar and Danish gruyere. Serpentini noodles and a smoked bacon crust! The dish is then finished with a cheese sauce expertly crafted with cheddar cheese infused with Widowmaker IPA. Finally, this comforting dish is dusted with house made ketchup powder. Check out a video of this dish being prepared by Head Chef James Bucanan here !

 Les Habitants // Pepperoni Deluxe (limited-time feature)
Our house-made dough, San Marzano tomato sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella, green peppers & mushrooms.⁠ This French-Canadian-inspired pizza was created by sous-chef extraordinaire Tony, who hails from Montreal, one of the multiple brilliant French-Canadians in the Backcountry family. The pizza layers differently than our traditional pizzas, resulting in a notably different flavour profile with cheese that stretches as you pull out each slice.⁠

Q&A with Head Chef James Buchanan

Q: Is it true that chefs don’t cook at home?

A: God no, that’s not true. A chef that tells you they don’t cook at home is lying or not a Chef.

Q: You don’t seem to have too big of an ego, how is that possible?

A: Well for starters they made a movie where a rat can do my job…

Q: How did you get into cooking?

A: You know that’s a funny story. When I was 18, I made dinner for my girlfriend and gave her food poisoning. She was a chef and told me that I needed to learn how to cook. So I went and got a job as a dishwasher at PJ Burgers and Sons on 4th ave in Kitsilano. That’s how it all started. It was years later that I got promoted to the line and actually learned how to cook.

Cooking has always been a fun job. It’s got everything. Fire, knives, excitement, teamwork and comradery. But there’s a difference between cooking and being a chef. Anyone can learn to cook, it wasn’t until I was really taught that I learned what the difference was between the two.

Q: Speaking about chefs, who was your biggest influence?

A: Melissa Craig from Barefoot Bistro taught me that my job is bigger than the plate. We’re entertainers at the end of the day and we put on a show. Food can really tell a story and the right meal can make or break your day, night, or week!

Q: What do you do for breakfast?

A: Breakfast to me is the most important meal of the day. What I make depends on one very important question, how hungover am I? The more hungover I am, the more likely I am to make eggs benny. I’ll have a pilsner or a sour with breakfast…Pool Shower Fruit Punch Sour is great for that. IPA’s are not a breakfast beer.

Q: Who makes the best fast food?

I never go into a fast food place, always use the drive through…they’re too bright and cheery. It’s too much. I went to an In & Out Burger in California and that was the best drive through fast food I’ve ever had in my life. It was unbelievable. But in Canada  Mcdonald’s wins, it’s all about the hash brown game and yes I LIKE THE FILET O-FISH. I don’t care what anyone says.

Q: What are your hobbies and outlets outside of cooking?

Origami and motorbikes.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?

I wanna say Apocalypse Now. But it’s probably Pretty Woman. It’s got everything.

Q: What’s up with the music in the kitchen?

A: The musical taste in the kitchen is very diverse. I have a communal kitchen mix. It’s 19 hours long. Britney Spears, disco, metal, we cover the gambit. At shift crossover it’s always Britney. Nobody can get mad with Britney cranking.

Breaking Brew News

For the spring edition of our newsletter, we sat down with brewer Paul. He picked 5 beers he thought you should know a little more about. A complete* list of upcoming releases follows!

Paul’s Picks

30 CM Rule Kolsch
I’m a big fan of our Kolsch and I got to brew it this time… exciting! We put Huell Melon hops in the whirlpool and used straight up pilsner malt… That’ll be really nice. The name has been changed from 20cm rule to 30cm rule due to staffing shortages, ha!

Tangerine Widowmaker
That’s a Monday morning beer right there. Or if you want to class up a fancy dinner you can put it in a champagne flute. Done.

Throw Me A Frickin Bone Pale Ale
Dogs and beer go hand in paw. You can play fetch with your pup and then you can go fetch yourself a beer. I tried to teach my dog Kane to open the fridge and get me a beer, but he was afraid of the motor in the fridge. It was a close one. Either way this beer is a winner with partial proceeds supporting the SPCA with the help of Sea To Sky Veterinary Clinic.

