In the heart of Pemberton Meadows is a local brewery known for its farmhouse-style beers.
Although The Beer Farmers are relatively new to the B.C. craft beer scene, they are located at Miller Farms, a place with a rich history and B.C.’s latest recipient of the Century Farm Award.
“I love hearing the stories of British Columbia’s farming pioneers and the Miller family’s story is inspiring,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “From potatoes to cattle to beer, they have done it all. Congratulations Miller Farms on your Century Farm Award and cheers to many more.”
William Miller arrived in Pemberton in the 1890s from Scotland and first settled in the area that is now Miller Creek. He met the Ronayne brothers in those early days. After a failed cattle drive to the Klondike Gold Rush together, they suggested he stop in and visit their sister in Ireland, Teresa Ross, as William was planning a trip back home. William and Teresa eventually married and the newlyweds made their way back to Pemberton.
In 1911, the couple bought the farm from Teresa’s brother, John Ronayne. William and Teresa cleared the land and farmed vegetables, raised livestock and did some logging and prospecting when the opportunity arose. One of their sons, Donald Miller, took up the farm after returning home from service in the Canadian Engineers during World War II in Europe. Potatoes and cattle were a mainstay crop, as well as logging, hunting and trapping for extra income. Seed potatoes became a major economic force in the local region during this time, as Pemberton earned the title of seed potato capital of the world.
Eventually, Bruce Miller, son of Donald Miller, took over the family farm from his dad after he passed away in the early 1990s. Potatoes and cattle continued to be the main priorities for Miller Farms and the family transitioned the farm to certified organic.
In 2018, after many years of planning, they opened The Beer Farmers – family brewing, with Brenda Miller, Bruce’s wife, as head brewer, Bruce growing the barley and their five sons rounding out the brewery staff.
“It is is a pleasure to accept this award on behalf of all of our family members, especially those that came before us, and the generations of hard work done expecting nothing in return but a better future for their family,” said Bruce Miller.
The family is proud of the fact that every year since the farm has operated in 1911, there has been a tasty crop of potatoes planted and harvested each fall.
Century Farm Awards honour agricultural organizations that have been active for a century or longer, as well as pioneers whose farms and ranches have been in families for 100 years or more. Each Century Farm Award celebrates the rich heritage of farming and ranching families and organizations in B.C.
For more information about B.C.'s Century Farm program, visit: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/century-farm-awards