Victoria’s Swans Hotel and Brewpub is a veritable historic landmark in the province’s capital. In addition to being housed in a historic 100-plus-year-old granary warehouse, it’s also one of the original craft breweries in B.C., celebrating its 30th anniversary later this year.
In preparation for its upcoming birthday, the brewery got a much-needed facelift over the past two months. The venerable brewpub now sports a new bar, new tables, new beer lines, a remodeled patio area and a brighter, more open feel. Thankfully, the new and improved Swans still retains its charming heritage character.
“Swans has an important place in Victoria and we were very aware of that,” said general manager Michael Boyle on Wednesday night at the brewpub’s invite-only preview. “We didn’t want to do anything too radical because we know what this place means to people here. We’re just stewards.”
Boyle helped design the renovations, which update the space with clean, modern lines, while paying tribute to the building’s past. Details like the a mural of a steam train that marks the point where railway tracks once entered the former warehouse hint at the brewery’s former life.
“Most breweries need to create a story, but here, we have so many stories we’re tripping over them,” says Boyle.
The brewery has also increased its draft taps to a whopping 58 (!!!). Brewer Chris Lukie says Swans beer will be pouring on 20 to 24 taps at any time, with another 24 taps for rotating guest beers and ciders. The remaining 10 taps will be reserved for things like tap takeovers, as well as the possible return of hand-pulled cask beers (fingers crossed).
Lukie says he’s most excited about a new lagering room, where he’ll be able to lager up to eight beers at once.
Swans officially reopens this Friday, March 8, at 5 p.m.