Might As Well Go For A Soda Cherry Cola Sour
This one will bring you back to your youth… a little plastic bag full of candies from your favorite corner store. I just searched up 80’s trends and apparently Hacky Sack was all the rage. I remember you’d have to drive over your new hacky sack to flatten it out a bit, make it easier to break in. That would pair well with this beer.

Mine Goes To Eleven Mango Coconut Lime Sour
My acting career is going to take off in no time. This pairs well with watching me as Rob Reiner in Spinal Tap on our socials… Just smell it, smell it!  I am told we are shooting another video for this release, so stay tuned for part 2.

Upcoming Beer Releases

*Subject to change*

  • 30cm Rule – Kolsch
  • Might As Well Go For A Soda – Cherry Cola Sour
  • I Think We’re Alone Now – Strata, Galaxy, Sabro IPA
  • You Know, I’m Something Of A Scientist Myself – Mosaic Pale Ale
  • I’ll Take You To The Candy Shop – Peach Gummy Sour
  • I Put My Crocs In Sports Mode For This? – Helles Lager
  • Off The Top Ropes – DIPA
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya, You Killed My Father Prepare To Die – Simcoe West Coast IPA
  • Big Gulps Huh, Welp See Ya Later – Blue Raspberry Lemonade Sour
  • I Love Inside Jokes I Hope To Be A Part Of One Someday – TBD
  • I Ain’t Got Time To Bleed – Dry Hopped Lager
  • Tangerine Widowmaker – Tangerine IPA
  • That’s What I Do I Drink And I Know Things – Simcoe West Coast IPA
  • I’m Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today – Orange Creamsicle Sour
  • Do You Bite Your Thumb At Us, Sir? – Vienna Lager
  • Throw Me A Frickin Bone Here – Pale Ale
  • TBD – DIPA
  • Go Get Yourself Some Cheap Sunglasses – NE IPA
  • Mine Goes To Eleven – Mango Coconut Lime Sour
  • TBD – Czech Pilsner
  • TBD – West Coast IPA
  • TBD – Fruited IPA

Please note, we have discontinued our beer preorder online storefront. You can view our current can selection on the Our Beers section of our website. Additionally, we have a Where To Buy page where you can find retailers of our beers by geographic location. Our online store remains available for all of your Backcountry merchandise needs, shipping out weekly, province wide!

Jobs Jobs Jobs!

We are hiring kitchen staff! We are looking for a skilled and enthusiastic cook with a passion for beer & food to join our kitchen team at Backcountry Brewing. Our goal is to provide our guests with excellent food and an unforgettable dining experience while having fun as a team.

Backcountry Brewing is an inclusive workplace, and we encourage all genders, races, ethnicities, orientations, and abilities to apply.

Full job description, including responsibilities and required experience can be found on our Facebook jobs page, as well as here.

Thanks for reading this far! Be sure to follow us on Instagram @backcountrybrewing for the latest updates, cheers!

The Backcountry Brewing Team



Backcountry News: September 2021

Backcountry Brewing acknowledges the land on which we gather as the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), andSel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. 

It’s been a crazy year, full of challenges and changes to the plan so we thought it would be a good time for an update! Read on and you will find an update on our continuing journey surrounding equity, diversity & inclusion, fundraising efforts, new key team members, upcoming beers as well as a Q & A with brewer Melissa Hogg.

First off, back on April 1st Backcountry turned 4 and as much as we love to throw down a good party, we decided the climate just wasn’t ideal for a celebration. The silver lining is that we have lots of time to plan something very special for our 5-year anniversary next spring!

Welcoming James and Gord

We are very excited to welcome two new key staff members to the team! James Buchanan, formerly of Trattoria Di Umberto, joins us as Head Chef, bringing with him 25 years of fine dining experience and an exciting new menu. Gordon Auld, formerly of the Beacon Pub in Whistler, has recently taken the reigns of the tasting room as General Manager. He has a genuine passion for customer experience, teamwork and is really excited to be working in his hometown.

