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Whistle Buoy Brewing Now Open in Victoria’s Market Square

Whistle Buoy Brewing Now Open in Victoria’s Market Square

Victoria’s newest brewery, Whistle Buoy, opened its doors amidst the chaos of the Canada Day long weekend and if you didn’t take notice then, now’s your chance. 


The brewery is located in Market Square and sits adjacent to our favourite craft beer taproom, the Drake—a combo that benefits beer nerds and both businesses since Whistle Buoy and the Drake can help offset any overflow of customers. As Isaiah Archer, the brewery’s retail and marketing manager, tells me over a quick pint on a recent rainy afternoon, “It’s not competitive; we’re stoked to support other small, independent businesses.”

Whistle Buoy is producing small-batch beers made to be consumed on-site. They’ve got a heavy focus on sustainability and low-impact brewing—Isaiah completed his master’s degree in sustainability in Sweden and during his time there worked closely with Dugges, a craft brewery, to complete an analysis of the entire operation. Whistle Buoy’s first beer was made with Island ingredients (minus the yeast, which they brought in from Ontario) and they’ve already partnered with local companies like Cultured Kombucha, Fernwood Coffee and Little June. All of which you can find on tap or on the menu.

“We believe that social and environmental responsibility are necessary components of doing business,” says Isaiah. “Brewing is inherently resource-intensive and requires heavy inputs of raw ingredients. But we’re committed to finding ways to do more with less. Supporting local is easy because of the high-quality ingredients from Vancouver Island and the Cascadia growing region. Our tank-to-glass model also allows us to have a relatively small footprint as a brewery.”

“Brewing is inherently resource intensive and requires heavy inputs of raw ingredients. But we’re committed to finding ways to do more with less.”

The team behind Whistle Buoy—Isaiah Archer, Matt West-Patrick, Iwan Williams, Nina Colovic and Colin Curtis—wanted to create a space where people can “sit down, bring your family or hang out with your dog until midnight, where the music is at the perfect volume, and the space feels inclusive.” 

The brewery is big; they have 108 seats, including a nice-sized patio. The interior is bright and nicely decorated in an appropriately coastal way—the opposite of a frightening nautical-themed Pier 1 Imports showroom. They’re fully licensed and the menu, supplied daily by Fernwood’s Little June, features pre-packaged sandwiches and light snacks. They also encourage customers to bring in food from outside the brewery; some of their neighbourhood favourites include Ayo Eat, Mom’s Kitchen, Famoso Pizzeria, Cafe Mexico and Varsha.

And the name? Isaiah, Matt and Iwan met through mutual friends but bonded over a passion for spearfishing. The story for the name came out of one of their regular fishing trips to Bamfield on a particularly foggy day—the sort of day Louis Druehl would use as a setting if he were to write a coastal crime novel. As they chartered their boat through the heavy fog to a good reef spot, they heard the distinct, reassuring whistling sound of the nearest buoy cut through the eerie silence. The skies later cleared. The fishing that day was great. And the Whistle Buoy name was born.

Check out Whistle Buoy online and give ’em a follow on Instagram.

Whistle Buoy Brewing Co.
560 Johnson St., Victoria

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