Island Good Brewery, Winery, Cidery and Distillery Tour
August 2022 / By: Diana
As we move into the end of summer and into fall the weather is cooling, the leaves are turning colour and it’s a great time to tour the beauty of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Why not support local Island Good breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries while touring the Island and enjoying some fantastic beverages!
Check out this Island Good Brewery, Winery, Cidery and Distillery Tour! Support local Island Good small businesses while enjoying some fantastic beverages! Please be responsible and safe while doing so.
Starting down South Vancouver Island, we have Spinnakers!
Back in 1984, when Spinnakers first opened its door to become Canada’s first brewpub, farm to table became part of what they did, and craft beer became a term they helped to define.
Tastes have expanded from those first pints to include Spinnakers Craft Ciders, Spinnakers Craft Soda’s & Sparkling Mineral Waters, Spinnakers Distillery, and Spinnakers beer. All made right here in Victoria.
Not only can you get all of the beverages by the glass at the pub, but you can pick up any of these at the Provisions store at the front desk of Spinnakers, and you can also find their products at one of the two Spirit Merchant stores in James Bay and VicWest.
Are you planning a trip off the island? Be sure to grab something on the go at Spinnakers on the Fly, located at YYJ airport.
There is always something to sip, mingle and chat about at Spinnakers! You can find Spinnakers Brewpub located at 308 Catherine Street, Victoria.
The second stop is Devine Distillery!
Devine Distillery is Family owned and operated and originally started as an organic vineyard before becoming a winery and then a craft distillery.
Located on the magnificent Saanich Peninsula overlooking views of Mount Baker, DEVINE crafts its spirits by hand using only local ingredients, most of them being farmed in partnership with local farmers.
Having won international awards for many of its spirits, DEVINE is most known for its Glen Saanich Single Malt Whisky and Ancient Grains Young Whisky.
Devine’s most popular spirits for summer cocktails are our Black Bear Spiced Rum (made for a Dark ‘n Stormy), Honey Shine Silver (made from BC honey, perfect for tropical drinks) and their Genever (botanical gin that takes your G&T up to 11).
Photo credit: Jeremy Pue & Besea PhotolabAs we move into Fall, their beloved Glen Saanich Single Malt will be released. For those who want the details on the upcoming release date, you can follow Devine Distillery on social media or subscribe to their newsletter. The last batch sold out in 48 hours!
Devine Distillery is not currently open for tastings. Still, they operate a bottle shop Monday through Friday where you can purchase products from them in person or purchase their products via their online store (they deliver across BC) or at your local private liquor store.
You can find Devine Distillery at 6181B Old West Saanich Rd, Saanichton.
Stop number three is Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse!
Sea Cider is a farm-based cidery located on the Saanich Peninsula just minutes from Victoria, on Vancouver Island.
Their ten-acre farm is home to over 1,300 apple trees and over 60 varieties of heritage apples. Sea Cider opened its farm gate for business in 2007 when owner Kristen Needham purchased the property with a vision of creating an organic farm and orchard and producing traditionally fermented artisan ciders.
Since then, they have grown to an annual cider production of ovhttps://beaconbrewing.ca/er 7,000+ cases. They continue to pride themselves on crafting traditionally fermented ciders from organically grown apples. Their award-winning cider is available throughout B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Washington State, Illinois, and Oregon.
You can find Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse at: 2487 Mt St Michael Rd, Saanichton.
The next stop is Beacon Brewing!
They are a small batch, a non-distribution brewery with a tasting room located in beautiful downtown Sidney, within the Oceanna building complex. Their tasting room offers pints and flights of their beer brewed on-site and local cider, wine and soda offerings.
They have local snack options, as well as pizza from Peninsula Pizza. They also welcome patrons to take in take-out from any of the local restaurants Sidney offers!
Feel free to bring in a growler for a fill, or you have the option to purchase one of theirs, as well as offer multiple sizes of cans to fill our beer to go.
Beacon Brewing is a family-friendly facility where they host Music Bingo on Monday nights, monthly comedy shows and live music on some Friday evenings for all to enjoy!