Upcoming Fall & Winter Beers

With fall just around the corner we are looking forward to jumping into stout season. This year we have a large amount of bourbon barrel aged stouts we put into barrels last year. We were lucky enough to get some really nice Heaven & Hill bourbon barrels including some with heavy char, so expect some amazing flavors! These will be hella small batches so make sure to tune in to social media to get the 411.

As you might expect we will be doing some big heavy sours this fall. You might even see an imperial sour! With that there will be another cocktail inspired sour coming after a year spent in bourbon barrels. Also in the works for this winter is a thick and juicy pastry sour… or two.

The winter is such a great time to experiment with weird and different flavors. We are planning some fruited IPAs and pale ales as well as some heavy hitting double IPAs. Watch out for some of your favorite call backs from years past as well as new recipes and concepts from some of our newer brewers.

Service Updates

As a result of Covid safety protocols and staffing shortages there have been a lot of changes to how we serve our customers. Masks are required to enter the retail store as well as the tasting room. Vaccine passports will be required for entry into the tasting room as of September 13th. We have temporarily reduced our hours of operation in the tasting room to accommodate for a smaller kitchen team.  In addition, we are now hosting rotating food trucks on Mondays and Tuesdays.  In good news, our patio license has been extended till next July! Please note we do not allow pets on the patio but do have a shady spot and water available out front of the patio.

Backcountry Brewing | Temporary Hours for September 2021

Team Training

Backcountry Brewing is committed to fostering and welcoming diversity within our brewery with the goal of creating a safe space for our staff, patrons and community. We are working to make diversity and inclusion part of our company DNA. With the help of Alden Habacon and his team at Inclusive Excellence Strategy Solutions, we have updated our workplace bullying and harassment policy. With their help our entire team completed an intensive company-wide training on the policy and procedures. During these sessions we discussed how our policy applies to specific scenarios and situations that may occur, or have occurred, in our workplace. Currently we are working on a core values statement with a workgroup of staff, managers and owners that will help guide decision making and ultimately will define the evolving culture at Backcountry.

Fundraising Efforts

Supporting our local community has always been a top priority for us and in recent years we are excited to have been able to expand on this effort to include a broader range of fundraising. We are proud to once again be supporting the Diversity In Brewing scholarship at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In July, we were busy fundraising for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society as well as the ongoing campaign for the Squamish branch of the BCSPCA. We have also helped fund the Inclusive Culture Club with a collection of family friendly resources celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion in the Sea to Sky area. For the entire month of August we have partnered with Darby’s Pub & Liquor Store and The Score Pub on Davie to fundraise for the Vancouver Pride Society. Come September 16th we welcome the return of the “Suck It Cancer” fundraising campaign that has raised over $25,000 to date for the BC Cancer Foundation in collaboration with late artist Chili Thom and BC’s brewing industry leaders: Hops Connect, Summit Labels, Vessel Packaging, BSG Canada and Rahr Malting.

Q & A with brewer Melissa Hogg

Q: Congrats on being the creator of Backcountry’s first Gose! What was your inspiration for your two Blackberry Gose Sours, This Is What It Sounds Like When Doves Cry and This is What It Tastes Like When Doves Cry?

A: There is a blackberry gose that we had at a Grimm Artisan Ales in Brooklyn NY several years back while on a brewers research trip. It was striking to me for how intense it was, so tart, salty and a wild amount of blackberry. It worked. In the summer a bit of salt in beer was just the perfect amount of refreshing and Blackberry is the ultimate summer berry as its very specific to August. And as for the beer name, when I pictured the beer in my mind, I knew it was going to be purple and when I think of purple I think of Prince’s and his iconic album Purple Rain. With the saltiness of this recipe it made me think of tears, hence the name “This is What It Sounds Like When Dove’s Cry”.

