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Vancouver Island brewery takes inspiration from ties to B.C.’s first brewmaster

Victoria’s Hoyne Brewing Co. is locally renowned for their well-crafted traditional European-style beers, using the finest malts from Europe and the best ingredients available
The Hoyne Brewing team.

For over three decades, Sean Hoyne of Hoyne Brewing Co. has been brewing B.C. beer that is interesting, flavourful, and enjoyable at every level.

Before founding his own brewery, Hoyne was known in the Victoria community for his brewing work at Swan’s Brewpub, Buckerfields Brewery, and Canoe Pub, which spanned nearly 20 cumulative years. In 1989, Hoyne began an apprenticeship with Frank Appleton, B.C.'s first brewmaster and founder of B.C.’s first brewery; together, they established Buckerfields Brewery and Swans Brewpub. A decade later, Hoyne opened Canoe Pub in 1998 and spent the next 13 years brewing award-winning batches of fine lagers as the head brewmaster. 

In summer 2011, he and wife Chantal took possession of a small warehouse in the Rock Bay neighbourhood, which is known today as Victoria’s brewery district. The establishment of Hoyne’s family-owned and operated craft brewery was the fulfillment of the brewmaster’s life-long dream.

Starting with a small eight-hectolitre brewing system, Hoyne Brewing began filling hand-signed growler bottles with their very first batches of beer in December 2011. Since then, the brewery has expanded to include a new 70 hectolitre brewhouse, 70, 140 and 210 hectolitre fermentation and brite tanks, an Italian-built bottling line, and most recently, a state of the art canning line.

To this day, Hoyne Brewing continues a tradition of crafting exceptionally high quality lagers and ales that look to the great European breweries of the past for inspiration. Hoyne Brewing obtains many of their varieties of malted barley and hops from the great brewing regions of the world.

Image provided by Hoyne Brewing Co.

Hoyne Brewing offers a line-up of seven core brands offered year-round and up to 10 seasonal and limited release offerings per year, giving B.C. beer lovers plenty of choices to choose from when selecting local brews to give (or receive) this holiday season.

The brewery’s most popular beer is the award-winning Dark Matter. Like the Northern Lights, this enigmatic dark brew is elusive with labels. That said, the other-worldly beer's tasting notes contain hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt, which combined, makes a soft and creamy palate. This celebrated brew recently took the title of Best in Show at the 2023 BC Beer Awards and won First Place in the 2023 Canada Beer Cup under the Dark Lager category.

Dark Matter is one of the beers featured in Hoyne Brewing’s top-selling On The Dark Side Mix Pack, which also includes Appleton's Finest British Ale (named after Frank Appleton), Finnegans Irish Stout, and the Czech-inspired half-dark lager Svec.

To sample four of Hoyne Brewing’s core beers, the Four Fine Friends Variety Pack offers a chance to sip on Eastern European Hoyne Pilsner, the Helios Golden Lager, the Pacific Northwest-inspired Down Easy Pale Ale, and of course, Dark Matter.

The seasonal Gratitude Winter Ale is a winter warmer best enjoyed by the fireplace in good company. Bottles of this limited release brew are wrapped with a necktag containing a personal note written by Sean Hoyne himself, and the two-pack tall cans of Gratitude are perfect for sharing with a loved one.

Hoyne Brewing is available at and in select BC Liquor Stores in Metro Vancouver. Visit their website for more information.