Thousands of Quebecers descended on Fort Chambly’s National historical site to sip and to celebrate the best of Quebec’s brews and flavours.
“The weather is great for the weekend of Labour Day, so it’s great,” said Joey St-Arnault with an India Pale Ale beer in hand.
The festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
“Twenty years later we’re the reference. We’re the biggest beer festival in Quebec,” said Luc Rousseau, president of Concept B, the company organizing the festival.
Bieres et Saveurs de Chambly has grown from a couple of dozen exhibitors in 2002 to 110 this year, offering over 1,000 craft beers, ciders and spirits.
Rousseau says more than 60,000 people attended on their opening day.
The festival is in part a big success because Quebecers love their brews.
Statistics Canada reports that the province has some of the biggest beer drinkers in the country, with an average sale of 4.3 beers a week per person of legal age.
“Quebecers are happy people [who] definitely want to discover,” Rousseau said.
The curiosity doesn’t stop with the golden liquid.
Over the past decade, gin was the spirit with the highest growth in Canada.
The volume of gin sales rose 81.8 per cent in the country, according to census data, Quebec being the largest contributor to increased sales.
“Gin gives the possibility to explore a whole panel of flavour and we’re really open-minded here about the flavours,” said Gabrielle Panaccio, event director at Distillerie 3 Lacs. “If you go to Europe, they’re more into London Dry gin, more classic spirits as well.”
Dieu du Ciel was one of the first vendors when the festival started in 2002 and one of the first microbreweries in the province.
Michel Villeneuve, an ambassador for the brewery, said the craft beer scene is seeing a huge boom since the pandemic.
Death at Burning Man under investigation as flooding strands thousands
Rain and mud leave Burning Man revellers stranded in Nevada desert
“Before 2018, I said in French, ‘Le Quebec va torcher le monde’ — Quebec is going to set the world on fire,” Villeneuve said. “[It’s] the passion of the brewers, the love of the brewers and just the quality of the terroir.”
With more than 300 microbreweries across Quebec and more than 60 new ones coming up, organizers say the festival is becoming more relevant every year.
The festival runs until Monday.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.