Q: What is the best beer and food pairing on the Backcountry Menu these days?

A: I’m going to go classic and say a Margarita pizza and a crisp pilsner. Classic, timeless, season-less.

Q: What’s the best part of your job?

A: The variety. It’s fast paced, there’s a lot of problem solving, you never really know what you’re going to be doing. In particular, at backcountry vs other breweries we have a philosophy that there’s no shit jobs, everyone does everything from brewing to cellar work to packaging. We have a flat hierarchy that is quite unique, it creates an atmosphere that fosters creativity, and everyone contributes.

Q: It’s hard to pick favourites, but what is your top pick for a place to eat in Squamish that isn’t the BCB tasting room?

A: As often as possible I get donuts at Fox and Oak. I was happy to come back from maternity leave because my daughters favourite park was too close to donuts. Her first word was “dono”!

Q: Where is the best spot to drink a beer in Squamish?

A: Anywhere outside.

Q: Do you have any advice for people new to the craft beer scene?

A: Try anything once. Even if you think you might not like it. There’s so much variety and you can usually get a little sip of something before you commit to it. Don’t get constrained to a style or genre that you like. Just try. We’ve all talked to people who say they don’t like sours or IPA’s and then they discover one they love. There’s so much out there, just keep an open mind and ask questions. Don’t feel bullied into thinking you should like something because it’s cool or hip or trendy. No styles are better than any other styles.

Q: What is the soundtrack to your brew day?

A: Loud noises. C02 and Pumps. It’s so loud in here that I never add extra noise.

Q: What beers are you most excited about that are coming up in the schedule?

A: I’m excited about the upcoming rice lager. One last crispy boy for the summer heat. I’ve been gravitating more and more towards well executed lagers. I love many types of beer but that’s the daily drinker.

Q: What inspired you to get into brewing?

A: I’m pretty nerdy and I like beer. I was getting really into drinking beer in university there weren’t that many craft beers. You’d get bored. If you wanted to try new things you made it yourself. I would go to Dan’s home brewing on Hastings street and flip through the binder of recipes. It was 2003… Since then I’ve had many careers from wildlife biologist to managing a compost facility and on the side I kept brewing. I always thought I would enjoy working at a commercial brewery and that I would be really good at it. I applied at Backcountry to be a part-time delivery driver and although I didn’t get that job I was offered some work packaging beer and then started brewing soon after!

Q: What’s your favourite Backcountry beer to date? 

A: I don’t like to pick favourites.

Q: What’s your favourite non-Backcountry beer to date?

A: I’ve had a lot of different beers I like. Locally, a beer I find myself drinking a lot is the Bootsy Farmhouse IPA from House Of Funk Brewing. It has the perfect amounts of funky and crispy, it’s really refreshing. It’s not like anything we brew here so I’m not bored of it.

Well thanks for reading this far! Be sure to follow us on Instagram @backcountrybrewing for the latest updates, cheers!

The Backcountry Brewing Team

To Our Community

We gratefully and respectfully acknowledge that we are writing to you from the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh (Squamish) Nation. 

We wanted to update you on where we are at in our social justice and anti-racism journey.

First, we want to express our sincere gratitude to all of you who provided feedback and comments surrounding our first online post . Thank you for the supportive comments acknowledging our efforts to be courageous and transparent. And we equally thank all of you who have been critical and are holding us accountable.

Many of the comments express a shared conviction towards a brewery culture in B.C. that is diverse and inclusive, and is able to admit mistakes and make corrections. We should all be encouraged at how much our local beer community cares about the state of the community. We at Backcountry are humbled.

Many of you have asked why we did not make a public post sooner.

We struggled with the timing of making a statement. And in retrospect, we should have said something sooner. We simply did not want to put out a public post without having first done some real, tangible work on our end. This was never a PR exercise for us, and we wanted to be sincere in our efforts in becoming an organization that was safe and inclusive. We have been open with many of our clients and vendors who have been asking.

