JULY 2020





Russell Brewing Company A pioneer in the evolution of the Craft Beer Industry



spotlight on july T o say that the start of 2020 has been unprecedented would be an understatement. In the last four months we have seen the global economy brought to its knees by a pandemic. If you would have told us that in the first six months; planes would be grounded, borders would be closed and oil would be selling for negative dollars per barrel, we would have rolled our eyes, laughed out loud and said that you were crazy. Well all those things have happened; we have seen industries and compa - nies switch their manufacturing focus to produce medical supplies such as ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) for those fighting this pandemic on the front lines. As we see government lifting public restrictions in attempts to bring our personal and business lives back to normal or at least to a new type of normal. The craft brewing industry hit this pandemic head on, no pun intended, in the eye of adversity. Changing operations to offer home delivery and curbside service, making sure beer enthusiasts had their favorite beverage and hope of better days to come. Spotlight on Business spoke with Brian Dunn of Canmore Brewing, located in Canmore, Alberta which is close to Banff National Park and the home of all things outdoor to chat about the outdoor life in a mountain town, old school values, and, of course, amazing beer. Staying in Western Canada, we chat with with Jimmy Darbyshire of Russell Brewing, one of the original 10 craft breweries in British Columbia, about the evolution of the brand over the past 25 years and the changing market for craft beer in B.C. and Canada. We then make our way to the town of Nackawic, just outside the city of Fredericton on the east bank of the Saint John River in New Brunswick, Canada so that we can chat with Peter Cole of Big Axe Brewery about the brewery and the brand that has people making their way to this tiny town to sample their great beers, amazing views and a never ending supply of East Coast Hospitality. Staying on the East Coast, but heading south of the border, we chat with Tara and Chris Goulet of Birdsong Brewing Co. about being one of the first breweries in Charlotte, North Carolina to embrace solar power, their com - mitment to the environment, local charities and really great beer. Janice Buckler of Natural Legends Nutritional Consulting is, “in the spot - light,” as we learn about her passion for family, the simple country life and Holistic Health and wellbeing. We want to also thank all those involved in putting this issue together, we know that the last couple of months have been extremely demanding and we appreciate all your efforts as we share the these stories about success- ful businesses and the people behind making it all happen. We are all in this together.

MANAGING DIRECTOR Rod Gregg EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Lee Ann Atwater RESEARCH TEAM LEAD Ashley Tanner WEB DESIGN LEAD Sean Bridge CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lee Ann Atwater Janice Buckler Tanya Chedrawy Jody Euloth Shannon Ferguson Anita Flowers Calli Gregg Ceiledh Monk Dan Monk SOCIAL MEDIA LEAD Kate Davis GRAPHIC DESIGN LEADS Matthew Erickson Aaron Jeffrey COMMUNICATIONS & ADMIN LEAD Calli Gregg PUBLISHER Spotlight on Business Media Jordan Parker Christi Rideout

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03 SPOTLIGHT ON JULY 07 UPCOMING EVENTS – AUGUST 2020 08 BUILDING BETTER BRANDS Level up your online brand 10 IN THE SPOTLIGHT Janice Buckler - Founder and Owner of Natural Legends Nutritional Consulting 14 SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY 16 CONTRACTORS CORNER Stressful times for entrepreneurs and small business owners 34 HAWK TAIL BREWERY Brewers drawing inspiration from the Alberta wild 40 HELL’S BASEMENT BREWERY Offering Beer Enthusiasts, a little piece of Crafted Heaven 46 NEW LEVEL BREWERY COMPANY Setting the tone for Craft Beer Excellence 54 TOWNSHIP 24 BREWERY Putting local on the map one beer at a time 60 OMEN BREWING Thedark sideof Alberta’s craft brewing industry 66 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS 68 WHAT’S NEW WITH FANSAVES We are launching a new website 86 BUSINESS LEADERSHIP 101 Lead by Example not Fear 88 SOLUTION OVERLOADING Are you over selling your Customer? 90 SPOTLIGHT ON INNOVATION 100 RECALIBRATE. CREATE VALUE. COMMUNICATE. Building your business during COVID-19 101 CRAFT DISTILLING INDUSTRY SWITCHES FOCUS Innovation in the eye of Adversity 102 SPOTLIGHT ON HEALTH & WELLNESS 104 HOLISTIC HEALTH Nutrients A to Z - Vitamin E 106 QUARANTINE FROM ABROAD Surviving COVID-19 with a Smile




Nackawic is a town located 65 km west of the city of Freder- icton on the east bank of the Saint John River in New Bruns- wick, Canada. It is famous for its axe, but more and more people are travelling there now for its ales. We chat with Peter Cole about the brewery and the brand that has people making their way to this tiny town by foot, car, boat, snow- mobile, four wheeler, and horse-back to sample their great beers, amazing views of the Saint John River and a never ending supply of East Coast Hospitality. 72 BIRDSONG BREWING BREWING AMAZING BEER WITH SUNSHINE

