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Barkerville Brewing Co. and BDC: Reviving a flavourful tradition

Barkerville 18 Karat Brew

Victoria, British Columbia native Russ Ovans fulfilled a lifelong dream when he moved to Scotland for a year. There, he embarked on a journey to visit 365 pubs in 365 days and blogged about the experience. While visiting a microbrewery, the former computer scientist and owner of a successful software company, found his next calling.

On his return to Canada, he decided to revive the tradition of Barkerville, a famed brewery in British Columbia’s Cariboo region from the Gold Rush days that had burnt down in 1868.

Ovans found a suitable building for his microbrewery in Quesnel, 80 km from Barkerville, and hired a talented brewmaster, but there were several hurdles to overcome. He had to purchase the building, buy equipment, renovate the premises and cover start-up costs. He had funds to invest, but needed extra capital to start out strongly and keep a healthy level of cash flow.

The solution came in the form of BDC’s high ratio realty financing with a 12 month capital payment deferral. “BDC offered a form of financing that would have been difficult to obtain otherwise,” says Ovans. “The flexible terms and conditions allowed Barkerville Brewing Co. to hit the ground running.”

Since start-up in 2013, positive feedback from customers and the community has put Barkerville Brewing Co. on the track to success. Sales have steadily increased, the microbrewery has outgrown its original bottling line and new products are in the works.