O’Keefe Beer History Alive and Well
July 31, 2014
“It will always be The O’Keefe to me…”
Tapestry at Arbutus Walk was the first Tapestry Retirement Community built in 2003 as an integral part of the master planned community at Arbutus Walk in Vancouver. Spending any amount of time at this beautiful property will familiarize you with Tapestry at Arbutus Walk’s rich beer history and attachment to the O’Keefe Brewery identity. Between the building, the former employee local brew on tap, and the Tapestry sponsored O’Keefe Brewers slo-pitch team, Vancouver Craft Beer tradition is alive and well at Tapestry at Arbutus Walk.
This beautifully re-created tower is a distinctive feature of Tapestry at Arbutus Walk. Kitsilano has a history of breweries from the earliest days of settlement. Brewery operations grew through the 1920’s and 1930’s turning Kitsilano into a self sufficient company town. This tower is a re-construction of the tower from the Carling O’Keefe brewery that sat on the same site that Arbutus Walk does today. Take a walk through the archway to read about Kitsilano brewery history.
Henry Reifel was Vancouver’s beer man (among many other things). He started Brewery Creek on Main at 16th and amalgamated many companies to eventually form Vancouver Breweries. The brewery located at Yew and 11th was eventually sold to become Carling O’Keefe, the namesake of Tapestry at Arbutus Walk.
Learn more about Vancouver’s Craft Beer History here http://www.miss604.com/2012/02/archives-photos-of-the-day-beer.html and here http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2013/06/04/for-the-love-of-craft-beer-vancouvers-brewing-history/
Tapestry at Arbutus Walk recently opened it’s very own pub! In honour of the brewery past, the Carling Lounge offers big screens to watch the game, a full pub menu, and a couple special craft beers: Steven’s Lager and Pale Ale both on tap. Steven worked in maintenance at Arbutus Walk and recently left to pursue running his own brewery. The residents wanted to support his en-devour even as he left the Tapestry team. And what better way to show support than drinking beer?
Suzanne, Tapestry at Arbutus Walk’s Food Services Manager, explained she was unsure that residents would drink beer regularly enough to have the beers on tap. To her surprise, the residents drink about twice as much of the local craft beer as she anticipated.
For just $3, you can enjoy a glass of Steven’s local beer and support the history of brewing that this Tapestry community continues to this day!
Three seasons ago, General Manager Bill Rankin, and Recreation Manager Sabeena Denton, decided to pull together a Tapestry slo-pitch team called the O’Keefe Brewers. The Brewers have been very successful as they compete in the Vancouver Advertising Slo-Pitch League. This season they are ranked #1 in their division with playoffs in the coming weeks.
Jacquie, Administrative Assistant, has been managing the team since they started. All players are employees and family members from Tapestry at Arbutus Walk. A total of 20 players are on the roster and nearly every department is represented. The team fosters sportsmanship and gets members of the Tapestry team to know one another across departments. It’s also pretty fun to win together!
At least twice a year, residents pack a bus and head to an O’Keefe Brewers game. Supplied with snacks, beer, and pom poms, the event is always very popular and fills up fast.
Back to the Beer…
Vancouver is a rapidly changing city. With new developments, changing retail space, transit expansion, etc. we can lose site of it’s history. With Craft Beer making a very big comeback recently, the O’Keefe history of Tapestry at Arbutus Walk serves to remind us of the learning and traditions brewing has provided to Vancouver’s foundation. Though the O’Keefe Brewery was eventually demolished in 1995 after being bought out by Molson, the residents and staff remind us of the not so distant past and support local brewing today.