A contemporary brewery based in a historic location.

Named for the sailboats that dot Nanaimo’s harbour, White Sails has a big, welcoming tasting room reminiscent of a German beer hall, with a warm glass-enclosed gas fireplace at its heart. The building’s location has a connection to Nanaimo brewing history: It was once the site of the Newcastle Hotel that was owned by John Mahrer, brewmaster of Nanaimo Brewing, one of the earliest breweries in the city back in the 1890s. There’s something to think about while you enjoy a glass of fresh beer today!

Fun Fact

According to a story in the Nanaimo Daily Bulletin (http://www.nanaimobulletin.com/news/382560621.html), one night in 1892, a ship called the Glory of the Seas berthed in Nanaimo harbour late at night and nine sailors disembarked looking for a place to drink some beer. Unfortunately, the saloons were all closed but they knocked on the door of the Empire Brewery and found the brewmaster still there, working all alone.

Apparently the brewmaster was so frightened by the sight of all these sailors, he hid himself in a broom closet. The sailors entered the brewery and drank five dozen or so bottles of beer between them, leaving $1.80 as payment. The next day, they were arrested and charged with being drunk and disorderly. The brewmaster, who kept the money, was also fined for selling liquor after hours.


Accessibility & Inclusion

  • Gender neutral washrooms
  • Wheelchair Accessible

Beer Service

  • Cask Beer
    Cask-conditioned beer regularly available
  • Full Draught Service
    Draught Beer By the Glass
  • Growler Fills
  • Guest Taps
  • Keg Sales/Rentals
    Keg Rentals and Sales
  • Non Alcoholic Beer Available
    This brewery stocks it but doesn't make it.
  • Retail
    Cans and/or bottles available for purchase
  • Samples & Flights
  • Sour Beer Production


  • Family Friendly
    you can bring the kids
  • Has Tours
    offers guided tours of their facility
  • Live Music
    brewery occasionally hosts live music entertainment
  • Merchandise
    shirts, hats available for sale
  • Patio
  • Videogames

Food Service

  • Snacks
    Light Snacks Available

What Else?

  • Cider
  • Coffee
  • Craft Cocktails
  • Craft Sodas
  • Kombucha
  • Wine

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