One would have to look back for decades to find another new Golden business that has garnered this much anticipation.
Whitetooth Brewing Company quietly opened its doors last week after years of planning, and the community came out in droves to see the new facility and taste the six varieties of beer being brewed there.
“It’s great. It’s essentially three years in planning… It has sort of flown by,” said Kent Donaldson who opened the brewery with partner Mark Nagao.
The pair, along with their brewmaster Evan Cronshaw, have been brewing on a pilot system in Donaldson’s garage, and finally moved into the new facility in the fall.
“You never know how it’s going to turn out going from the pilot system to the big system, but we’re pretty happy with how it’s turned out. Evan has done a great job,” he said.
Cronshaw always told himself that if a brewery opened up in either Golden or Pemberton, he would try to be a part of it. Then one day someone passed along a Golden Star article about a new brewery being opened in Golden.
“He contacted someone at the Golden Star, and he was put in touch with us. That’s how we met Evan,” said Donaldson.
Their hard work has resulted in six varieties including the Blower Pow India Pale Ale, Whitetooth Session Blonde Ale, Speed Metal Foreign Extra Stout (which make up the three West Coast brews), Icefields Pale Ale, Launch Pad Rye Ale, and Thread the Needle Witbier (which are the three Belgian brews).
“No one else, at least in the Kootenays, is doing Belgian style beers. I had a lot of people challenging me on that one, saying ‘you’re going to do Belgians? In Golden? Are you out of your mind?’ We found out early that people were enjoying those styles of beers, so we knew our hunch was correct,” said Donaldson.
Whitetooth offers “flights” in two sizes in their tasting rooms, which allows guest to try samples of four different beers. It’s an option that is being well utilized in the brewery’s first week open.
“Initially we’re selling a lot of the tasters because everyone wants to try them all,” said Nagao. This lets people find their favourite, but that might be harder than it sounds.
“On any given day any one of those six could be my favourite, it’s hard to pick,” added Nagao.
So far Whitetooth Brewing Company is mostly a family affair, but Donaldson and Nagao have made sure they have the room to grow once things get going.
“There are breweries in the lower mainland that have moved three times because they’re in a growth phase,” said Donaldson. “We really didn’t want to do that, so the building is designed to let us grow.”
Right now you can try Whitetooth beer by going to the tasting room and either buying samples tasters, or filling up your growlers. But in the coming months not only will Whitetooth begin being sold in various pubs and restaurants, they will also begin bottling their beer.
The tasting room is open from 2 to 10 p.m. every day except Tuesday, however that may change down the line. Nagao’s and Donaldson’s hope is that it’s location, right on the edge of the downtown core, will help make it a piece of Golden’s culture.
“We’d really like this to become a bit of a hub, a gathering place for the community,” said Donaldson.