BC Ale Trail came to Smithers last week as part of its tour of the North.
BC Ale Trail is a collaborative effort between BC Craft Brewers Guild and Destination BC to promote the province’s craft beer industry to tourists from other provinces and countries as well as to B.C. residents.
The program creates a suggested itinerary, or trail, that highlights all the craft breweries in a particular region as well as activities to do.
A representative from the Ale Trail will visit a region to interview the owner or brewmaster of each brewery and engage in some beer tasting. They will also take part in tourist attractions.
“It’s one of the pieces that influences where people stop and where they’re going to eat,” Tourism Smithers marketing director Gladys Atrill said. “It’s certainly not going to do us harm and I’m really glad we’re able to join in to the trail network.”
Smithers will join Prince Rupert, Terrace, Prince George, Valemount, Fort St. John, Quesnel and 100 Mile house in BC Ale’s northern trail.
The Ale Trail will not be visiting Fort St. John due to time constraints but it will still be included in the northern trail.
Ale Trail photography director Geoffrey Tomlin-Hood arrived in Smithers Wednesday evening after stops in Prince Rupert and Terrace.
“I’ve never been in this neck of the woods. I have family in Prince George so we would always come up there but would never take the time to come out this far west,” Tomlin-Hood. “Now that I know this all exists I’ll be back.”
After getting a tour of the downtown core by Atrill, Tomlin-Hood visited Bulkley Valley Brewery and Smithers Brewing Company.
Bulkley Valley Brewery owner Dave Harris said he spoke to Tomlin-Hood more about the community he serves than the beer on tap.
Harris said no matter the season there’s always something to do in town. People can go hunting or low alpine hiking in the fall, skiing and snowboarding in the winter, berry picking in the spring; or enjoy the rivers in the summer.
“[Smithers is] just a true four season destination,” Harris said. “It’s just really a magical place.”
Tomlin-Hood went mock fishing at Frontier Farwest Lodge with Smithers Brewing Company marketing director Blaine Estby.
They could not engage in real fishing because of the salmon closure.
“It was nice just to show him what a lot of people come from all over world come for,” Estby said of the fishing experience. “The Ale Trail showcases [regions] to the greater population of the Lower Mainland and southern B.C., hopefully they can entice some to come up north.”
Tomlin-Hood said videos and photos from the his visit will be released at the end of summer. BC Ale Trails can be found at bcaletrail.ca.