Hathi and the Rise of Craft Brands
The Hathi Express | November 8th, 2016
With craft beer as an integral part of the Vancouver culture for years now, and steadily gaining footholds in the Okanagan, it comes as no surprise that the explosion of interest would make its way to the Fraser Valley. Abbotsford in particular, arguably the lively metropolitan epicentre of the valley in its own way, has a burgeoning craft beer scene that is riding on the wave that has swept BC and promises to move the city forward. By creating a community around the enjoyment of craft beer, raising residents’ awareness of brewing practices that use local ingredients and support the local economy, and introducing a cultural cornerstone enjoyable by longtime Abbotsford residents, passersby, and the newly-legal youth crowd alike, craft beer is looking to be a key player in Abbotsford’s evolution.
Compared to the booming cities of Kelowna and Vancouver, with their bustling downtowns and massive populations, Abbotsford is pretty quiet. As such, the craft brewing industry reflects this. Abbotsford has only four microbreweries to date. The oldest, Dead Frog Brewery, was opened in 2006 and rebranded in 2012. The other three have sprung up in recent years, reflecting the newfound rise of public interest in craft brewing. Old Abbey Ales and Ravens Brewing Company were opened within seven months of each other in 2015, and Field House Brewing Co. was opened this past January. Most of these breweries emphasise their connectedness to the location and resources of Abbotsford. With a strong agricultural profile, the Fraser Valley has the right conditions to feed the craft beer craze.
In fact, craft beer might just be the perfect thing for Abbotsford. Aside from providing people an option to replace the standard lagers pumped out by the megacorporations, it also provides an opportunity for craft beer drinkers to connect with the people who give Abbotsford its character: small-time local business owners, farmers, brewers, and other families and people with a taste for craft beer. It brings Abbotsford back to a simple, pastoral sense of connection and interdependence. One of Abbotsford’s latest entrants into the realm of craft beer has been Hathi Brewing. Operating out of the Old Abbey Ales premises, their opening beverage came in the form of the Hathi Indian Session Ale, a hallmark of their devotion to “bold, local, craft with an Indian twist.” The crosscultural influence is an example of the different backgrounds of Abbotsford residents being brought together by a single uniting factor – their love of beer.
Everywhere from the Raven offering varieties for people just getting into craft beer, or the Field House providing open social spaces for families, friends, as well as community events, these breweries are more than just venues where you can stop for a beer: they’re quickly becoming physical and cultural landmarks in Abbotsford’s rich community.
If you live in Abbotsford or the Fraser Valley, or are passing by any time soon, don’t hesitate to hit up any of these breweries. Better yet, book your tickets to one of the festivals. Abbotsford is catching up with the craft beer boom, and it’s bringing residents right back to their roots.