Nestled in the captivating outdoor haven of the Fraser Valley, Old Yale Brewing has embarked on a journey to perfect the artistry and innovation of independent craft brewing. With two Craft Brewery + Kitchen locations, Old Yale Brewing has become a staple in British Columbia’s flourishing craft beer scene. The original brewery, situated in Chilliwack near the gateway to the pristine River Valley, captures the essence of the region’s natural beauty. Old Yale Brewing is more than just a brewery; it’s an invitation to explore the marriage of craftsmanship and adventure in every sip. We discussed Old Yale Brewing with Brand & Marketing Strategist Heather Perdue to find out a bit more about the booming craft beer industry in BC.
What is your business called and what does it do?
Business Name: Old Yale Brewing. We are an independent Craft Brewery located in BC’s outdoor adventure playground; the Fraser Valley, with two Craft Brewery + Kitchen locations. Our original location is located in Chilliwack near the gateway to the pristine and breathtaking River Valley. This 220-seat restaurant is home to not only our 11,000 sqft purpose-built brewery but also our Craft Brewery + Kitchen featuring our 5,000 sq ft Front Porch Patio, the Campfire Kitchen airstream food truck and our Old Yale Beer & Gear Store. Our newest location is located in the heart of beautiful and historic Downtown Abbotsford. This 10,000 sqft, 200-seat Craft Brewery + Kitchen opened its door this past April and is the home to our second 10-hectolitre brewery, our cosy heated and covered patio, the indoor Games Lodge and our Old Yale Beer & Gear Store.
What made you want to do this work?
Old Yale Brewing was crafted to celebrate craft beer, the outdoors and our community. Being located in the beautiful community and outdoor playground of the Fraser Valley gives us a fresh perspective – a perspective that not only shapes who we are but also how we approach the craft of making great beer and how we run our Craft Brewery + Kitchens.
What problem did you want to solve with the business?
We opened our doors way back in 1999 and since then have stayed true to our roots, seeking the perfect balance using the finest, all-natural ingredients to craft our lineup of beers. Our entire award-winning lineup – from the crisp, straightforward Knotty Blonde Ale to Canada’s best beer, Sasquatch Stout – is made to reflect this balance, inspired by the landscape that surrounds us.
Our Craft Brewery + Kitchens are not just the vessels we use to serve the award-winning lineup of hand-crafted brews, they are unique and comfortable hubs built passionately and thoughtfully for our community to gather in. At both of our locations, we pride ourselves in offering exceptional experiences for our community, because they deserve it. At Old Yale Brewing, we always guarantee that you can always count on us for delicious food, great beer and even better friends!
Who are your clientele/demographics?
Our customers are our community; our friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, local businesses, everyone! We pride ourselves in having a beer for every craft beer drinker but also having many other options available for those seeking other adventures like our cocktails, mocktails, wine, cider and of course, our delicious Campfire Kitchen menu offering many options for food lovers alike! Our goal is to be your down-to-earth and approachable, yet crafty and adventurous friends, so regardless of your level of craft beer awareness and knowledge, we got you!
*Our beer is of course a 19+ product, but our Craft Brewery + Kitchen’s welcome explorers of all ages!
How does your business make money? How does it work?
Our Craft Brewery + Kitchens are restaurants located in Chilliwack and Abbotsford offering 15 beers on tap, a selection of Wine, Cider and Cocktails and a campfire-inspired menu that suits every appetite. At both of these locations, beyond what is available to enjoy as you dine in (or order for takeout or on Skip the Dishes), we also have our Beer & Gear Store where we sell beers to go in formats like 4-packs, 6-packs, 12-packs and Growlers alongside our Old Yale apparel and merchandise.
And of course, our beers are available on tap in many local restaurants and bars and in BC and Private Liquor Stores throughout the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the Okanagan and surrounding areas as well as out of province in Alberta and BC.
Where in the city can we find your profession?
Abbotsford – 33738 Laurel Street, Abbotsford BC
Chilliwack – 404-44550 South Sumas Road, Chilliwack BC
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.
Right now, the absolute best question customers could ask us is “What is Old Yale Brewing doing to stand out this holiday season?” And the answer could not be more exciting! This is a bit of a shameless plug for “Miracle at Old Yale Brewing”! Starting November 20, both of our Craft Brewery + Kitchen locations will be hosting Miracle pop-ups – a Christmas-themed and whimsical pop-up cocktail bar that serves holiday beverages in a VERY VERY VERY festive setting. With kitschy holiday décor, professionally developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best office party you’ve ever been to, Miracle at Old Yale Brewing is sure get even the grouchiest grinches in the holiday spirit. Throughout this pop up we’ll be hosting a number of events too like Brunch with Santa, Live Christmas Music, Wreath Making Workshops, a Holiday Sip & Shop and more! You can learn everything there is to know about Miracle at Old Yale here.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part… that’s a tough one to narrow down! It’s likely a tie between hand-crafting unique and delicious brews that bring joy to people’s taste buds AND crafting the atmosphere and experiences within our restaurants for our customers. There’s just something incredibly satisfying about turning a handful of ingredients into a beer, cocktail or menu item that people can share and enjoy AND the creativity and detail that goes into creating and guiding the experiences within our locations that allow people the space and menu options to have good beer and great food with even better friends!
The worst part… Maybe dealing with the occasional brewing mishap (mistakes happen!) or having a menu item we were so excited about that just didn’t hit like we thought it would. While we focus on being down-to-earth and approachable, we’re also, at our roots, artisanal food and drink lovers and sometimes you have wild, innovative and new ideas that we think will be a hit and sometimes the community just doesn’t share our excitement. But at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, experimenting with new flavours and styles, until we find our masterpieces that the community loves!
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
At Old Yale Brewing, we love a good beer pun! We consider ourselves to be Eternal Hoptimists; never look at your beer glass as half empty, look at it as halfway to your next beer. Cheesy we know, but we can’t help ourselves!
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?
Oh boy, it’s so hard to narrow this down. We love all of our local neighbours in the Fraser Valley, so here’s a little list (in no particular order):
Local Harvest – Chilliwack
Smoking Gun Coffee – Chilliwack
PickEco Refills – Chilliwack
Button Box Boutique – Chilliwack
Lepp’s Market – Abbotsford
Pastry Portal – Abbotsford
Spruce Collective – Abbotsford & Chilliwack
Banter Ice Cream – Abbotsford & Chilliwack