But, in our attempt to avoid any window-dressing, we may have given many the wrong impression. Since the summer of 2020, we have been working to make substantial changes in our structures and culture at Backcountry, and continue to do so. But, we came to learn that approaching this work with positive intentions is not enough.

The reality is that this journey has forced us to think in ways we have not before; as we are a leadership team of mostly white men, this speaks significantly to our privileged positions. In fact, just being able to call this correction and learning a “journey” is in itself a privilege. We acknowledge that while this is a learning experience for us, many Indigenous, Black and people of colour are impacted by casual and more systemic forms of discrimination every day.

Here, we hope to provide context for the many assumptions that arose from our first post and the ensuing discussion online, and give you a better sense of our journey so far.


We want to affirm that in June, one of our employees left, citing an unsafe environment for them to work in.

The truth is clear: we failed. We failed to protect our employees, and we failed to uphold Backcountry’s values as an inclusive workplace. We failed to demonstrate that we value the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) employees. We know that we must take responsibility for our serious missteps, particularly in the context of the land we live and work on: as a business, we are situated on the unceded lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nation, making our misstep that much more hurtful.

A BIPOC employee approached us in late Feb 2020, concerned about a lack of anti-discrimination and anti-racist specific policies at the brewery. After our meeting, we reached out to an American racial equity consultant who had been recommended by this employee. Unfortunately, that possibility had to be tabled as COVID hit soon after. In the midst of trying to adjust to the new reality of a COVID world and survive as a business, we unfortunately lost sight of our initial intentions. As we were looking to reopen our taproom in June, this same employee reminded us that we had yet to follow through on the discussion that we had earlier in the year.  We chose to delay our opening in order to address this oversight. We formed a diversity and inclusion committee made up of employees and ownership with the task of crafting new anti-discrimination policy for Backcountry. The committee worked tirelessly and managed to complete this policy prior to our reopening. Unfortunately, ownership failed to successfully implement this policy due to disagreements over its rollout and application. This ultimately resulted in the resignation of this same BIPOC employee. As we mourned the loss of this employee, we also realized that we did not have the expertise or resources to both analyze what we needed to change and actually implement those changes. While we had positive intentions, our impact is what matters, and our impact was not what anyone wanted. We are so sorry for this. We know we need help to carry out this work, and that it cannot be done on a whim without proper support, which is why we reached out for help.

Many also asked why we haven’t named names or made a more public apology. We had considered this. Unfortunately, what we’ve learned is that even in acknowledging our culpability, even if this shamed the brewery, publicly naming (current and/or former) employees could inadvertently do them harm. In no way would we want to do that. Breaching the agreed confidentiality of internal employment issues could also have the very negative impact of discouraging those from coming forward with any future concerns.

At the same time, we also want to respect our former employee’s privacy and own process of healing and moving forward. For these reasons, we will not name names.

In the spirit of transparency, we want to be open with our community while we are on this journey. The following describes what we have been working towards since last summer. We will also be posting more information and regular updates to our website that will add more context and detail to the work that we are engaging in.

Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

Backcountry Brewing | EDI Timeline
Click to enlarge

We are investing time and resources to push forward a long-term Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy to educate ourselves, create policy, and transform the culture at Backcountry Brewing to one that we can confidently call anti-racist.

We cannot do this work alone; we have a lot to learn and we want to get this right. To that end, we are working with one of Canada’s best EDI consultants and firms.

In June, we connected with Inclusive Excellence Strategy Solutions Inc., a local BIPOC-owned and operated consulting team and began our work. Yes, we’ve done a bit of training, but only as part of a larger, long-term plan, involving a rethink of our structure of accountability, our processes and our workplace culture — both front of house and throughout the brewery. We want to make it clear who we are and who we aim to be: an inclusive, anti-racist brewery.

Training began in August of 2020 and is ongoing. In addition to training, our leadership team also meets and communicates regularly with our consultants for on-going self-reflection and to plan for short-term and longer-term outcomes, specifically, to clarify exactly how the owners, supervisors and staff should respond to the impact of racist or sexist remarks, whether coming from patrons or staff.

