Tectoria has added yet another craft brewery to its already impressive roster.
Category 12 opens on Friday, December 19th, just in time for Christmas. Located just off Keating X Road, Category 12 is the only microbrewery on the Saanich Peninsula.
Category 12’s addition to Victoria’s beer scene brings the tally of home-grown craft breweries and brew pubs to nearly a dozen and counting.
Michael and Karen Kuzyk are the founders and operators of Category 12 Brewing. As Category 12’s brewmaster, Michael comes equipped with a PhD in Microbiology and Biochemistry from UVic, and has worked as a lab manager for the BC Cancer Research.
“I started homebrewing during grad studies first as a necessity, but it quickly became a passion of mine,” says Michael. “I wanted to turn my passion into my full time occupation so I could really explore the creativity of industrial fermentation and, most importantly, share it with others.”
A Focus on Belgian and Pacific Northwest-Style Beers
Interestingly, the brewery is just a short distance away from Specific Mechanical, the stainless steel fabricator that provides so many microbreweries all over the world with the equipment.
Category 12 will focus on Belgian and Pacific Northwest-style beers. These two influences undoubtedly mean maximum hoppiness for local beer connoisseurs, with one of the first brews being offered a black IPA.
Luckily Category 12 realized that not every beer in this part of the world necessarily needs to be hoppy – the other member of Category 12’s starting lineup is a fruity Saison farmhouse ale, a nod to the mellowers, sunnier beers of southern Belgium that have discarded the hops of their northern Belgian counterparts.
The Saison and a Pale Ale due to be ready by mid January will become the year round beers for Category 12. They plan to have two other seasonal styles available at all times.
“We wanted to make it clear that we are here to make creative styles and experiment,” says Michael. “We have to stand out in a competitive market. I think craft beer fans will immediately understand what we are trying to accomplish when they taste our first two beers.”
BC’s Craft Breweries Doubled Market Share in Four Years
There seems to be plenty of demand for Category 12’s handcrafted beers – British Columbia’s micobreweries are booming.
Besides strong local demand for original brews, there is an evolving ecosystem that is supporting home-grown breweries. As reported here earlier this fall, the Churchill, which just opened in June 2014, features fifty new draft lines, and a large number of those lines are pumping out local craft beer.
Unlike our friends in Ontario who have to put up with the Beer Store, BC is home to an incredibly vibrant beer scene. According to the most current numbers:
- BC’s craft brewery market share doubled over four years, from 9% of all beer sales in 2009 to 19 per cent at the end of 2013
- There were at least 10 microbreweries opened in 2013, with at least 21 new breweries due to open in BC by the end of 2014
- BC is home to 30% Canada’s 200+ craft breweries and brew pubs; 11 are right here in Victoria
- Craft beer accounts for 20% of the market share for beer in British Columbia
- Retail sales of craft beer hit $174 million in 2013, up from $84 million in 2009
- The sales of small “nanobreweries” increased by 37% between June 2013 and June 2014 while the bigger domestic breweries were essentially flat
According to the Liquor Distribution Branch, large breweries’ beer sales declined nearly 4%in 2013, while sales by microbrewers shot up 38% in 2013.
So there appears that plenty of people are thirsty for Category 12’s handcrafted product.