Celebration of life for Canadian craft beer legend John Mitchell planned for July 14

John Mitchell at the dedication of the first scholarship for Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s brewing diploma program provided by the John Mitchell Foundation in 2016. Contributed photo

A celebration of life for Canadian brewing legend John Mitchell is being planned for July 14 at the Red Racer Taphouse on Beatty St. in Vancouver, and the public is being invited to raise a pint to the man that helped make craft beer possible in Canada.

The event will feature special casks of beer donated by breweries across the province and will serve as a fundraising event for the John Mitchell Foundation scholarship fund.

Mitchell has passed away at the age of 89 on June 16, 2019. The “Grandfather of Canadian Craft Beer” was born in Singapore in 1929 and raised in England, before immigrating to Canada in 1953. Inspired by his love for the rich, flavourful ales of the U.K.—and their complete absence in Canada—Mitchell pioneered the country’s first craft brewery in Horseshoe Bay in 1982. That meant years of lobbying all levels of government to allow craft breweries the right to legally exist, thus setting the stage for the coming craft beer revolution. He was also one of the founding partners—and the original brewer—of Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria, Canada’s oldest continuously operating craft brewery.

Here’s what organizers have to say about the July 14 celebration of Mitchell’s life on the event’s Facebook page:

“On Sunday June 16th 2019, Alexander John Mitchell passed away at age 89.

Before that happened, a plan was underway to celebrate his 90th birthday, which he missed by only a couple of months. Instead, we’ll just have to celebrate his entire life, during which he changed the course of Canadian brewing history and pioneered the industry that’s important to so many lovers of craft beer across this nation.

You are invited to attend a memorable and historic afternoon alongside some very special guests from the craft beer community. It will be a tribute and toast to John as well as a fundraiser for a cause close to John’s heart: the John Mitchell Scholarship, benefitting the KPU Brewing and Brewery Operations school in Langley.

Some VERY appropriate casks and kegs are being donated by kind BC breweries, and beer will be sold at $5.00 with all proceeds going directly to the Scholarship. All you have to do to contribute is drink delicious beer.

This is a time for the brewing industry, fans and friends of John to come together. We will have some special guests, share memories and raise a toast to the one person who we can truly say started it all.


If you have a photo of John you’d like to share, post it here for the slideshow at the COL. OK to share your memory of John here too.
Many thanks to Red Racer Taphouse Beatty for donating their space for this occasion.”


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