*** Update: The Barley Merchant officially opened Sunday, July 25th 2021 ***
On June 23rd, a month ago, What’s Brewing paid a secretive visit to upcoming craft beer taproom The Barley Merchant in order to see the progress on this long-awaited Fraser Valley establishment. The photos and video from that visit have been kept tightly under wraps.
Now, with the opening of Langley’s newest and most impressive craft beer and cider bar, it’s time to look at the amazing progress made in the past month of construction, and tell the story of The Barley Merchant’s journey. First, here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect when visiting this 50-tap establishment.
Barley Merchant Preview Dinner: July 22nd
Last night, family and friends gathered at The Barley Merchant’s Langley location for a sneak preview. What’s Brewing was knocked out by the progress made on the interior design since our visit in June, and we enjoyed a great meal in the company of many fine Fraser Valley beer community members.
Note: you’ll find the preliminary beer taplist and menu previewed below on this page.
Behind The Scenes: Under Construction
Here for the WB followers and #BCCraftBeer community insiders is an exclusive peek at the construction progress made by The Barley Merchant over the past month; compare what’s above with what’s below.
With a social media embargo in place until now, this is your first opportunity to see in detail what proprietor Tim Lahay and crew have been up to all this time!
Meet The Proprietor: Tim LaHay
Now let’s get to know the creative force behind The Barley Merchant. Tim LaHay is known widely in the BC craft beer industry as a community leader, top-ranking Beerstagrammer and charity fundraiser. Below, we’ll learn a bit about Tim’s journey from craft beer fan to taproom owner, but first let’s hand the mic over to the man himself.
Here is proud papa Tim revealing The Beast, his spanking-new 50-tap system when it was freshly installed in June. Up until today, The Beast had not been shown on social media, so this was an especially big secret in June and Tim literally pulled the wraps off for us.
For more about Tim, see our spotlight on his social media side in our 2017 profile story. We sat down again with the new proprietor to get the full story, so stay tuned for a complete interview with Tim LaHay. For now, let’s dip back in time and learn about Tim’s journey to craft beer pub ownership.
Starring the Barley Merchant’s location, and its role in Tim LaHay’s life
1973: The Keg In The Country restaurant is founded by restaurateur George Tidball, on land that he had purchased for an equestrian centre three years before. By the 1990s, Langley’s Tim LaHay visits regularly.
1993: Tim proposes to his sweetheart, and future wife, Theresa (a key member of the Barley Merchant family) at The Keg.
1995: Tim gets a job at the Keg and begins work at this location! He becomes steeped in hospitality management and makes a career in the field, lasting long past his time at The Keg.
1998: The Tidball land is slated for major redevelopment as an entertainment centre. The Keg moves a few blocks over, and the equestrian centre moves to become the current Thunderbird Show Park. On May 19th 1999, the Langley Colossus IMAX theatre opens in the new centre, the same day a new Star Wars trilogy commences with the release of Episode I.
2014: The building in the centre known as Unit B, formerly an East Side Mario’s, becomes the London Bull, a pub founded by restaurateur Scott Morison of Browns Social House. It is more or less in the same location as the old Keg In The Country. Tim, still a Langley resident, visits regularly.
2015: Tim and his future business partner (from Sammy J’s) meet at London Bull to talk about the possibility of opening their own pub-style restaurant.
2016: Craft beer has become a huge part of Tim’s life. He registers the domain name craftbeertourist.com after a road trip to Portland, and launches a social media presence that soon gains tens of thousands of followers.
2017: Tim’s all-encompassing news & updates Instagram portal @BCCraftBreweries is established and quickly gains over 10,000 followers.
That summer, Tim uses the exposure and BC brewery connections to raise over $10,000 for the Canadian Red Cross’ BC WIldfire relief fund.
What’s Brewing begins referring to this new community leader as Tim “10K” LaHay.
2018: Tim finds out that the London Bull location might become available. Keen to start his own establishment, he applies for the lease, but is rejected. His dream must wait.
Fall 2018: Tim accepts the opportunity to open a new Trading Post Brewing eatery outlet in Abbotsford. After a successful Abbotsford Eatery launch in late 2018, Tim returns to his former hospitality job.
2019: In May, Tim gets a tip: there’s still an opportunity at the former London Bull. This time, Tim won’t take no for an answer, and begins negotiations to take over the location.
(Langley beer fans: see our Trading Post cover story for the eerily similar story of how founder Lance Verhoeff finally got his dream location in Fort Langley.)
March 2020: The new ownership group is about to sign the lease and begin construction on Tim’s long-envisioned craft beer taproom. But just before they put pen to paper, some news about a burgeoning health crisis causes them to hold off and mull things over during a Mid-March weekend. It proves to be a fortuitous decision.
Spring/Summer 2020: The COVID-19 crisis kicks into full gear, causing all BC hospitality operations to freeze during a lockdown then slowly reopen with drastically reduced capacity.
Sept 2020: Seeing an eventual end to the pandemic, Tim’s group decides to resume the project and make it official. In December, work begins in earnest on The Barley Merchant.
June 2021: What’s Brewing visits to witness the construction progress. Then, a month later on July 22nd, we return to enjoy a meal and beverages during a preliminary friends and family pre-opening event.
July 25th, 2021: Official opening day, at noon. See the social media links below for announcement and reactions!
The Barley Merchant
Find The Barley Merchant right next to the Cineplex Cinemas Langley “Colossus” IMAX theatre building, at:
20090 91A Avenue
Building B, Unit 101
Langley, BC V1M 3Y9
Tap List Preview
Get to know the type of craft beer and cider that will be flowing at The Barley Merchant! Langley’s (soon to be) eight amazing hometown breweries are definitely represented.
Note that all beer is on tap. You’re not going to be drinking beer out of bottles.
Cider fans: there will be eight (8!!) fresh BC craft ciders on tap at this beer bar! When’s the last time you saw that?
Use the arrows at bottom left above to page through the full list.