North America’s First Contract Brewery

Factory Brewing comes to BC

There’s a new brewery in town, but it’s not selling beer. Factory Brewing is North America’s first contract brewery where other breweries can produce their beer under the careful guidance of seasoned industry veterans.Stephen Smysnuik, director of marketing, says, “There are always issues of capacity–breweries can’t grow fast enough, and it’s difficult for them to turn any kind of a healthy profit because they need to always be reinvesting in the business, often just to keep up with demand. We started Factory to help solve these issues.”

Their ideal clients are mid-size craft breweries that have been established for a few years and are looking to expand into new markets. However, Smysnuik explains, “We like the challenge of helping small breweries as well, who haven’t had the option of distributing outside Vancouver, or even outside their tasting room.” Some of Factory’s clients are Doan Brewing, Postmark Brewing, Faculty Brewing, Salt Spring Island Brewing, and Hearthstone Brewing.

The team at Factory Brewing is a who’s who of the beer industry. Andrew Harris, CEO, was president and co-founder of Russell Breweries, and has been involved in other projects on a consulting basis before starting Factory. His business partner Richard Sehmer, COO, comes from a legal background and has helped launch several breweries. Andres Palma, brewmaster, was most recently the director of brewing at Vancouver’s Molson facility. He’s worked for SABMiller for over 25 years in several different countries and is an expert at recipe replication. Rick Dellow, head of operations, was the founder of one of Vancouver’s first craft breweries, R&B Brewing, and has worked for many years with Newlands Systems, building breweries for businesses around the world. Stephen Smysnuik, director of marketing, was a writer and the journalist who founded The Growler.

Factory’s brew staff makes all the beer, but the whole process is a collaboration with their clients. Palma works very closely with the brewers to ensure that their recipes are scaled up correctly for Factory’s system. Their partner brewers are very hands on, seeing their beer through the process, particularly in their first few weeks of working together.

The facility started brewing on June 28th and will undoubtedly be helping a lot of craft breweries expand in the future.