The men behind Tapworks Brewing Co. began a year-and-a-half ago, and they’ve been busy since the day the doors were opened.
Tapworks is a little ray of cheerful libation in rural town Gibsons, located on the Sunshine Coast. The British Columbia beer gives a little bit for everyone.
“I had always lived in and around greater Vancouver/Victoria, and my cousin Warren and friend Neil had careers with various levels of satisfaction. At the end of the day, we wanted a change,” he said.
“This catered toward mixing in a lot more passion with what I do day-to-day, and I care deeply about this place.”
Gornall, Warren Gregory and Neil Bergman began a business plan and started to gain a vision of what they wanted their business to be.
“We got to laying down our roots, pushed into the nitty gritty, and found ourselves an awesome spot. People loved it and began to buy our beer,” he said.
The place opened in February 2017, and it’s been a beautiful ride for Gornall ever since. However, he says the taproom does more than just serve alcohol.
“The cool thing about beer, breweries and taprooms is they can be a vehicle to bring people together. You can meet up with friends you haven’t seen in a while, or family members over a beer,” he said. “It’s just a great way to catch up, and beers can be used to help celebrate and cherish important moments in life.”
“Our taproom is a great place to do all of that,” said Gornall.
The guys have put a lot of effort into representing where they live in the beer they make.
“The coast is pretty picturesque, and there’s a ton of natural beauty. You can find yourself in beautiful spots with not many people around. If there are people around, you usually know them,” Gornall said.
“This is the epitome of the west coast lifestyle. This is mountain meets ocean, meets small town. Gibsons is such a good representation of British Columbia and how we enjoy life here.”
He says the taproom brews with a philosophy of lifestyle-first, community-driven beer.
“We have accessible, fun beers. By brewing beers that are balanced, both advanced and newer craft beer drinkers can love our beer,” he said.
“Newer craft beer drinkers are able to step into it without being overwhelmed with over-powering, pallet-smashing hop flavors while more advanced craft-beer drinkers appreciate the nuanced nature of it — enjoying more subtle tasting notes and developing their own unique relationship with our beers.”
He said people can gain a unique relationship with the beers they drink and the breweries they frequent.
“There’s something for everyone, no matter what is happening. Most of the beers go well with coastal activities like kayaking, and you can have a beer without it being an overpowering, uber-craft beer.”
“We love the fact we did a pilot batch this summer of a cherry chocolate milkshake stout, and that is was so well-received. We like our beer to be set apart, and connect us to the community. The cherries came from a friend’s cherry tree just up the road. Our beers can also sometimes be a shout-out to neighbouring businesses.”
There’s a new label design coming out this month, and Gornall couldn’t be happier.
“We revamped. People have called us Tapworks instead of our formal name since we opened. I think only tourists call us by our full name. It’s important to keep our coastal connection, and we brought the colour palate from a picture of a Sunshine Coast picturesque sunset,” he said.
“The design embodies the general warmth of the area and the welcoming nature of our town.”
The bottle designs also have a ‘pairs well with’ section, but Gornall and company don’t mention food pairings.
“We pair with activities on the coast you can do. We did a beachcomber coffee collaboration. For instance, and espresso golden ale beer pairs well with driftwood and skipping stones,” he said.
“I was walking with my dog a few weeks back on a beach full of driftwood logs and smooth stones. I realized it felt reminiscent of the smooth, easy-drinking beer that we’d just brewed.
Not only do their beers represent that community, and their labels represent the activities and feel, but their own taproom was re-designed to fit into Gibsons’ style as well.
The design contains a ton of natural wood and nautical elements to remind patrons of the coast. The furniture allows people to be social, and the taproom plays host to all kinds of events, from fundraisers and trivia nights to a throwback games night.
“We did a big design change with local company Durston Design, and we rejigged the layout. We found the stiff chairs and modular tables weren’t conducive when we first opened,” he said.
“Our goal was to make the place feel like you’re hanging out in a good friend’s living room, and the flow allows groups to interact with each other. Conversations across tables happens often, and people are within earshot. There’s a real community hub element.”
The new branding, released at November’s end, brings the lifestyle elements of Gibsons to the forefront.
Tapworks is now leaning into people’s love of Tapworks, and are representing through intangibles, including colours, community focus and the community love of the outdoors.
“We’re doing new, fun beer every week. We do limited releases on Fridays, and we keep things fresh and unique,” he said.
Though he’s only been open 21 months, he is pleased with the growth the company has seen.
“The time feels like it’s blown by. The community is changing, and there are many new businesses and young people in town. We stay connected in this community, and seeing entrepreneurs come in is cool. There’s an awesome energy right now,” he said.
“We are appreciative of the support. We’re getting tons of positive feedback. We are feeling the love. There is always something fun to do here, and a beer to have with whatever activity you’re doing.”
By Jordan Parker