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Fruit from Victoria's Urban Orchard is in Your Beer and it Matters for Two Big Reasons

It's a plum party and you're invited! We're excited to bring you (for the second time)...

Plum Party - Golden Plum Sour

This beer is special to us for two reasons,

1. Because the dry, tart, golden nectar is a luxurious sensory experience that makes our taste buds feel like they're strutting the red carpet. And,

2. The ingredients in the glass are a true example of our values in action and we are super proud using this amazing fruit. Some context:

Since before Whistle Buoy existed, our founders knew that sustainability was a core principle that must be ingrained into the DNA of the business. To act on this meaningfully, we knew that sourcing our ingredients from the local bioregion was non-negotiable, which is easily achieved here in the productive growing region of Southern Vancouver Island if you prioritize local procurement.

To date, we have sourced many thousands of pounds of local fruit in our various fruit-forward beer recipes (using an average of 175 lbs/batch). We have been working with several independent local farmers (we'll feature more of them in upcoming posts) and producers to source ingredients for various recipes, including a unique organization called the Life Cycles (LC) Project. What makes Life Cycles so unique is the land they farm is actually the urban orchard of Greater Victoria, on Lekwungen Territory. Their mission is to:

"Build a resilient food system in Greater Victoria by growing, harvesting, and sharing food. Year after year, we strive to make a difference by caring for the land, empowering our community, and building momentum within the local food movement to continue to connect people with healthy food."

They have many different projects, workshops and educational resources to help connect people to the local food system in our community. In our view, this is some of the most important work that can be done, which helps to prevent food waste and increase food security in our city, especially when this good food is diverted to folks who need it most.

Among the many programs and services LC runs, all of which you can read about here, the Fruit Tree Project is the one we have engaged with as a business by purchasing fruit for our sour beers. Plums in particular have been the go-to fruit we've used from LC due to the amount of healthy plum trees all around our city, and plums also happen to taste great in sour beer. Unfortunately, the fruit that groups like LC isn't able to get to often ends up rotting in the parks and on sidewalks of our neighbourhoods. We made a beer with Ile Sauvage in 2019 using Shiro Plums from LC, which won the Gold Medal for the best sour beer in BC that year, so we think it's safe to say the plums are yums.

Shiro Shiro Plum Sour

Gold medal winning Shiro Shiro sour with LC plums 

Why buying from LifeCycles matters

The LifeCycles organization is a great example of thinking global and acting local. Once you've learned of the environmental degradation associated with the global industrial food system, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. The founders of LC chose to act by developing projects that would enhance the quality of life within urban communities and create more sustainable relationships with food and the natural world.

Their first project was the development of community gardens, tended by youth, whose harvests supplied local soup kitchens. Since then, their programs have grown to include a number of interrelated initiatives that address urban sustainability and food security by offering practical, accessible and hopeful solutions. To this, we say yes!

How fruit is distributed

The LC volunteer teams harvested over +78,900 lbs of fruit in 2021, the majority of which is from backyard fruit trees in Greater Victoria.

Fruit is distributed following their Community Sharing model with produce that is more suitable for processing being turned into products that appeal to those in the community with high access and purchasing power to be turned into products like this sour beer!

LifeCycles community sharing modeal

LifeCycles Community Sharing Model (image courtesy of LC)

Do you have a fruit tree that isn't getting harvested?

You can register your fruit tree to have FREE volunteer-led picking services here


Want to get involved with LifeCycles?

You can sign up to volunteer, donate, become a member, sign up for workshops, or sign up for the newsletter here


About the beer

Plum Party - Golden Plum Sour


Style: Golden plum tank sour

Wheat: yes

Notes: Dry, tart, and fruity. This tank sour has a soft mouthfeel and a golden haze in the glass. Featuring a generous fruit addition of 150 lbs of golden plums harvested from fruit trees around Victoria through the LifeCycles fruit tree project. Enjoy.

Plum Party Sour Crowler

This beer is now available on draught and to-go in the taproom; and online here for local delivery, pickup, and BC Beer Mail. 



Most of the above information about LifeCycles is taken from their website and has been paraphrased or quoted directly with their permission. 

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