Why Did Two Basement Beer Makers Cross The Road?
By Frank Peebles on March 10 2016
For 20 years, a dream has been fermenting in the brain of Daryl Leiski. It sweetened and gathered body as he experimented with small batches of beer he’d craft in his basement.
The same yeast was fizzing in the imagination of Bjorn Butow, also a home brewer. He, like Leiski, appreciated small-batch varieties of lager, ale, stout and other members of the beer family.
When the two met, they brewed up a business plan, too, and this past month they announced their grand plan to the city. Their burgeoning beer business is named for all the natural forces and human activities that all converge here in their home reason. For more then 10,000 years people have had a constant community here because of the northern divide, the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, all the ancient pathways between north, south, east and west that now take the form of railroads and highways. So, Crossroads Brewing Company it was.
Leiski and Butow agreed that their Crossroads venture be built somewhere in the downtown where local history and commerce intersect. That region of the city had been ailing, so now it will be aleing instead, helping the George Street economy in the process. Their location will be in the vacant Tony Roma’s building that also housed Foodteller, Niner’s Diner and originated as a car dealership in the 1940s. Symbolically, geographically and architecturally it was perfect for Crossroads Brewing of Prince George.
They hope to have their venture open by December. The brewing and packaging will occur on-site, and a small, attractive tasting lounge will also be included. The plan calls for eight varieties of beer on-tap, some of which will be constant house favourites and some that will change with the seasons.
Crossroads isn’t the first independent brewery in the area. We have, among others, Three Ranges Brewing Company in Valemount, Barkerville Brewing Company in Quesnel, and the granddaddy of them all: Pacific Western Brewery in Prince George. The two Crossroads partners were pleased to report all those companies were enthusiastic and helpful for their venture. It is another kind of sign that this region grows stronger when everything meets in the middle.