Darren & Jody Hollett
Brewers, House of Funk Brewing, North Vancouver
A couple of major things happened during the three years that Darren Hollett worked as a sales coordinator for Whistler Brewing Company.
First, it sparked a new career interest in Hollett, who hadn’t worked in beer before. After WBC, he became involved in the production side of the industry for outlets like Mission Springs Brewing Company, North Vancouver’s Hearthstone Brewery and Port Coquitlam-based Taylight Brewing.
Oh, and he met his future wife, Jody, at one of Whistler Brewing’s Christmas parties.
Starting their own brewery became the pair’s collective mission, and after Darren left Hearthstone in 2017, they began the work to launch one in North Vancouver. Of course, life and permits got in the way, as they often do. By the time House of Funk finally opened in May of last year, it entered an overly crowded North Van beer scene. Thankfully, Darren and Jody had a few ideas to help them stand out from the crowd.
“Over the course of the years, we’ve had many fun business plans and ideas for breweries, but I’ve been a big fan of wild beers and sours and barrel-aged beers for quite some time,” Darren says. “I thought there was a spot in the market in B.C., because while there is Field House and Strange Fellows and Four Winds, we were excited to do something concentrating solely on funky, wild beers.”
While Darren dreamed up and tested those concoctions, Jody took on the role of taproom manager, hiring and training all front-of-house staff.
So far, at least, their efforts have paid off. The tasting room is constantly packed with people clamouring for smoothie sours and smoked wheat ales, and House of Funk was the darling of last summer’s Vancouver Craft Beer Week. The beers aren’t suited to all palates, but that’s where the proliferation of breweries in North Vancouver has worked in House of Funk’s favour.
“Our beers might not be in everyone’s wheelhouse, but that’s the beauty of the location we’re in,” says Hollett. “They can go down the street and go to Beere Brewing; they make great IPAs. And there are other breweries opening up soon that can fill those different niches. If each one is a niche market and if we have people hopping around to try each niche, then that’s good.
Photo by Makito Inomata
Q&A with Darren and Jody Hollett
Most underrated type of beer?
Lost among the hype are good lagers and pilsners. This is changing, but nothing beats a well-made pilsner—you really have nothing to hide behind when you brew one.
Most overrated type of beer?
Hazy IPAs. Love ’em, but we are tired of them.
What’s always in your fridge?
Usually something from Four Winds, Backcountry or Field House.
What song is always on your dinner party playlist?
“Can’t Get Enough” by Griz.