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How Fresh is Your BC Beer? A List.

May 9, 2010

It’s my honour to thank papat444 for compiling the majority of this list. I just came along and helped fill a few blanks. You should really check out the rest of his list. Includes hundreds of breweries from all over the world.

Pretty much every brewery has some way to trace back to when the beer was brewed. Sometimes it’s obvious to the comsumer, others, not so much. This list is not complete, as I don’t know all the brewpubs who also do some bottling. If you have any info on unlisted brewery please post it in the comments.

Beer at a brewpub should be considered always fresh, and so should draft beer.

    Bowen Island: Uses a packaging date. From the brewer: Recently we installed an ink jet printer which prints a 5 digit code, like “L9250” on the bottom side-rim of each can. In this case the L9 is part of the lot number and the 250 represents the 250th day of the year. With this info we can trace the day, the batch and the crew that packaged the product.

    Cannery: Uses a production date. From the brewer: Our cases of bottles and our flats for our cans are all stamped with production dates. Format is MM/DD/YY.

    Central City: Uses a packaging date. They stamp the bottom of the can with a code that looks like B1810. That would be Feb 18, 2010. The case also have this date.

    Columbia (Kokanee): Uses a packaging date. From the brewer: All of our cans, bottles, and cases are dated and coded on the day they are packaged. If you look on the label of the bottle, the bottom of the can, or on the side of the case, you will see a code. We use alphabets to represent the months of a year. ‘A’ stands for January, ‘B’ – February, and so on. We skip the letter ‘I’ and finish in December with ‘M’. The number following the letter is the day of the month. Example ‘B14’ represents February 14. The code following that represents the location the product was packaged and the time.

    Crannóg Ales: Draft only.

    Dead Frog: Uses a best before date. From the brewer: There is a best before sticker on the bottom of each 6pack box.

    Driftwood: Uses a best before date. It’s a white sticker on the cap. Format is MM/DD/YY. Ex.: 11-27-09.

    Fat Cat: Uses a best before date. From the brewer: Yes, along the right hand side of the bottle. We make a mark with a nail (yeah I know, high tech) for month and week. You have to look or feel, but its there.

    Fernie: Uses a packaging date. From the brewer: The bottom of the 24 flat is stamped with packaging date.

    Granville Island: Uses a packaging date. The date will look like a stamp and will have a letter on it, a= Jan, b = Feb ect… There is no I and it skips to J for that month. The shelf life of most of their beer is 6 months refrigerated. No day or year is provided, just the month.

    Gulf Islands (Saltspring Ales): Uses a packaged on date. From the brewer: We do have a “packaged on” code on the cap of our beer. Example: YDDDYY. Y is the year, and DDD is the numerical day of the year when the product was packaged (ie between 1 and 365). For example, a tag of 703107 means the product was packaged on January 31, 2007.

    Hell’s Gate: Uses a packaging date. 1 letter for month and 4 digits for day and year. Ex.: B1810. That would be Feb 18, 2010.

    Howe Sound: No freshness info. A batch number is stamped on the neck of the bottle. Nothing translatable for the comsumer.

    Lighthouse: Uses a packaged on date. Date is stamped on the flat which i presume is the case. Example: JUN 11 09. Shelf-life is 3-5 months.

    Mission Springs: Uses Bottling date. From the brewer: On the side of the bottle you will see a check on the month and date it was bottled.

    Mt. Begbie: Uses a bottling date. From the brewer: We put the bottling date on our beers on the lower left hand side of the label. The first three numbers are the date it was packaged and the last two are the year. So if it say 01010 that would be Jan 10, 2010 and 36510 would be Dec 31, 2010. If you have something from 2009, let me know the brand and the code and I can tell you when it was packaged as we were doing something slightly different then.

    Nelson: Uses a best before date. Printed on top of their packaging. Format is MM/DD/YY.

    Old Yale: Uses a packaged date. The date is notched out on the label.

    Phillips: Uses a best before date. From the brewer: The best before date will be on the box of the 6-pack or Showcase pack. Most of our 341mL beers have a 4 month shelf life. ie. ‘June 5 2010’. 650mL bottles have a notching system on the labels.

    R & B: Best before date notched on label.

    Red Truck: Draft only.

    Russell: No freshness info.

    Storm: Draft only.

    Surgenor: Uses packaging date. From the brewer: the date of packaging is on the bottom of the six pack carrier.

    Swans: Uses a freshest before date on their bottles. Format is MM/YY.

    Tree: Uses a bottling date. From the brewer: We have always had dates on secondary packaging and now have on both secondary and primary packaging. Our best before date is 6 months from time of bottling.

    Vancouver Island: Uses a bottled date. From the brewer: There is a bottled date on the shoulder of the bottle. It is hard to read and if you are not careful you might rub it off. We also have a bottled date on the top package. As our products are preservative free we use 3 months from the bottling date as the “best before” date. The month is written as a word on the package. I believe it is the same way with the bottle.

    Whistler: Uses a bottled date. From the brewer: If you look carefully and its tough on the darker beers…on the collar of the bottles is a number stamped that will look like L10079….ignore the L, the first 2 digits is the year so 10=2010 and the last 3 digits represent the bottling date so 079=the 79th day of 2010. Cans have a stamp on the bottom with the actual bottling date and the stale date which is, for our beer, 6 months from canning/bottling.

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