The Spotlight is a series of interviews with the craft beer heroes behind local organizations who are helping grow the beer scene in our fine city. This week we chat to Gord Arbogast from Hastings Liquor Store about the changing beer landscape in the area.
How long has the Hastings Liquor Store been around? The present ownership group took over and renovated a previous BCLB store in 2008.
There have been a lot of changes to the Hastings Sunrise area recently, how has this impacted on what beers you carry? Hastings-Sunrise is somewhat in transition these with a lot of young families and, for lack of a better word, hipsters moving into the area joining the longer term working class population. This change has increased interest in craft beer in a big way so we strive to maintain a diverse and interesting selection to meet that demand.
What are your most popular craft beer products at the moment? As always, Fat Tug seems to be the perennial bestseller but there’s huge interest in the newer, more local breweries such as P49, Powell Street, Four Winds and Bomber. There always seems to be interest in trying new and/or seasonal offerings, particularly in the 650ml format.
How has the opening of local breweries like P49, Coal Harbour Brewing and Powell Street Brewing impacted on your business? It’s been nothing but great for the craft beer sales here. Our customers are much more beer-savvy and often come to the store looking for something they’ve tasted at the brewery. We also send a lot of traffic the other way.
How do you select what beers you carry? We follow beer blogs and sites such as Beer Advocate and Rate Beer, listen to our customers’ requests/feedback and keep in close contact with a lot of breweries. We also drink lots of beer !
What is your favourite beer to drink at this time of year? I’m a big fan of saisons and as winter ends earlier here than the rest of Canada I’m starting to move from the darker stuff to them.
Where is your favourite place to go for a pint in Hastings Sunrise? There’s been an influx of good, small independent restaurants into the area but the neighbourhood is still under-served when it comes to drinking spots. Both longtime establishment The Slocan and the relatively new The Brighton offer a few craft selections. The Parallel 49 tasting room is a great spot as well.
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