After posting about Turning Point Brewery’s Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ale last week, I received an interesting email about Turning Point and their future plans. I thought the email was worth sharing. Cheers – Erik
I was reading through some of your blog entries recently, and happened to see that you were looking for more information on Turning Point Brewery. I can gladly give you some information, as well a bit of their history of how they became a brewery. I will be honest though, of all the local breweries I have dealt with in the past, this is one brewery I choose not to build a strong relationship with. I will get to that point in a minute, and I must say, it is a completely biassed opinion.
Turning Point Brewery first started brewing very recently. Their first beer on the market, you can find in many stores, and will never find in a restaurant. The beer is masked as another brewery – Hell’s Gate Brewing. This was how they kept their “imported brewers” busy while they planned their marketing for the “Stanley Park 1897 Belgian Amber Ale”. The brewery itself, was planned to use the wind turbine, however it does not produce enough power… so it is powered from another source to run purely for “show”. I have been told that they are looking into other forms of renewable energy to try and eventually become sustainable. Their brewers (I might not remember 100%) have been brought over from Scotland, England, Belgium, and Germany. That’s right. 4 brewers! Their brewery is STATE OF THE ART. These guys have everything… and I would say one of the best setups in North America – or at least in the top 5.
Here is where the problem comes in. The original idea behind Turning Point Brewery, was to make local beers that would be different. Something I would think best to compete with the imported brands that are becoming ever so pricey. However, they have decided to take a different approach. Their marketing campaign is to do whatever it takes to remove local breweries from any establishment they approach. Essentially they’re stepping on every toe in town.
The brewery is owned by a larger distribution company, and they act like it. The Mark Anthony Group is at the helm, and they are looking to take a very large stake in the Vancouver market, attempting to push the little guys out. If you have not heard of the Mark Anthony Group before, it is pretty easily summed up. They carry a very large wine portfolio that offers cheap prices rather than quality. They also represented Corona for many years, until recently, hence wanting to open their own brewery. The brewery was even built in a very commercial area… Annacis Island – if you’re curious to see it for yourself, it’s not far from the sewage plant (hence why they don’t tell you where the brewery is!)
I’m not always this bitter about beer, so don’t take me the wrong way. I’m just very disappointed to see such a nice brewery end up in the hands of a corporation, rather than someone who truly loves to make beer.