Holy cow, the Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Company (AKA Brew Pub) is celebrating it’s tenth anniversary. This in turn leads me to quite possibly the most thoroughly researched column of my journalistic career. Unfortunately, my traditionally allotted ranting room simply isn’t spacious enough to fully do justice to such a milestone but I’ll give ‘er a shot. First, I must put fears aside that there will be embarrassing / criminal stories told in this column. Rest assured there are more than enough of those tasty tales but those will have to wait until the party, or in some cases, when those involved have passed on.
Let’s go back a decade to a kinder, gentler time… ahh who am I kidding? It was an insane, drug and booze fueled, small town, redneck time when Mountain Burger had twenty-four hour delicious grease, peelers were at the Mexx, somewhere a hippie was getting beaten up, and Cleveland avenue south of the August Jack had nothing but a hardware store and over-grown fields. It was the deep end of Cleveland avenue where the young Dave Fenn and Steve Shard had the vision to open a Local Brew Pub in what would surely become a world renowned destination. Sure it was at the end of a struggling downtown but political assurances (read: horse-pucky) were made that downtown revitalization was council’s top priority and soon a vibrant core would be here.
Again, that was ten years ago and the identical state of Cleveland avenue is symbolic of the absolute Herculean task it has been to keep the pub afloat. While I can go on about the fantastic craft brew’s, the amazing people and good times, just as important is the building’s role as a boycott lighting rod. You see, the Brew Pub arrived around the same time there was a large insurgence of people who were here for the scenery as well as employment. Sadly, it was also the time when our forest industry started seeing the writing on the wall and instead of thinking forward, the Mayor and council of the day decided to implement their, “You’re with forestry or your against Squamish” campaign. This embarrassing agenda saw many pointless attacks on the recreation community, even though many forestry families were also recreationalists. The Brew Pub saw the brunt of the boycott action even though they were offering good jobs and good beer in a town that deserved both. In fact, nine years later, there are still wives who are ordered not to attend the lovely "Christmas Craft Fair". I am not making that up, from it’s inception, sad little bullies have done all they could to shut the pub’s doors and many times they came ever so close.
But this is Squamish where only the strong survive
and here we are in fine spirits (pun intended) keeping the love alive
celebrating ten years of local beer swillin’ and pre-Olympic boom