Farm to table is always good, but how about farm to pint? A family just outside of Pemberton is gearing up to offer beer made entirely from barley and hops grown on their farm.
Will Miller, who is starting the new business with his father Bruce and mother Brenda, said the rough plan has been in the works for the past four years.
The Miller farm has been operating for over 100 years. While the family mostly focuses on organic potatoes, they’ve experimented with plenty of different crops over the years.
Now they’re adding barley and hops to the mix — ingredients they’ll be using to open Pemberton’s first farm brewery, Pemberton Valley BeerWorks.
“There are a lot of great breweries, they have their own recipes; they’re very creative. They’re pushing boundaries on what is new and what is exciting,” said Miller. “But in the end they go to the same store and buy the same ingredients.”
“The basics of our beer is something not available to anyone else. It’s very unique. It’s great for us because we’re really farmers first, so it’s great to have an opportunity to showcase what we grow in such a cool venue.”
The family has added 20 acres of barley to their property, enough supply for a brewery operation around half the size of Whistler’s Coast Mountain Brewing, according to Miller.
The family is currently renovating an existing barn to host visitors, who will be able to taste the beer on site. The heavy brewery equipment is due to be installed in November.
As a farm brewery, the Millers can offer tasting and the sale of products, but they need a liquor licence to serve full drinks. That approval process is in the works, and the family hopes to begin welcoming visitors this winter once they have government approval.
Once the liquor licence is in place, BeerWorks will be able to host visitors for drinks and food and show how the ingredients are grown – and the work that goes into it. The farm is located about 20 minutes north of downtown Pemberton.
While the dream has been a long time coming, the Millers decided about a year ago to get serious and work on a business plan.
Will Miller said each person in the family is playing a different role — while he focuses on the business side, his dad the farming, and his mom the brewing.
“It’s our family farm. I grew up here, my dad grew up here and so (on),” said Miller. “We’ve all kind of played our role in it and helped each other out and made it this far.”
He adds: “People are really excited about it. Even without knowing much about what goes into it, they can easily get the concept.
“It naturally generates a lot of excitement. You have to go where the products grow.”