On Father’s Day in June, at the ripe age of 89 John Mitchell died, whose enthusiasm for beer caused him to be regarded as Canada’s grandfather of microbrewing. We’d like to take the time to remember him here at I Love Craft Beer.
Mitchell was born in Singapore and moved to England, in 1929 before he was 24 years old. In 1982 he established Horseshoe Bay Brewing in West Vancouver, considered the first microbrewery in Canada where his voyage into beer started. In 1984, in Victoria, he launched the Spinnakers, the longest brawpub in the country.
He joined the Howe Sound Brewing squad in 1996 at Squamish, B.C. in 1996 starting a career that would lead to the now celebrated 10 years of booming beer culture known as the Vancouver Craft Beer Week. John Ohler began collaborating with him. Both of them were the greatest buddies.
He came into the company to produce good beer. He truly wanted to bring back… the real ale that was lost at that time, “Ohler said.” I wasn’t going into a business to gather cash. Ohler said that he had a strong will, yet was a professional individual who opened gates for the craft beer sector and was always researching beer— seeing how it had to be a certain heat, a special carbonation and brewed whole hops instead of hop-pellets.
Normally, he added, he was attracted to ales in English formats. Mitchell set the basis for the artisan beer sector to develop to what it is today, said Ohler. He urged to modify legislation to make business “fair” in the sector possible, he added.
He was a pioneer of beer who transformed B.C. In 2016 Mitchell and Ohler established a basis to provide courses for learners under the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Brewing and Brewery Operations Diploma program.
Around two weeks earlier, Mitchell was diagnosed with pneumonia in June and hospitalized, Ohler said. He died shortly after. Read more about the Canadian beer pioneer here and take in the latest beer news below.