To keep up to date on everything ‘At Beacon Brewing,’ be sure to keep an eye on their website or follow them on social media!
Beacon Brewing – Your guiding light to great beer! You can find Beacon Brewing at 9829 Third Street, Sidney..
The next stop is Sooke Oceanside Brewery!
Opening its doors in 2016, Sooke Oceanside Brewery was born out of the desire to bring its love of craft beer to the local community.
As Sooke’s original brewery, they were determined to create a high-quality, local product that their neighbours would be proud to call their own.
S.O.B. is now a multi-award-winning brewery continually promoting its west coast lifestyle and community as they strive for excellence.
S.O.B. products can be found in over 95 Vancouver Island stores in bottles and cans. Watch for them on the mainland as they start shipping to select stores!
You can find Sooke Oceanside Brewery at 1-5529 Sooke Road, Sooke.
Stop number six is Unsworth Vineyards!
Unsworth Vineyards was founded in 2009 by the Turyk family and is a Cowichan Valley gem specializing in sparkling wines, crisp whites, rosé and light-bodied Pinot Noir.
Complimenting the 10.5 acres of the estate vineyard, Unsworth also works with several Vancouver Island grape growers to discover the regional diversity of their relatively young wine-growing destination.
Unsworth also has a restaurant which is a culinary celebration of all-things Vancouver Island. From a seasonally inspired menu showcasing fresh, local, sustainable ingredients to exceptional service and award-winning wines, we give bold, new meaning to farm-to-table cuisine.
Unsworth has Three tasting options Signature Tasting, Collector Tasting & a Guided Tour and Tasting.
The Signature Tasting includes enjoying vineyard views from their Tasting Room & Terrace while you sip, savour, and get acquainted with Unsworth and a selection of five classic wines. The Collector Tasting includes a sample of a curated flight of five premium, limited production Unsworth wines, complete with a guided education on our region, history, and wines. (Please allow 30 minutes for this experience.) The Guided Tour and Tasting is an opportunity to experience Unsworth on foot while sampling five wines and touring their grounds with one of their knowledgeable wine ambassadors. Learn about their history, growing practices, unique terroir, and winemaking methods. (Guided Tours available Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays: 11:30 am & 2:30 pm)
For more information on tastings and tours, be sure to visit Unsworth Vineyard’s website.
You can visit Unsworth Vineyards at 2915 Cameron Taggart Road, Mill Bay.
The next stop is Stillhead Distillery!
Stillhead Distillery is a family-owned and operated craft distillery located in the heart of the Cowichan Valley, Duncan, BC.
They use only BC-grown fruits and grains to make high-quality spirits bursting with flavour.
They continuously look for innovative ways to make unique spirits and showcase Vancouver Island terroir using distinctive local ingredients. Wild picked berries, locally farmed rhubarb, and award-winning Cowichan Valley wine barrels are just some ways they express terroir in their spirits.
They are confident you will enjoy their spirits from their family to yours! You can find Stillhead Distillery at 105-5301 Chaster Rd, Duncan.
Continuing the tour, we have Zanatta Winery!
Zanatta Winery began in the 1950s when family patriarch, Dionisio (Dennis) Zanatta and his wife Claudia, purchased a small dairy farm and farmhouse in the Cowichan Valley. Recognizing the similarities in the climate from his original homeland of Treviso, Italy, Dennis decided to plant his own vines and make wine.
His passion for growing grapes and making wine led to the Zanatta Farm working with the provincial government in the 1980s as a testing site, known as the Duncan Project, to determine the best grapes suited for growing on Vancouver Island.
While many grape varieties were unsuited for the cooler climate of the Cowichan Valley, many varieties, including Ortega, Auxerrois and Cayuga, thrived. Today, these have become signature grapes of Zanatta Winery, with some of the oldest vines in Canada.
Growing up with her father’s love of winemaking, Loretta decided to take the family’s homemade wines to the next level and become a winemaker. While completing her degree at the University of British Columbia, Loretta was heavily involved in the Duncan project. She continued her education in Italy, where she earned her credentials from the University of Piacenza in Enology.
