Aaron Colyn’s booth at the 11th annual Hops Festival on Saturday was surrounded by people wanting a pour from the debut of Twin City Brewing’s offerings. The buzz was positive—it was a beer festival, after all—for the upcoming opening of Colyn’s brewery on Margaret Street.
Colyn hopes to keep that vibe going when he opens later this spring, offering a place to gather and nosh as well as sample his beer. It’s a dream he’s had for several years, and has put sweat equity and planning into it since he launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2014.
A similar buzz could be heard in the Alberni Valley a few weeks ago when the Hupacasath First Nation announced they were ready to produce Kleekhoot Gold Maple Syrup, just as soon as the Bigleaf Maple trees in the Hupacasath’s community forest start running sap.
Coming from a community that has long made money off its natural resources, changing that way of thinking to see the benefit in small value-added products like maple syrup is sweet.
This kind of diversity is good for our city. It shows outsiders we have confidence in our economy, and it gives residents something different to experience.
While others are expending their energy arguing about municipal budget items, or debating the merit—or not—of various entities in the community, there are people in the background who are quietly going about their business and doing it successfully in the city.
While a craft brewery and a maple syrup farm may be small entities on their own, collectively they represent a positive sign for the Alberni Valley’s economy.