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Brewing August: Vancouver's newest craft brewery promises beach vibes all year long

"August in Vancouver is a time in Vancouver where everyone's happy and in good spirits and at the beach."

Western Vancouver will get something it's been sorely missing during the independent brewery boom in B.C.

A brewery.

When Brewing August opens its doors it'll be the furthest west of any independent brewery. Those doors will be at 1614 West 3rd Ave. in the border area between Kitsilano and Fairview, sometimes called the Armoury District.

The idea brews

Brewing August was founded by brothers-in-law Travis Rea and Tate Lillies (the brewery is a trio now, with Adam Jones) in late 2020. Rea, a chef by trade, had spent some time outside the food industry as the hours worked better for family life. But as the pandemic wore on and he had more time on his hand, his passion for beer grew.

"I really got into it when COVID came," Rea tells Vancouver Is Awesome. "My rudimentary equipment kept getting better and better and better and the beer was, basically from the first batch — aside from a couple that didn't turn out — good."

Lillies has a background in software and marketing and the two decided to start making a go of it.

"He's a lot of the brains, I'm a bit more of the brawn," Rea says. "I have the brewing knowledge and the skills and the palet to compliment his ability to put together a decent financial plan."

The pair came up with a brand and started making beer under the Brewing August name with the help of a few other breweries, like Vancouver's Settlement Brewing and Five Roads Brewing in Langley (near where Rea lives). They're now working with Patina Brewing in Coquitlam while they prepare their own site.

"We wanted to start with a brand first," says Rea. "So the idea is to really capture the essence of summertime and outside. It ties in nicely with our location, closer to the Kits beach area."

"August in Vancouver is a time in Vancouver where everyone's happy and in good spirits and at the beach," Lillies adds.

CAN-do beer

So far they have four core beers they can, and Rea's interested in branching out once the brewery is settled.

"They all have a unique flavour to them, but if there's a similarity to them all...colour is one, and they're all bright summertime flavours," he says.

He loves IPAs, he adds, but Brewing August won't be an IPA-only place. Right now their core beers include a blonde IPA, a golden IPA, a Citra pilsner and a pale ale.

Western promises

Lillies notes that in a bit of coincidence liquor stores in Vancouver's western regions have been the most eager to buy-in and they're eager to set up shop in the area. He wanted to find a space outside of the East Vancouver brewing hub that's developed. They found their new home in a light industrial area just a few minutes' walk from Granville Island.

"It was almost like a good omen that we found this location," he says. "This is the area that really resonated with the brand."

Right now they're waiting on the permitting process; they got the space in October and had to wait until February for the first round of permits. Now they're working on building permits.

While it's been slow process, Lillies says he's hopeful they'll be open for the summer. They're aiming to create a nano-brewery with a taproom attached. Beer would be available to go, as well.

"We're trying to create something that has a beach vibe to it, a backyard vibe," he says.

Even though they don't have their own space yet, there are several places to try their beers across Vancouver and the metro area.