Persephone Brewing – Reinventing Farming and the Beer Business

The Persephone Brewing Company, a Certified B-Corp and social enterprise, has made community and sustainability top priorities.

Persephone's brewhouse is located on an 11-acre piece of land and shared with a handful of farmers. They've created a space where families can come and look at chickens, ducks, watch the bees and learn about circular farming practices. Basically, an outing where you can grab an exceptional craft beer and where everyone can learn.

I'd keep explaining but the guys at Persephone do it better...

Which Persephone beer is your favorite and why?

I love a lot of our beers, but I think I’d have to say our Nitro Dry Irish Stout is my favourite of year-round brew. Its low ABV, silky smooth texture and subtle coffee and toasty notes are just perfect. It's super drinkable and perfect for all occasions. In the summer, our Amarillo Pilsner takes the cake – a crisp, clean pilsner with a bright punch of west coast hops.  

Tasters anyone?

Briefly, can you describe “The Farm?"

The Beer Farm is an 11-acre property located 5 minutes from the Langdale Ferry Terminal in Gibsons, BC. The brewery operations on the property consist of the brewhouse and tasting room, our warehouse and our cold storage. Our agricultural operations consist of 1-acre of hops in full production (we grow Cascade, Centennial & Goldings); 5-acres of hops in development; 1-acre of food crops; and a small apiary with a few bee hives.

What is the most sustainable/innovative practice found at The Farm?

Breweries are extremely water-intensive, with ratios of volume of water used, compared to the beer produced, varying between 3:1 and 10:1. Persephone has made a significant investment of labour and capital in efforts to recycle large amounts of runoff water for additional farm uses. Currently, PBC uses approximately 2 litres of water, for every litre of beer produced.

In addition to recycling the water from the brewery’s operations, a high volume of organic matter is created in the brewing process. Rather than sending the spent grain to the landfill or to be trucked away for animal feed, Persephone has been closing the loop on their waste products. PBC has invested their by-product into the future productivity of the soil since the first brew. 

Spent grain is also a great source of nitrogen and organic matter for the compost pile if utilized and managed in the correct way. Persephone’s brewers and farm workers also collect the yeast cake and any other fine particulates separately. Then they either compost these or apply them directly to the plants on the farm as fertilizer.

What are the advantages of creating a brewery directly on a farm?

Farming is definitely a labour of love and the benefits include the beauty and fulfillment of growing something yourself. Seeing the hop bines strung up in spring and summer provides a hyper-local experience for our customers, who are able to actually see the ingredients in their beer being grown.

As I mentioned, we're growing food as well - last summer we set up our first farm-gate market at the brewery (in partnership with other local farmers) and we were able to offer fresh local produce to our customers alongside their growler fills. We're also working on providing our staff with subsidized access to organic veggie-boxes from our food crops this coming season.

What has been the most memorable moment for Persephone since its launch

Seeing the sheer amount of community support for our business and our beer on the Sunshine Coast.

Beautiful signage

Who inspires you?

Patagonia has to be at the top of this list for their unwavering commitment to grassroots environmental activism, for being a leader in sustainable supply chain management and proving that business can and should be used as a force for good.

We're also inspired by breweries such as New Belgium Brewing Co. in Colorado, Hopworks in Portland and Beau’s Organic Brewing in Ontario. All our fellow Certified B-Corporations are pushing the envelope on sustainable brewing practices and are having positive impacts on their employees and communities.

What is the Tough Kegger Competition

Tough Kegger is our annual anniversary party and one of our major fundraisers for our non-profit partner, Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living. The event itself is a 7km relay race across rugged west coast terrain, where teams of 4 must carry a 20L keg the entire distance while encountering obstacles such as ‘shot-gun-alley.’ We usually get a huge showing of brewery teams from around Lower Mainland, BC as well as a number of ‘civilian’ teams made-up of community members.

The event closes with ‘Beer Farm Fest’ where we throw a party and tap-takeover from all participating breweries at the farm. There’s always live music, farm-games, and food. It's an awesome event for a good cause.

Persephone Brewery Tough Kegger

Credit: Persephone on Instagram

You can learn more about Persephone Brewing Company on their website, TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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