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Factory Brewing becomes Craft Collective: Q&A with Stephen Smysnuik

Today, a news release (below) was received from Vancouver’s Factory Brewing, announcing a rebrand as Craft Collective Beerworks. Apparently it’s not so much a rebrand as it is an administrative move, because it combines two pre-existing business names sharing a common owner: Factory Brewing Ltd. and Craft Collective Agency. The latter brand was not widely known amongst craft enthusiasts, many of whom would have heard of Factory Brewing due to its unique position in the BC brewing community. Factory received substantial media coverage for its unique “contract brewing” business model, which enabled many smaller BC breweries to sell outside their own brewing capacity (for an excellent example of this, read our profile of Doan’s Craft Brewing in the latest What’s Brewing magazine).

Craft Collective Beerworks

What was perceived by many as strictly a contract brewing operation is clearly now at least three things:

  1. A new BC brewery, making its own products for sale,
  2. A contract brewer, making products for other businesses, and
  3. A marketing agency, representing a portfolio of beers (including those in both categories above), providing consulting services and bringing products to market.

For some of Factory’s clients, this change is business as usual. For instance, David Chadwick, owner of Two Wolves Brewing Co. (a white-label brand with no brewery of its own) tells me that the Factory re-brand does not change anything from his perspective. Although he wasn’t aware that the merger was coming, he isn’t suprised. “It seems like a logical step for them”, he told me. As far has he knows, it wasn’t Factory’s original plan to change so quickly (after only one year under their original name). “It’s just them consolidating two business, making it easier for them to manage”, he opines.

This morning, I spoke with Stephen Smysnuik, Craft Collective’s Marketing Director, to find out more about these changes.

Q&A with Stephen Smysnuik

Haus Lager: Coming Soon

The two companies merged; why was this necessary?

SS: Workflow and business reasons primarily, as well as tax considerations. Ease of management and finances. All boring stuff.

Also, we found that there were gaps in our portfolio. Merging things helps with that as well.

Approximately how many contract brewing accounts does Factory have now?

SS: About 25. [Ed. Note: At least half of their total accounts have apparently opted in to their sales agency program; see list on website. ]

Are existing Factory accounts asking questions about what this rebrand (as a potential competitor) means to them?

SS: We let them know a few days ago, and I’m sure they will. But this is business, and our business model allows us to pivot and do this type of thing. I don’t mean for that to sound cynical, but we have bills and rent and employees to pay.

Entering the beer retail market with a budget lager: does your market research show that this is profitable?

SS: We just thought it was a good idea.

Will it work well to brand yourselves as Craft, but lead with that type of product?

SS: We don’t know. But we are at heart a craft brewery. Unlike some other BC “shadow brand” budget lagers, our beer is made with all malt and no adjuncts. It has all the elements of what a craft beer is; just at a more affordable price.


Factory Brewing announces rebrand to Craft Collective Beerworks

March 14, 2018

Vancouver – Factory Brewing – B.C.’s first dedicated contract brewing – is rebranding as Craft Collective Beerworks. The change comes as the company broadens its focus to incorporate proprietary brands into its portfolio, while staying committed to contract brewing for the B.C. industry.

“The beer industry is changing rapidly in B.C., and it shows that craft beer drinkers are a diverse community,” says Craft Collective CEO and co-founder Andrew Harris. “It’s not enough just to simply brew one kind of beer, or to create one kind of experience under a single brand. Consumers expect a lot. They expect new experiences, and we’re here to offer that to them.”

When Factory launched in 2017, it also launched a separate sales agency, Craft Collective Agency, that operated as a separate business. The two companies have merged and Factory has decided to adopt the Craft Collective moniker.

“Ultimately, the Craft Collective name is more in line with our values as a company and what we’re trying to achieve,” says Richard Sehmer, Craft Collective’s Managing Director.

In addition to contract brewing, Craft Collective will be launching several of its own brands throughout 2018 and 2019, including Haus Lager, a value craft lager, which will be available in retail locations later this month; and Spectrum Beer Co., which will focus on lighter and fruit-flavoured beers. Spectrum will launch in May. 

About Craft Collective Beerworks

Located at 1575 Vernon Drive, Vancouver, B.C., Craft Collective Beerworks provides expert brewing, packaging and sales solutions for the North American craft brewing industry. For more info, visit or follow us at @craftcollectivebeerworks. 


Stephen Smysnuik
[email protected]

Dave Smith

Editor of What's Brewing Magazine and Beer Me BC. Past contributor to Northwest Brewing News, The Publican/Quarterly Pour and BC Ale Trail. Became a craft beer evangelist in 1999, a CAMRA BC member in 2005, and an accredited member of the BC Association of Travel Writers in the 2010s. Along with wife Ivana, Dave travels Cascadia as half of the beer duo BeerSeekers.

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