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.

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 TitleProject LeadIAF’s Share ($)Program Funding*
A0770The Current Feasibility and Working Business Models for Small Scale Commercial Hop Farming in B.C.Persephone Brewing Company Inc.25,700.00SNF
BL100Strategic Branding, Labelling, In-store Promotions, and Communication to drive Sales/Revenue GrowthThe Liberty Distillery8,025.00BL
BL133Howling Moon’s “Rooted in B.C.” Cider RevolutionOkanagan Epicurean Enterprises Inc. d/b/a Howling Moon Cider House11,875.00BL
BL140Bliss…a different kind of Buzz!Meadow Vista Honey Wines9,921.00BL
EX127Howe Sound Brewing Eastern United States Export PromotionHowe Sound Brewing Company Ltd11,400.00EX
EX183Promotion of the X Four Vodka in the USA marketVon Albrecht & Associates12,568.32EX
EX221Sea Cider USA Export Development via Tradeshow & In-market Visit to WashingtonSea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse2,525.00EX
EX226VIP Event and Custom Agricultural Seminar for Florida Trade MissionBC Hop Company Ltd.4,750.00EX
EX264Sea Cider USA Export Development via Cider Conference Attendance & In-market Visit to Portland, OregonSea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse2,625.00EX
INN080Transforming the Okanagan Apple Sector through Hard Cider & BlendsThe BX Press Inc.46,451.00INN
INN198Micro-maltery Pilot ProjectPemberton Distillery Inc.14,775.00INN
INN254Development of a Small Scale In-bottle Pasteurization Process & EquipmentSea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse51,243.00INN
INN273Regional Hops Drying Kiln (Pilot)BC Hop Company Ltd.285,000.00INN
SP176Exploring the Viability of Hard Cider as a Value-Added product for Okanagan Apple GrowersDobernigg Orchards5,969.00CAAP

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