by Alexa & Tristan Fetherston and Steven Hardy, owners, Beacon Brewing | photo by Nunn Other Photography –
When we were asked to write the intro for Seaside Magazine’s October Professionals feature, we were honoured. We don’t see ourselves as “professionals” in our daily lives; we are just a family running our family business and trying to make people happy and give back to the community through our brewery.
After two years of building our business, we opened our brewery and tasting room in October of 2021, at the tail end of the COVID-19 mandates. We consider ourselves to be lucky with the timeline of how everything worked out for us. Yes, it was tough to navigate a brand new business, especially a service industry related one, with constant changes from the government, but the community of Sidney and the craft beer community were both quite supportive. And seeing as it was the only way we knew of running it, we believe it was actually easier on us compared to a business that had been running pre-Covid and forced to implement changes and endure extra hardships.
The town and community of Sidney welcomed us with open arms (and mouths) and even before we opened the doors in October, there was a buzz surrounding us being the first brewery in Sidney. Once open, there was a little confusion from some as to what we actually were – a brew pub? A bar? But after a quick stop in the tasting room, and a chat with one of the three owners (one of us is always around, as any small business owner will know!), people quickly understood that instead of a place to sit and have a full meal, our atmosphere was more about being the local neighbourhood hang location, with great beer, tasty snacks, fun games and a casual environment where everyone (including kids) is welcome.
People can see that Sidney is changing and evolving, and this beautiful little seaside town is no longer just a place people pass on their way to or from the ferry. Nor is it seen as a sleepy bedroom community for Victoria. It’s a destination for many reasons now, and we feel privileged to hopefully be considered one of them. We are excited to see what the future holds for Sidney.
We have loved meeting so many people over the past year and creating meaningful and lasting relationships with those we never would have connected with without opening this brewery. Seeing the faces of regulars walk through our door day in and day out not only brings us joy from a professional side, but from a personal side as well. We now consider so many of these people our friends, and even family. Coming from Salt Spring Island originally, the three of us understand that a community the size and as tight knit as Sidney thrives only when everyone is rooting for everyone else. We can’t wait to continue our journey as entrepreneurs in this community, and to meet so many more people and friends along the way!