Whales for Whales – Pod Pack combines collaboration, community, all for a good cause.

In Craft Beer speak, seeking out a Whale is finding those rare, sought after brews that will make others jealous, and are the bottle share gold that will make others swoon. Living on the West Coast of Canada though, we get a few whales of that variety, but when you hear someone talking about a whale, they’re usually referring to the aquatic version.

So how do you reconcile the two? Well, Vancouver Island Brewing has long been known for referencing the Orca in their branding, and they’ve launched a new initiative alongside four other breweries and the Pacific Salmon Foundation. The Pod Pack, a mixed collaborative four pack, goes on sale in late July, and the work behind it, the connections built through it, and the hopeful growth from it are a testament to the work and passion that can come from a common goal.

The Beer

So, what makes this so special? Well, it’s not just a mixed pack of beer.

Four distinct beers, four collaborative breweries in addition to Vancouver Island Brewing, coming from four different communities all over Vancouver Island. In addition to that, the four names of the beers all refer to a southern resident Orca.

Ocean Sun, a Double IPA brewed alongside the folks from White Sails Brewing, comes in at 8% ABV.

Mystic is a 5% ABV dry-hopped sour brewed with Ile Sauvage Brewing Company in Victoria.

Rainshadow, a 5.5% ABV blackberry and raspberry kettle sour (the first one brewed at Vancouver Island Brewing), should delight both those that are and aren’t familiar with Twin City Brewing from Port Alberni.

Finally, Deadhead, a 4.5% ABV hazy session IPA, is a collaboration with one of the newest breweries on the Island, Comox’s Land and Sea Brewing.

The Packaging

With the work going into the beer, the messaging, and the overall plan, the packaging had to be something special as well.

Each beer, in an eye catching black and white, are directly designed with the markings from their namesake orcas. In addition, to avoid any plastic that may get into our waterways, the beers are then packaged in a cardboard box that not only has a stunning design, but actually has a dorsal fin incorporated on the top of the box.

The Cause

It may seem strange to try to promote the Pacific Salmon Foundation if the focus is whales, but with salmon stocks having significantly declined over the years, this has directly impacted the orca’s food supply. By donating the PSF, the hope is that the salmon stocks can be improved, which directly impacts how viable our region is for the whales.

By finding ways to reduce costs related to the beers, packaging, and promotion, $1 from every Pod Pack will go to the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

The Party

Vancouver Island is full of individuals who love to work hard and play hard, so it’s only fitting that after putting together all of this, it would be time to celebrate.

Saturday, July 20th, appropriately on the water at the Breakwater Barge, are two sessions of Pod Fest. $10 gets you into the party, and includes a 12 oz beer, and a $5 donation to the Pacific Salmon Foundation. The first session runs from 1-4 PM, with the 2nd from 5-8 PM.

An afterparty is also happening at Dylan’s Sports Bar & Grill on Yates, so the party doesn’t have to be over right away.

If you’re reading this and need to get at ticket at the door, be aware that you’re looking at $15, so don’t wait, and get them ahead of time at Eventbrite

The Documentary

Finally, Marketing Director at Vancouver Island Brewing, Chris Bjerrisgaard, alongside Jake Clark, Chief Beer Officer at For The Love Of Craft Beer, took a road trip around to all the participating breweries learning a little bit more about the communities that surround them, and why they felt it was so important to take part in this collaboration.

In addition, they stopped by and met with some of the folks behind the Nitinat Hatchery and the South Vancouver Island Angler Coalition.

The video reinforces the ties to the community that each brewery and person feels, and does a great job of explaining why the Pod Pack is such an important project.

Pod packs should be on the shelf of your local liquor store at the end of July.