With the 10th Annual BC Craft Beer Awards behind us, it’s time to update our data sets to tally up who is the “creme de la creme” of craft beer in the province.
As we do every year, we take stock of all the awards handed out and compare them to the past years to get a broader understanding of what’s taking place in BC’s craft beer scene.
Now, there are some caveats to go over before we dig into this year’s data. First, by no means does using this model mean that some breweries are better than others; what it does mean, is that some breweries are better at winning medals than others (more on that in a sec).
Second, our data only goes as far back as 2015. While it does not capture the full 10 years of awards from the BC Beer awards, it does capture a significant portion of them, and we’d argue to wager, outside of the organization themselves, we have the most complete data.
Third, medals counted are only related to the actual beer style wins. We do not include the creative awards nor do we count the categories of “best in show”, “brewery of the year”, etc. Only medals that have bronze, silver and gold.
So what does this year’s data reveal?
First let’s take a look at the top five most awarded breweries in the province.
- Dageraad is BC’s most awarded brewery. They have an astounding 22 medals over five years, and have never gone a year without a win.
- In second place is Steel & Oak with a just as admirable medal count of 18, also winning each and every year since 2015.
- Parallel 49 come in third with 15.
- (TIE) Brassneck and Strange Fellows are tied at 14 medals each.
- Steamworks closes the top five with 13.
If you were to compare the top five to year’s past, you’ll notice there isn’t much change occurring, more so just a reshuffling of the top five here and there. Honestly there is a strong likelihood this doesn’t change; as long as Dageraad, Steel & Oak, Brassneck and Strange Fellows keep their standards high these breweries are practically uncatchable now.
Other interesting things to note from the data:
- You can argue all day long about the merits or harms of contract brewing, but from a medals perspective, they simply aren’t wowing. Of the labels under Craft Collective, only Doan’s performs at the BC Beer Awards.
- No one should even bother attacking the Belgian categories. Dageraad took home four of the six total medals this year and have consistently dominated.
- Bomber Brewing did surprisingly well this year, with one of their best year’s on record. Guess the sale to Donnelly Group worked in their favour.
- A large assortment of East Van breweries did not win this year (or possibly did not submit). We’re talking Postmark, Strathcona, East Van Brewing, Coal Harbour, Luppolo, Superflux, Callister and Powell.
- KPU’s brewing program has won a total of seven medals in the past five years, five of which came from this year alone. Just incredible.
- Four Winds continues to barely participate in the awards. Despite them being one of the highest awarded breweries in the country from the Canadian Beer Awards, they only took home a silver this year, to bump their total medals to four. It’s a drastic difference between the two awards ceremonies. (note: this is an editorial assumption, there is also a chance Four Winds is submitting more and not winning, but that’s also highly unlikely due to how drastically different these results are.)
Interesting to see how all this plays out as we continue on. It does seem like medals are being awarded to a more diverse set of breweries, making it harder to consistently win year-over-year (with the exception of a notable few). However, a lot of breweries are submitting for a concentrated few categories, aka IPA, while others like Amber or Brown have very little submissions and therefore a higher likelihood of receiving a medal.