Riot Brewing and Island Savings personnel gather at the brewery for the presentation of the Island Savings Fan Choice Award for the Cowichan Valley region’s best new business. Back row, from left: Mike Erichsen, Kirsten Waller, Ryan Jones, Ralf Rosenke, Jesse Grass, Fabian Specht. Front: Sarah Dion, Rob McIntyre, Aly Tomlin, Megan Calwell. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Public picks Chemainus’ Riot Brewing as best new Cowichan Valley business

Voting conducted through the Island Savings Credit Union Facebook page

Chemainus’ Riot Brewing has received an award from Island Savings Credit Union as the Best New Business in the Cowichan Valley region.

Riot, located at 101A-3055 Oak St. in the Chemainus Village Square complex, recently celebrated its first anniversary.

Island Savings cash management advisor Sarah Dion explained the award was the result of voting conducted on Facebook. There were four different categories in the third annual awards for the Victoria, Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo areas.

Dion joined Chemainus branch manager Kirsten Waller, business banking advisor Rob McInytre and insurance manager Mike Erichsen in making the presentation of a plaque and gift basket to Riot Brewing staff members at the brewery Thursday.

“Usually the biggest driver to the area would be tourism,” pointed out Dion.

But with Riot, it’s a bit different. “They’re helping to bring in a younger crowd, rejuvenating the area,” noted Dion.

“And their product is very good,” added McInytre.

For Aly Tomlin and Ralf Rosenke, who worked long and hard to make Riot Brewing a reality, it was great to receive the recognition from the public.

“Very happy about it,” said Rosenke. “It means a lot.”

“It means people know we’re here,” Tomlin indicated. “They’ve noticed us and we’ve made an impact.”

“And we’re doing our part to be part of the community,” Rosenke added.

Riot is also all about charity, Tomlin noted, and has teamed up with Victory Barbers of Duncan for a fundraiser every Friday in December from 5-9 p.m., except Dec. 8. A haircut and a beer is being offered for a minimum $25 donation, with proceeds going to the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society,

“They approached us and we did a collaboration brew with them,” added Tomlin of the Victory Barbers partnership.

It’ll be know as the Straight Razor Stout and the release party for the dry Irish beer will be on Saturday, Dec. 9 from noon-9 p.m. at the Victory Barber Shop in Duncan.

Tomlin also pointed out Riot Brewing will be open on Christmas Day from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for anyone who’d like to drop in for some holiday cheer.

“It’s super fun,” said Tomlin. “Last year, our first customers showed up in their pajamas.”

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