Vancouver Island Brewery’s New Porter and New Re-Rebrand

Vancouver Island Brewery unveils new porter along with their new re-rebrand

Vancouver Island Brewery held a flight night last week, in part to commemorate their re-rebranding last year, and to release their new Nanaimo Bar Imperial Porter. Craft beer lovers and industry professionals gathered in the brewery’s tasting room to enjoy a guided tour with beer and food pairings.

In May of last year, the brewery unveiled its plan to return to their previous branding, only a year after their initial rebrand in 2017. Their first rebrand moved the company to a minimalistic style, unveiling themselves as VI (short for Vancouver Island), and changing the logo to a simple hexagon—a move that they say failed with consumers. “A lot of consumers felt it was a departure away from the Island,” said Dave Nicholls, General Manager for Vancouver Island Brewing. “Where the brand had previously been Vancouver Island Brewing, the move to VI seemed like a departure.”

The new re-rebrand harkens back to their origins, displaying a round logo with orcas cresting the top of it. “We’re not trying to evolve what was our rebrand, because we don’t want to tweak something that didn’t totally work,” says Nicholls. “Instead, we’re going back to the beginning and going from there.” While their initial rebrand not only changed their labels, it also focused their beer varieties to include more conventional options. “Our beer didn’t push the limits in terms of what consumers want. It was a bit of a safe play,” says Nicholls. “Now, we get to have a  fun space for exploration.”

The brewery, flexing their creative muscles right out of the gate, had recently unveiled their Nanaimo Bar Imperial Porter. As a homage to the sweet Island treat we all know and love, the heady porter is reminiscent of the dessert in more ways than one having decadent vanilla notes, and dry “hopped” using coconut.

After the Nanaimo Porter, goers were offered Victoria Lager with Edam cheese. The Czech pilsner malt in this variety makes for a golden crisp draft beer that contrasts nicely with the sharpness of the cheese. Dominion Dark Lager was paired with slices of chorizo sausage, balancing the spiciness and fat richness of the sausage with the creaminess of the dark lager. The Broken Island Hazy IPA was paired with pineapple and ham to bringing out the tropical citrus flavours in the IPA and was reminiscent of pizza and beer nights. Finally, Misthorn Winter IPA was paired with carrot cake, mirroring the warm spices and orange zest that each of them contained.

While Vancouver Island Brewery may have had a rocky few years, it seems they are doubling down their efforts to connect with the Island beer community while responding positively to criticism. If these first few steps they’ve taken are any indication of what’s to come, then I’m sure we can all look forward to more great things from one the Island’s oldest breweries.

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