Community People Profiles is a series on the Salt Spring Exchange featuring local personalities on our dynamic Gulf Island. Our People Profiles are short interviews with one answer questions to share with you a little about what each of the people we will feature are thinking about as they go about their lives living on Salt Spring Island.
This Weeks Featured Local People Profile is: Becky Julseth
Becky Julseth and husband Neil Cooke-Dallin purchased the old Gulf Islands Brewery on Furness road in 2009 and created Salt Spring Island Ales. Becky is the driving force behind a whole bunch of new hop farms on the island, and is well on the way to having Salt Spring Island Ales become the first Non-GMO certified brewery in North America. We caught up with her in the tasting room with the smell of hops brewing and asked her our favourite five short questions.
Q. What brought you to Salt Spring Island?
A. My family spent several vacations on St Mary’s Lake when I was a kid, and then I got my first summer jobs on the island as a teenager. This was at Camp Narnia, which is gone now, but was located just a stone’s throw from the brewery. I also managed the marketing for several real estate projects on the island in the years leading up to when we bought the brewery. So effectively I’ve been working on Salt Spring on and off since ‘93!
Q. What one thing about Salt Spring would you tell someone who has never visited the island?
A. I studied Art History at university, and I remember once this great Jamaican guy who ran a cafe I’d goto in Victoria loudly teasing me for studying what he considered to be ‘basket weaving’. Salt Spring is a place where one could make a serious living at basket weaving – literally or metaphorically. There’s space here to make something real out of wild ideas.
Q. If you had a magic Salt Spring wand, what island thing would you change?
A. People shouldn’t steal from farm stands. That’s so terrible! Maybe we should get a ‘bait stand’ program going.
Q. Which well known person, living or dead, do you think would be a good addition to the island?
A. You just made me daydream Bill Murray in old track pants and a Cowichan toque. He was at the brewery getting his growler filled.
Q. Is there a really good interview question should I have asked you....and what would the answer be?
Q: What are some of the challenges you face as an island brewery that a city brewery wouldn’t have to contend with?
A: Having to talk BC Hydro out of putting you on the suspected grow-op list when you’re running the compressor a lot. Also stray turkeys.