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Little Woodstock 2016 – East Van Version: Truck Stop Concert Series at Red Truck Beer

Get ready to experience Woodstock – the “2016” version, just east of Main and 1st Avenue this summer. Almost 50 years after the iconic 3 day concert that happened in upstate New York and became the complete definition of 60’s music and beyond  – a mini modern version coming to a East Van neighborhood near you. The good news for 2016 is the 3 days of music takes place over 3 separate months on Saturdays at the Truck Stop Concert Series! The parking lot at Red Truck Brewery makes for a perfect amphitheater and the fresh craft beer and creative truck stop eatery make for a wonderful complete experience.

Lets go back to the beginning of the modern time. Situated on False Creek flats – Red Truck sits at the historical confluent of Brewery Creek. A hundred years or less ago False Creek’s high tides would have been lapping up at the back door of the brew house. The 1950’s truck stop style brewery rose up from the history of the flats with it’s official opening on June 3rd,2015 –  but it seems like it has always been there.

During the concert media launch in mid April I was able to spend a few minutes with GM Jim Dodds to ask some background questions about the brewery. I was curious how such a perfect location for the brewery came about and was the original design meant to integrated it into the history of the area?

Jim replied ” You know what – at first it wasn’t. It was to find the right location. And when saying that – the right location was for the actual brewery, the design that our owner had come up with and what his vision was. So he had some different locations previously, but figured that they were not in the right place for his idea. When he found this property – it really came to light that this was the absolute property that we needed to have for this brewery. The design for the building was to look like a 1950’s styles warehouse and to have the 80′ water tower attached to the brewery ’cause that is part of the history of Red Truck. We are a beer of simpler times – like the ’50’s. To have this location so close to downtown Vancouver and to be a part of the fabric of the city, was really important to us in getting this location. But then later on we found out about everything that had gone on here in the past with the mouth of Brewery Creek actually being about 100 yards east of our building and at the back of our building also at the edge of False Creek. To hear the history of some of the things that happened and what was going on here on this exact property – that was pretty cool. We have taken that, and other information we have learn from talking to historians and brought into the current day story. It’s a really cool place to be for the super nice brewery that we have.”

How about the time of the land purchase – was it known that Emily Carr was going to build a new campus here? Or did that just happen to be good luck? I asked.
Jim states “I said to our owner – geez… you had this uncanny way of knowing that the downtown core was going to get finally built up and then it was going to come across to the Olympic Village area and start heading east. I said to him that’s some pretty good thinking – he said “are you kidding me – I didn’t know any of that”. So we didn’t know. For that to actually happen – that’s a great plus for us. We are pretty excited about being part of the city in East Vancouver! We will be here for a long time and so will the other properties that are going up as well.”

There are lots of new breweries in the area – it is a new arrival to the historic Brewery Creek area. This part of the city is now moderately populated with craft breweries. I was curious how everyone gets along?
“We all get along very well – we all go to each others places. Red Truck is a bit bigger brewery than a lot of those breweries that are around here. We have been around for a little bit longer than most of them. Red truck Brewery is going into it’s 11th year now. There are a lot of new start ups. We have had a really good following for our brands and you know our guys are brewing such great beer – we just keep selling more and more beer. You don’t want to stifle that – you want just keeping it going. Looking at the other craft breweries in British Columbia and how big we are – we are still a small brewery compared to some of the larger ones.” Dobbs states.

The cavernous interior is a very impressive collection of shiny stainless steel tanks towering up towards the distant roof and pipes leading to every corner of the building. If you look up you might even spot the red truck suspended high above – kind of floating on top of a big invisible hop cloud.


Recently in the news there has been mention that the big demand on hops – the flower bud that gives beer it bitterness and contributes to flavor and aroma – is threatening a supply shortage. I asked Jim about the effect this will have on his brewery? He replied “I think it going to be an ongoing problem for a while. It’s great for the industry because we see are starting to see more hop farms pop up. There are more people that want to get into it – that’s even better. With the current shortage we are buying hop contracts well into 2018 and 2019. The ones that don’t do that will have a tougher time getting their hops, but for us we get into those long term contracts to make sure we have a good supply.

I asked, are prices going to go up?
“That’s a possibility – you know in this market we are in today  – it doesn’t matter what business you are in – everything just keeps rising. Not much we can do about that. We try keep our cost down to make sure we keep our beer at the right price that we feel is right for our consumer. We have been taking it on the chin for a while and have absorbed a lot of the increases – which is really tough to do.”

Back to the concert series…
Do you get complaints from the residents that live around here?
Dobbs states “No.. You know what .. even if the music is not your style you can still come down and have a good time. The truck stop dinner is here, so you can always come in and have something to eat as well. We don’t get very many complaints  – it’s not like it is going late into the evening – 4 o’clock in the afternoon till 10pm – we shut it down at that time.

