First West Capital becomes funding partner to Central City Brewers

Central City Brewers and Distillers, a craft brewery, liquor store and brewpub, has partnered with Canadian private equity firm First West Capital. The firm will assist Central City Brewers with expansion plans, including funding its newest brewery. The value of the transaction was not disclosed. Founded in 2003, the company is based in Surrey, British Columbia. The Vancouver-based First West Capital, an investment arm of First West Credit Union, focuses on providing customized subordinated loans and mezzanine financing to small businesses.


Central City Brewers Craft Their Expansion With the Help of First West Capital

Local brewery growing to keep up with the demand for craft beer

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – June 5, 2014) – Craft beer connoisseurs can anticipate more award-winning beer from Central City Brewers and Distillers. The Surrey-based brewery behind the popular Red Racer brand recently partnered with Langley-based First West Capital to help facilitate their expansion plans, which includes funding their brand new brewery to meet the overwhelming demand for high-quality craft beer.

“With market share doubling over the past four years from nearly 10 per cent in 2009 to 19.7 per cent in 2013*, it’s safe to say that the thirst for local, craft beer has reached a fevered pitch in British Columbia,” says Darryl Frost, president of Central City Brewers. “We’re excited to tap into this enthusiastic and growing market and will be significantly ramping up production to meet the growing demands of our customers over the next five years.”

Founded in 2003, Central City Brewers operates out of their state-of-the-art, 65,000 square feet brewery near the Pattullo Bridge and runs a brewpub and liquor store in the Central City Tower located in North Surrey. The decision to build a larger brewery was made with growth in mind. “With the development of our new brewery, we now have the ability to expand on a larger scale,” shares Frost. “Craft beer is here to stay, but there is still tons of room to capture market share from the big breweries.”

“We have a tight five-year plan with the objective of elevating Central City Brewers into a major player in the beer market across Western Canada,” adds Frost. Additionally, the company has plans to go to market in September with their first spirits, gin and vodka, as well as continuing to build momentum for their spirit cooler brand, Betty’s Iced Tea.

When it came to executing their ambitious plans, Frost knew they needed a strong financing partner. “I was skeptical about equity financing, so I called Rob who I have known for several years, and had approached me about a solution with First West Capital,” he says. Robert Napoli, vice-president, First West Capital explains, “When I initially met with Darryl and heard about Central City Brewers’ expansion plan, I knew they would need working capital for their growing business. Having worked with other clients and companies that were also looking to expand in the past, I suggested they consider subordinated debt as a way of funding their growth plans.”

After meeting with the First West Capital team, Frost’s expectations were met in spades. “Rob and the team at First West Capital immediately recognized our vision for growth and matched our passion for our business with their entrepreneurial financing expertise. I have a lot of trust in Rob and the team at First West Capital; they quickly identified our needs and customized a solution. We are pleased to be working with them,” he says.

“The craft beer market is exploding right now and Central City Brewers have experienced an impressive 482 per cent growth in sales over the last four years,” says Napoli. “As leaders and innovators in this market, it’s clear they have no plans to slow down. We really enjoy collaborating with local, growing businesses like Central City Brewers who have an appetite for expansion and a strong strategy for success. It’s a win-win.”

Although the brewery will be producing triple the amount of beer in five years, they are committed to the “batch beer” brewing method and maintaining the level of care and attention that garnered them Canada’s Brewery of the Year in both 2010 and 2012. “We still have the ability to make high-quality beer at a slower pace. The funding we have secured from First West Capital reinforces our ability to grow without compromising the integrity of our products,” says Frost.

Central City Brewing continues to satisfy local beer-lovers at this week’s Vancouver Craft Beer Week, where they took home the win for best India Pale Ale (IPA) and helped create the festival’s custom beer, PrevAle.

About Central City Brewers and Distillers
Founded in 2003, Central City Brewers and Distillers are a craft brewery, liquor store and brewpub located in Surrey, B.C. The award-winning Red Racer brand has become a cult icon among craft beer enthusiasts and by 2009 the brewery had reached its full capacity. In November 2013, Central City Brewers moved to their brand-new facility located in the Bridgeview area of North Surrey. They are Canada’s Brewery of the Year and the 2012 World Cup of Beer’s Gold and Bronze Medal winner. For more information about Central City Brewers, visit

About First West Capital
First West Capital, a division of First West Credit Union, specializes in financing small and medium-sized businesses, in amounts of up to $10 million, across all industries in Western Canada through customized subordinated loans and mezzanine financing. Led by Kristi Miller and Robert Napoli, the First West Capital team has more than 50 years of commercial lending expertise. Visit to learn more.

* Source: BC Business magazine ‘All Hopped Up’ by David Jordan, June 2014

Media Contact
Kathie Barthel
First West Capital

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock