Beer, Wine & Spirits in Nanaimo

Select Local Merchants

Years ago, Derrick and Donna Smith began brewing a quartet of ales together, the steaming vats of barley filling their small facility with steam. They quickly gained the attention of beer drinkers and critics and expanded into a 10,000-square-foot space. There, they invite you to check out new craft brews such as Classic Nut Brown Ale, Bold Belgian Pale Ale, and Seasonal Citrus Wit. Rotating seasonal suds fill the recognizable frog-emblazoned bottles with beers whose flavors vary with the season. Derrick and Donna offer clients a peek inside their operation with tours and tastings.

27272 Gloucester Way
Aldergrove,
BC
CA

Dev and Joanne McIntyre first began to experiment with winemaking after moving to the Mt. Lehman area in 1984. They tended to their small backyard vineyard and carefully tracked how different grapes grew and developed in the region's distinctive climate. After sharing these data and collaborating with fellow viticulturalists, Dev and Jo narrowed the list of possibilities down to a few specific varietals, which they felt could ripen evenly along the relatively cool and precipitation-prone coastline.

When they purchased Salt Spring Vineyards in 2008, they set about growing some of these grapes, also opting to fashion pleasantly sweet wines from organic apples and locally grown blackberries. Although their very first experiments occasionally had to be recycled as wine vinegars, grape jellies, or aperitifs for pampered houseplants, they continued to hone their craft with each and every harvest. Currently, the selection boasts a range of styles, including a crisp, dry pinot gris and an unctuous cabernet libre that balances its dark fruit flavours with firm tannins. As a demonstration of their commitment to the environment, Dev and Jo also adhere to sustainable growing practices and avoid using any herbicides or pesticides in their fields.

151 Lee Rd
Salt Spring Island,
BC
CA

While expecting their last child, Janet Docherty and Rick Pipes decided they wanted to spend more time together and thus embarked on a mission to open their own business. This choice led them to purchase Merridale Ciderworks Corp., which they soon expanded with a larger cellar and new cider tasting room. Today, the couple and their staff lasso trees and pick apples across an approximately 13-acre orchard, which mirrors the soil, climate, and alveolar trills of European cider regions. After pressing the fruit into 100 per cent pure apple juice, they ferment ciders inside stainless steel tanks using chemical-free, sustainable practices. They use this process to craft seven unique cider varieties along with three dessert wines and a motley crew of spirits. Janet and Rick also invite customers on behind-the-scenes tours to discover their cider-making process and favourite stunt cars. They host events such as weddings and complement drinks with hearty bistro fare crafted from local ingredients.

1230 Merridale Road
Cobble Hill,
BC
CA

Though it?s the newest winery in Richmond, LuLu Island Winery boasts a deeper history. The buisness gets its name from its location on Richmond Island, which was formerly known as "LuLu Island." According to local legend, LuLu was the name of the mistress of the man who first established the land, and the scandal eventually compelled the community to change the name. Today, the winery produces award-winning red and white wines, fruit wines, and ice wines on this historic spot.

LuLu?s resident winemaker has more than 30 years of experience crafting fine wines. Using grapes from the nearby Okanagan Valley, he churns out vintages such as the 2007 Riesling Chardonnay white ice wine, which snagged a gold medal at the All Canadian Wine Championships in 2011. LuLu?s Cabernet Franc, a peppery medium-bodied red wine, won a bronze medal at the International Wine Awards the same year. But it?s the sweet fruit wines, flavored with cranberry, blueberry, and passionfruit, that keep the locals and the humminbirds coming back.

16880 Westminster Hwy
Richmond,
BC
CA

What's proper etiquette for the queen's sommelier? West Coast Wine Education's John Gerum confronted this question head on when he served Queen Elizabeth II. Apparently he made the right choice, as he went on to pour wine for prime ministers, presidents, provincial premiers, and cultural icons during his 20-year career. Gerum's achievement distills three generations of fine-dining experience that was passed down from his father, a chef, and his grandfather, a maitre d'. Wine education was always his passion, so when starting out, he sought personal instruction from the master sommelier Andrew Lalibert? and demonstrated a palate refined enough to earn him membership and certification from the International Sommelier Guild. Gerum often merges his know-how with other wine educators to cultivate a roster of classes and hone their delivery. These experts join in delineating scotch terroir and describing the bouquet of a student's favourite pinot-stained shirt with an easy professionalism that has enthralled groups of up to 300 people. They share their expertise with casual drinkers and professionals during two-hour workshops, in consultation for store openings and events, and through appearances on Global TV.

650 West 41st Avenue
Vancouver,
BC
CA

Haely and Juhan Lindau had seemingly unrelated degrees in commerce and molecular biology. But they soon realized how complementary their backgrounds actually were to a career in winemaking and beer brewing. Armed with business and libation-crafting knowledge, the duo flung open the doors of Broadway Brewing and Winemaking in 1992, becoming the first on-premises winemaking shop in Vancouver. At the DIY winery, the owners and their knowledgeable staff guide students of all interests and skill levels through the process of making their own libations, assisting them in selecting the right supplies for home-brewing endeavours before giving them advice on what to do if beer starts drinking itself.

2801 West 16th Avenue
Vancouver,
BC
CA