The growth of the craft brewing, cider and distillery industries is no secret in B.C. The B.C. Government estimates the number of craft brewers in has more than doubled since 2010, from 54 breweries to 118 in 2016.

The IAF is supporting this rapidly expanding sector by investing in market research, innovation, local and international sales. Since August 2013, IAF has delivered more than $490,000 in federal and provincial funding to 14 projects, ranging from innovating the spirit distilling process, to supporting cider export, and assisting the local marketing efforts of craft brews. 

Brewery-Success-small-1 Brewery-Success-small-2

With the resurgence of craft brewing and distilling, the interest in and demand for specialty malts is growing. Malted grains provide the necessary enzymes for the starch to sugar conversion in fermenting alcohol, as well as much of the important flavour and aroma in beer and spirits such as whisky. The art of malting grains is centuries old, and while small-scale malting used to be commonplace, in North America the industry is dominated by a handful of large malting houses.

With support through the Canada-B.C. Agri-Innovation program, Pemberton Distillers embarked on a one-year pilot project to design and build a micro-malting machine, and test the feasibility of a small-scale micro-malting facility to produce local specialty and custom malted grains for the growing craft brewing and distilling industries in BC.

Pemberton Distillers is a certified B.C. craft distiller specializing in organic spirits, including single malt whisky.

“Our goal has always been to showcase the terroir of the Pemberton Valley in our spirits,” says Lorien Schramm, director of product development. “When you get a Scottish peated malt, it’s something distinctive to that area. The malting machine gives us the ability to make custom malts for our whisky using Pemberton peat or Pemberton wood.”

Overall, the process worked well to produce small batches of custom malt for distilling, but will need to be refined to produce the volume of malt needed by brewers.

“There is a lot of interest from craft brewers,” says Lorien. “We are really interested in seeing how we can grow that as well.”

Funding: $14,775.00 through the Canada-B.C. Agri-Innovation Program. [INN198]



File No. Project Title Project Lead IAF’s Share ($) Program Funding*
A0770 The Current Feasibility and Working Business Models for Small Scale Commercial Hop Farming in B.C. Persephone Brewing Company Inc. 25,700.00 SNF
BL100 Strategic Branding, Labelling, In-store Promotions, and Communication to drive Sales/Revenue Growth The Liberty Distillery 8,025.00 BL
BL133 Howling Moon’s “Rooted in B.C.” Cider Revolution Okanagan Epicurean Enterprises Inc. d/b/a Howling Moon Cider House 11,875.00 BL
BL140 Bliss…a different kind of Buzz! Meadow Vista Honey Wines 9,921.00 BL
EX127 Howe Sound Brewing Eastern United States Export Promotion Howe Sound Brewing Company Ltd 11,400.00 EX
EX183 Promotion of the X Four Vodka in the USA market Von Albrecht & Associates 12,568.32 EX
EX221 Sea Cider USA Export Development via Tradeshow & In-market Visit to Washington Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse 2,525.00 EX
EX226 VIP Event and Custom Agricultural Seminar for Florida Trade Mission BC Hop Company Ltd. 4,750.00 EX
EX264 Sea Cider USA Export Development via Cider Conference Attendance & In-market Visit to Portland, Oregon Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse 2,625.00 EX
INN080 Transforming the Okanagan Apple Sector through Hard Cider & Blends The BX Press Inc. 46,451.00 INN
INN198 Micro-maltery Pilot Project Pemberton Distillery Inc. 14,775.00 INN
INN254 Development of a Small Scale In-bottle Pasteurization Process & Equipment Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse 51,243.00 INN
INN273 Regional Hops Drying Kiln (Pilot) BC Hop Company Ltd. 285,000.00 INN
SP176 Exploring the Viability of Hard Cider as a Value-Added product for Okanagan Apple Growers Dobernigg Orchards 5,969.00 CAAP


BL – B.C. Government’s Buy Local Program (Government of British Columbia)
CAAP – former federal Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
EX – B.C. Agrifoods and Seafood Export Program (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Government of British Columbia through the Growing Forward 2 Initiative)
INN – Canada-B.C. Agri-Innovation Program (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Government of British Columbia through the Growing Forward 2 Initiative)
SNF – former federal-provincial Safety Nets framework