Returning to the Island, Loretta married her husband, Jim Moody, whom she had met while at the University of British Columbia. Jim’s love of horticulture turned to the art of growing grapes and making wine. In 1992, the Zanatta family officially opened the doors for Vancouver Island’s first commercial winery and released the Island’s first sparkling wine, made in the traditional champagne method, Glenora Fantasia Brut.
Celebrating three decades of winemaking, Zanatta winery has come a long way. Today, Zanatta is recognized as one of British Columbia’s premium sparkling wine producers with numerous awards and accolades. Their unique white blend wine, Damasco, is one of the best-selling wines in the Cowichan Valley, and their Pinot Noir is recognized as one of the best from Vancouver Island!
You can find Zanatta Winery at 5039 Marshall Road, Duncan.
Moving forward, toward the Mid-Island we have Wolf Brewing!
Wolf Brewing Company is located just on the edge of downtown Nanaimo, on beautiful Vancouver Island! They are a family and pet-friendly business! (Pups are always welcome on the patio, just not inside the tasting room)
They offer pre-booked guided tastings daily at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm, but walk-ins are always welcome! You have the option to build a flight, have a glass, or share a bottle. They also offer farmer’s style picnic baskets that showcase other local businesses!
Most of their beers are Vegan friendly, and the Wolf Den (tasting room) hosts live music Friday nights throughout the summer, but the space is also available to book for private events!
Although Wolf Brewing doesn’t have a kitchen, they have a variety of local bites! For example, pretzel sticks with beer cheese, pulled pork nachos, chips and salsa, beef jerky and char’Brew’terie cups (subject to local availability).
“West Coast Creativity brewed with European Tradition.” You can find Wolf Brewing at 940 Old Victoria Road, Nanaimo.
The next stop in Nanaimo is Longwood Brewery!
The second location of the “Longwood,” the “Longwood Brewery,” opened in 2013 to boost the Longwood brand reach across BC by introducing packaged and keg products.
Featuring a line-up of 6 core beers ranging from a continental Pilsner to an Imperial Stout and four rotating seasonal beers, there is something for everyone at the growler bar.
With a focus on being “small farm friendly,” Longwood partners with many local farmers for a wide range of ingredients, resulting in an obsessively local product that reflects the true terroir of Vancouver Island.
75% of all the barley Longwood Brewery uses comes from central Vancouver Island, and over 90% of the hops used are sourced from within BC!
You can find Longwood Brewing at 101A-2046 Boxwood Road, Nanaimo.
Stop number twelve is Bespoke Spirit House!
Bespoke Spirits House is a one-woman show. A Boutique craft distillery focused on gins and liqueurs, created with a passion for creativity. One of only a handful of female-owned and operated distilleries!
Bespoke Spirits House is an artisan distillery located in the beautiful seaside community of Parksville on Vancouver Island. They make gin and vodka spirits to be picked up from our store or ordered from their tasting room and lounge.
‘Bespoke’ means ‘custom made to exacting specification.’ It’s a word commonly associated with the European tradition of finely tailored clothing, and these days it’s a fitting description for our distilled spirits which are handcrafted to bring out the best in our locally-sourced ingredients.
Their distilling process is as much about careful deliberation as it is about ensuring there is a human touch and character to each spirit they bring to you. It’s a balancing act between two worlds of science and art, and we do it with flair.
You can find BeSpoke Spirit House at 105 425 Stanford Ave E, Parksville.
Continuing to Port Alberni, we have Dog Mountain Brewing!
Dog Mountain Brewing is an award-winning Craft Microbrewery located in the historic uptown of Port Alberni.
Their rooftop patio offers a beautiful view of the Alberni Inlet, Beaufort Mountain Range and a glimpse of the Comox Glacier in the distance.
Enjoy their fresh and delicious craft beer and unique food options while you watch the sunset over the hidden gem of Port Alberni, or find their canned products in your local Vancouver Island liquor store!
You can find Dog Mountain Brewing at 3141 3rd Ave, Port Alberni.