Here is a key feature that makes the East Van style Woodstock a more practical experience than Max Yasgur’s dairy farm almost 50 years ago – one concert a month starting June 11th, July 9th and August 6th. Combined  – it makes for a wonderful 3 day event of music for this summer.

For more information checkout Red Truck’s website:
www.redtruckbeer.com

Jim Dodds: the full Q&A

Q: What are we doing here today
A: Today is the announcement of the 2016 Truck Stop  concert series here at the Red Truck Beer Company. 
Q: and that is unique for your brewery – you are the only one doing parking lot concerts?

A: ya , you know to my knowledge  – we never really thought too much about it. We are completely focused on what we are going to do and making sure we provide a lot of great shows like we did last year.
Q: So is your location, which is in East Van, is that kinda key to being able to pull these off?


A: Ya, I think so – you know what it is a very unique location. We are right here in the heart of East Vancouver and we are just off the downtown core of Vancouver. So be in this location with a lot of transit, with a lot of ways to get here and the kind of venue that we actually have like an amphitheater. So the way the parking lot is lined up – it’s a pretty cool spot. It is ideally set for this type of activity. 
Q: And you don’t get complaints from the artist that live around here?
A: No.. You know what .. we’ve had the odd complaint – I that we like to invite those people down.. come on down and have a good time. Even if that music is not your style of music you can still come down and have a good time. The truck stop dinner is here, so you can always come in and have something to eat as well. We don’t get very many complaints  – it’s not like it is going ate into the evening. It is 4 o’clock in the afternoon till 10  pm – we shut it down at that time


Q: A little bit about the truck stop and the history of this area – Brewery Creek – False Creek Flats. Was the original to be integrated into the history of the area? Brewery Creek – False Creek Flats. Was the original design to sort of to be integrated into the history of the area?

A: You know what – at first it wasn’t. It was to find the right location. And when saying that the right location was for the actual brewery, the design that our owner had come up with and what his vision was.So he had different locations previous, but figured that wasn’t the right place, and when he found this property – it really came to light that this is the absolute property that we need to have for this brewery. For the building that was built to look a ’50’s styles warehouse. To have the 80′ water tower attached to the brewery ’cause that is part of the history of Red Truck. We are a beer of simpler times – like the ’50’s. To have this location and this close to the city of downtown Vancouver – just to be a part of the fabric of the city was really important to us to get this location. But then later on when we found out about everything that had gone on here in the past with Brewery Creek actually being about 100 yards east of our building – the mouth of brewery creek at the back of our building also False Creek because we know now that this was all landfill. And then to hear the history of some of the things that happened and what was going on here on this exact property – that was pretty cool. Then we have taken that – we have obviously take to historians and we brought more into the story. It’s a really cool place to be for the nice brewery that we have.
Q: So at the time of the land purchase – was it known that Emily Carr was going to build a new campus here? Or did that just happen to be good luck?
A: I said to our owner – geez you got this uncanny of knowing that the downtown core was going to get finally built up and then it was going to come across to the Olympic Village area and start heading east. I said to him that’s some pretty good thinking – he said “are you kidding me – I didn’t know any of that”. So we didn’t know. So for that to actually happen – that’s a great plus for us. We are pretty excited about being part of the city in East Vancouver and being grown up and we will be here for a long time and so will the other properties that are going up as well. 
Q: How do you get along with the other breweries near by?
A: We all get along very well – we all go to each others places. We are a bit bigger brewery than a lot of the smaller breweries that are around here. We have been around for a little bit longer than most of them. Red truck Brewery is going into it’s 11th year now. There are a lot of new start ups. We have had a really following for our brands and you know our guys are brewing such great beer – we just keep selling more and more beer. You don’t want to stifle that – you want just keeping it going. Looking at the other craft breweries in British Columbia and how big we are – we are still a small brewery compared to some of the larger ones.
Q: One final question. I just saw this in the news today. It is reported that there is so many new breweries opening up that there is actually a shortage of hops. Is that a short term problem? The Fraser valley long time ago – 80 years ago use to be a massive hop producer – is the change in the whole craft brewery scene in the last year – is that gonna make it so people changing over to growing hops again and will that issue become quieted down or is it an ongoing problem?
A: I think it going to be an on going problem for a while. I think it’s great for the industry. You know are starting to see more hop farms – pop up. There is more people that want to get into it – that’s even better. With the shortage we buy hop contracts well into 2018 and 2019. The ones that don’t do that will have a tougher time getting there hops, but for use get into those long term contracts to make sure.
Q: Are prices going to go up?
A: That’s a possibility – you know in this market we are in today  – it doesn’t mater what business you are in – everything just keeps rising. Not much we can do about that. We try keep our cost down to make sure we keep our beer at the right price that we feel is right for our consumer. We have been taking it on the chin for a while – we have absorbed a lot of the increases – which is really tough to do.

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