We have come to learn that becoming an anti-racist, inclusive and safe brewery requires structures of accountability that support inclusivity and anti-racism. So, we are also in the process of reviewing and rewriting our formal policies that address discrimination and harassment.

We have been collaborating in workshops, inviting all our staff to deeply consider who we are, as Backcountry today, who we will be in the future, and what we will need to be the safe and inclusive brewery in our vision. For us, addressing our issues of discrimination and exclusion, will in many ways build upon our workplace strengths, but will also redefine our workplace culture.

We are committed to ensuring our tasting room is inclusive, and that our full community feels safe, valued and reflected at Backcountry, online and in-person.

As owners, we’re committed to doing the work around the learning and the self-reflection needed for a team of mostly white men. We know it can never be enough, but it is a start — and we are in this for the entire journey. We know that this type of change and self-reflection must go beyond the workplace in order to be authentic, and so we are each dedicated to engaging in personal development.

We know this issue is important to our customers and our community, both in Squamish and around B.C. We invite you to continue to hold us accountable; we take pride in knowing that Backcountry’s customers value inclusion and expect us to be an anti-racist workplace. We also acknowledge Backcountry’s patrons are racially diverse, and for many the experiences of racism are personal.

As we move along and fumble more, learn from our mistakes, and grow as leaders and as a workplace, we hope to share what we’re doing to become a better version of Backcountry Brewing. Again, we do this with a little trepidation, that this gesture be misunderstood as self-serving. That even this post may be seen as self-serving. That said, we still felt the benefits outweighed the risk.

Thank you in advance for your passion for our beer community and for your feedback. 


Suck It Cancer raises $15,000 for BC Cancer Foundation

It’s been one of the weirdest years on record but at Backcountry Brewing we know we can always count on our community to come together for a good cause, and a tasty beer.

Since early last November, proceeds from the 2020 “Suck It Cancer” Pale Ale raised $15,000 to donate to the BC Cancer Foundation. The special release featured a can design collaboration with the estate of Chili Thom, a local artist who succumbed to cancer in 2016.

“It’s been a real treat to see BC beer drinkers step up and show such overwhelming support again even during this crazy, uncertain year,” says Ben Reeder, Marketing Director at Backcountry Brewing. “Almost everyone has been affected by or witnessed the tragic effects of cancer, and Chili was a local hero in the Sea to Sky so it’s really special to see people rally behind this beer and his beautiful artwork on the label. It shows that helping find a cure for this terrible disease is a priority regardless of what else the world throws at us.”

Backcountry brewed 15,000 litres of the “Suck It Cancer” Pale Ale, which was available in cans and kegs across the province. The beer is sold out at the brewery but Reeder says there is still one store holding a few cans for anyone who missed out.

He also adds that the effort would not be possible without the support of generous sponsors and partners within BC’s craft brewing industry: Hops Connect, Vessel Packaging Co, Summit Labels, Rahr Malting, and BSG Canada.  And of course, without the support of the beer drinkers themselves.

“Backcountry Brewing and the loyal craft beer community have knocked it out of the park for the cancer community once again! Thanks to the success of Suck It Cancer we can drive forward world-leading research and bring new hope to British Columbians facing cancer,” says Sarah Roth, President & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation.

Backcountry Brewing and the Chili Thom family both say they intend to keep this train rolling with a new can and beer for 2021.

Main article photograph by Jordan Megahy.

About Chili Tom

Born and raised adventuring in the British Columbia backcountry, Chili Thom was one of Canada’s premier landscape painters and completed over 400 works before being taken by cancer in 2016. His paintings are known for capturing the essence of time spent in the wilderness. “I don’t want to paint a single moment,” Chili said, “I want to capture the experience, the passage of time of watching the sun sink behind a ridge or a wave crashing onto the shore.”

Chili’s estate continues to see artwork for his young daughter.

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