Also in Port Alberni is Twin City Brewing!
Twin City Brewing Company is a collective effort to bring a high-quality public house experience to the community of Port Alberni. Their business is not the building, the products, or the reputation but the passionate people that strive to deliver the best experience possible to whoever walks in the door.
The moniker, Twin City, is a name not commonly used in the Alberni Valley anymore. As such, many don’t realize the historical significance. However, Prior to 1967, two distinct municipalities existed, Alberni and Port Alberni. The residents during this prosperous era had the bustling Port and Pulp Mill to thank for one of the highest annual incomes in Western Canada. Then came the tsunami. Triggered by an earthquake in Alaska, the tidal wave swept up the inlet in March 1964, destroying homes and businesses in both communities. It took teamwork and cooperation to get Twin City back on track, and as residents saw the benefits of working together, the urge to merge grew stronger.
Port Alberni has had its struggles in the years since the amalgamation. However, at its core, it remains a tight-knit community where teamwork and cooperation are still used to create positive change. The history of Port Alberni is inspiring to Twin City Brewing, and they are proud to call it home.
You can find Twin City Brewing at 4503 Margaret Street, Port Alberni.
Moving up North Island, we have Wayward Distillery!
Wayward Distillery is located in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island and was Canada’s first craft distillery to make all its spirits from honey.
Although they have added some grain to their repertoire, they remain honey-centric with fan favourites, including their Unruly Gin, Krupnik and Drunken Hive Rum!
Honey is not only delightful to work with, but it also allows them to support the bees!
Wayward donates 1% of their liquor sales to Pollinator Partnership Canada, which ensures they can keep the agricultural lands, forests, and ecosystems healthy and robust.
Wayward Distillery is committed to bringing you delicious spirits that can be enjoyed on their own or mixed up in your favourite cocktail.
Wayward invites you to join them in their pursuit of #BeeUnruly. You can find Wayward Distillery at 2931 Moray Ave, Courtenay.
The second to last stop on this tour is 40 Knots Winery!
40 Knots Winery is a 24-acre estate vineyard and winery proud to have evolved into a hub for the Comox Valley and beyond.
At 40 Knots, clean, ethical wines are a promise; this guides them in every step they take in farming, cellar management, crush pad operation, their store, their delivery to the customer, and their promise to protect the environment.
Their goal is to grow ultra-premium grapes on Vancouver Island. Some of the most outstanding vineyards in the world are grown near oceans with the salt air embedding the Burgundy oak. Great wines are not made in the tank and the barrel. Instead, great wines come from the vineyard.
40 Knots looks to host people for a variety of weekly events ranging from book clubs to evenings of live music. Their glass terrace allows them to welcome visitors year-round, as they can throw on the heater during cooler periods.
40 Knots believes in a minimal intervention winemaking process to ensure that their wines contain the least amount of additives possible.
They farm sustainably and use the best practices to create a product that is organic, biodynamic, and plant-based. The hard work they put into the vineyard is shown in their wines, as they are shaped by the salinity of the ocean breeze and a sun-soaked climate. Their wines are truly an experience like none other!
You can find 40 Knots Winery at 2400 Anderton Rd, Comox.
The last and most northern stop on the tour is Shelter Point Distillery!
Shelter Point Distillery was established in 2011 and is located on 380 acres in Oyster River, BC, about halfway up the eastern coast of Vancouver Island. Farmed for generations, Shelter Point remains one of the last seaside farms on the Island.
They are naturally blessed with the key ingredients of exceptional handcrafted artisanal spirits: fertile fields to grow our barley, a large underground aquifer to provide naturally filtered water and crisp sea air compliments of the Salish Sea. Add in their skilled craftspeople, traditional Scottish distilling methods and state-of-art facility, and the result is a world-class distillery on the West Coast of Canada.
You can find Shelter Point Distillery at 4650 Regent Rd, Campbell River.
Thanks to all these Island Good businesses that put their heart, soul and passion into their business to provide us with this wonderful selection of local drinks and great locations to visit! We hope you enjoy your touring and please be safe and responsible.