Windstorm and power outage force Riot Brewing to get creative to save their beer

Rob Mangelsdorf photo

Riot Brewing in Chemainus had to do some quick thinking when a brutal windstorm knocked out power to the brewery last month.

The same windstorm that caused havoc across southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands on Dec. 20, leaving 750,000 BC Hydro customers without power for days, hit Chemainus particularly hard, resulting in Riot having to close its doors for four of its busiest days of the year.

“Chemainus and the rest of the Cowichan Valley was deemed as one of the hardest hit communities,” says Riot Brewing’s Megan Calwell. “In insurance speak, it was catastrophic!”

To make matters worse, they were also in the middle of a brew when they lost power.

Without power, the beer they had made wouldn’t be able to ferment at the correct temperature, and would likely get infected. So the quick thinking brewers at Riot added just enough Lactobacillus to get the souring process going, then held their breath for the results. Souring a beer with Lactobacillus doesn’t require refrigeration, so it was the best bet to save the beer.

Despite the fact the brewery was without power for more than three days, the improvised concoction is one of the happiest accidents to come out of Riot’s tanks, according to Calwell.

The result was Sour Outage Passionfruit Plum Dark Sour, which will be hitting stores later this month. Since Riot lost a ton of money due to the power outage, do them a solid and pick up a case.


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