Heart of Our City — A taste of North Coast life

Craig Outhet never expected to stay on the North Coast for so long

When Craig Outhet first moved to Prince Rupert, he planned to stay for two years — that was more than 10 years ago.

“The story I tell is at first I was a little concerned because I had just finished up all this schooling in GIS, geographic information systems, and I thought I was moving away from where all the jobs were. To be honest, it was probably the complete opposite,” Outhet said.

“I found work in my field pretty much right away once I moved up here. My first job was working in fisheries monitoring. I’ve been here ever since.”

Immediately after graduating with an advanced diploma in GIS from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver, Outhet moved to Prince Rupert where his then-girlfriend, now-wife, Carolina de Ryk had been offered a job at the northern CBC branch. It didn’t take long for the couple’s plans to change.

“I had more opportunity for advancement. I got to do a lot of interesting things that I probably wouldn’t have been doing if I had just stayed in Vancouver and worked in that same field. It was way better to move north.”

READ MORE: More than 100 square kilometres of B.C. coast proposed for protection

Outhet worked on marine planning with the North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society, a job that allowed him to work with First Nations bands and different levels of government on long-term resource management. Meanwhile, de Ryk was promoted from an associate producer position to host CBC’s Daybreak North.

“She’s now the breadwinner,” Outhet said.

After working in marine planning for about seven years, Outhet decided to pursue a career submerged in a new liquid: beer.

The craft beer business was brewing and booming in Vancouver when Outhet decided to move north, and as more small-scale breweries opened down south, Outhet realized he missed the plentiful selection the larger city had on tap.

“So I thought, ‘Well, I’ll learn to make beer.’ I just started making beer at home, because I wanted to get some of those flavours in beer that I couldn’t get from the stores up here.”

After several years of brewing with friends and many late nights planning a business strategy, Outhet, James Witzke and Kent Orton opened Prince Rupert’s first craft brewery: the Wheelhouse Brewing Company.

“All three of us aren’t from Prince Rupert,” Outhet said, “but we love being here and we just wanted to give the town something that it didn’t have that it could be proud of and could even draw people to Prince Rupert.”

One moment he could be proud of is winning bronze for his Smokehouse Porter at the Canadian Beer Awards in 2016.

For Outhet, his love of beer boils down to its power to bring people together.

“Whether it’s at a pub or at our lounge for a pint and to have a conversation, a chat about everything, whatever is on their minds.”

When he’s not brewing, the business owner and family man loves spending time with his two young daughters.

“Just spending time with them is pretty special,” Outhet said. “The ability to spend time with my family is probably my favourite thing to do.”

Away from the Wheelhouse, much of Outhet’s spare time is taken up by coaching his daughters’ soccer teams and sitting on a small business committee for city hall.

Originally from Prince George in B.C.’s Interior, Outhet has spent the past 25 years on the Pacific coast.

“I’m not much of a spiritual person at all, but there is definitely something about an ocean, which can be balancing. The coastal scenery is amazing and the coastal climate that comes along with that is perfect. I don’t think my body can take those cold Interior winters anymore — I’ve turned soft,” Outhet said with a laugh.

“The people that also seem to be drawn toward the water seem to be of the same mind as me. That brings a culture to it as well. All of those aspects make me think that I’ll never be able to leave living on the ocean.”

A decade after moving to the city “at the end of the road,” as Outhet refers to Prince Rupert, he no longer has a plan to leave.

“We may have had the two-year plan to begin with, but it quickly evolved into a lifetime plan. Like a lot of people, we moved here and fell in love with it. Great community, amazing landscape, affordable living, the opportunity if you put your mind to it to do anything you want.

“We’ve had our family here, we have a beautiful home here. We know we’re not going anywhere for a long time.”

Read more Heart of Our City profiles here.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rainmakers wait out storm in Vancouver

Prince Rupert basketball team mentally prepare for home opener at Charles Hays gym on Friday

Council to host public hearing on cannabis sales zone

A look ahead to tonight’s Prince Rupert City council meeting

Another windstorm expected Monday, causing ferry delay

With another windstorm expected to hit Haida Gwaii on Monday afternoon, BC… Continue reading

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Nurses wanted, Northern Health promotes Prince Rupert in new video

There are 38 nursing job positions available in the area

Prince Rupert Rampage host Teddy Bear night

Prince Rupert Rampage teamed up with the Salvation Army to give back this weekend

Shop Prince Rupert is back

These businesses are all taking part in the Shop Prince Rupert event until December 21 at noon

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

One of Tori Stafford’s killers transferred to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Most Read