DRIVEN BY HONESTY & TRUTHFULNESS TO THEIR CUSTOMERS & THEMSELVES Brian Dunn is a big fan of knowing where the beer he drinks comes from. When he began writing a business plan for a craft brewery, he immediately checked the name of his town. Canmore Brewing was available, and he quickly snatched it up. Canmore, Alberta, a former coal mining town in the Canadian Rockies, is close to Banff National Park and the home of all things outdoor – hiking, skiing, mountain biking. What better place to put a craft brewery? Spotlight on Business sat down with Brian Dunn, President and Founder of Canmore Brewing, to chat about the outdoor life in a mountain town, old school values, and, of course, beer. RUSSELL BREWING COMPANY A PIONEER IN THE EVOLUTION OF THE CRAFT BEER INDUSTRY

Russell Brewing, one of the original 10 craft breweries in British Columbia, opened its doors in 1995. A pioneer in the craft brewing industry, Russell Brewing blazed the trail by making small batch unpasteurized ‘real beer’ with natural ingredients. Spotlight chattedwith Jimmy Darbyshire, Director of Mar- keting, Media and Spon- sorship at Russell Brewing, about the evolution of the brand over 25 years and the changing market for craft beer. 78


It’s not surprising that Birdsong Brewing Co. owners, Chris and Tara Goulet, were named two of 2019’s ‘Charlotteans of the Year’ a group selected for making the city of Charlotte, NC a better place to live. With a strong commitment to the environment and to giving back to the community, the two founders of Birdsong Brewing Co. do more than just brew great beer. Birdsong Brewing Co. was one of Charlotte’s first craft breweries and is the first in the Queen City to embrace solar power. Birdsong Brewing Co. is now Charlotte’s go-to destination for culinary-inspired, super-fresh, unfiltered American-style ales. Spotlight on Business chatted with Tara and Chris Goulet, founders and co-owners of Birdsong Brewing Co. to talk about their commitment to the environment, local charities and really great beer.






S potlight on Business Magazine continues to carefully follow the global outbreak of COVID-19 and the effect this pandemic con- tinues to have on businesses and industries in North America. There have been numerous cancellations and event postponements, as governments, event and production companies all stay focused on the health and safety of attendees, exhibitors and vol- unteers. As we start to see the COVID-19 curve start to flatten and these groups make their top priority to rearrange these events we will keep you informed in the weeks and months to come. So in saying that, again we will not have our usual spotlight on Trade Shows, Conferences and Events for August 2020, but you can be assured that Spotlight on Business Magazine will continue to monitor the situation along with communicat- ing with our event partners to keep you informed for the upcoming August issue. We are planning to go ahead with the Upcoming Trade Shows, Conferences and Events for August editorial piece for the July issue so please continue

to send us your information on new and post- poned events so that we can spotlight them in upcoming issues. In the meantime, please follow the recommenda- tions of health officials on both sides of the border. If we all do our part, we can contain the spread of this virus and start enjoying life again without social distancing. We would also like to thank all front-line workers that are battling this pandemic and those that are keeping the supply of goods on our shelves and all other essential workers out there. Your selfless dedication is truly appreciated. Remember, it is more important than ever to continue to support local businesses, communi- ty cafes, pubs, and restaurants during this time. Please consider buying gift cards from locally owned businesses which you can enjoy when social distancing is no longer a priority. Take care of yourselves and each other and remember stay safe and healthy!

B y putting a spotlight on your business, organi - zation or community with effective and interactive media and advertising we will help you capture the interest of business leaders and potential clients, giving you an opportunity to promote your brand and grow market share through mobile, online, print, video and social media support, helping your business connect and stay engaged





Building Bet ter Brands

#2 - MESSAGE • Do you have a clear, concise and consistent message about how your business helps the customers you serve? • Start with thinking about who your ideal cus- tomer/s are.

#3 - WARDROBE • Do you have a wardrobe that makes you feel confident, yet comfortable to show up, and be seen? • If not, start a Pinterest board to get inspired on your look.

#4 - VIDEO • If you’ve never made a video for your market- ing, make one now. • Already a pro with video? What can you do to bring it to the next level?

A s a brand expert, and business owner, I’m always thinking about branding, and how it can best serve and support businesses, especially during extraordinary times. Now, I know what you might be thinking. “C’mon Brittany. I just want to bake some bread, learn a TikTok dance and generally hibernate. Why should I work on my brand, now?” Most everyone on the planet (hint: your customers) are virtually living online so they can connect with loved ones, be entertained, or to get their work done. Because of this sudden spike in online traffic, more eyes are on your online brand than ever before. The good news is that there are many EASY things that you can do NOW to strengthen your online brand image.

#5 - VISUAL BRAND • Do you have a Brand Style Guide?

• This document will help your brand to CON- SISTENTLY look ‘on brand’ no matter where it needs to show up.

#6 - LESS is often MORE • Delete or update old digital marketing content that is no longer a reflection of your knowl - edge, skills, and value.

I have come up with 7 powerful ways that you can level up your online brand now.

#7 - SOCIAL PROOF • Make sure you have up-to-date testimonials and/or work samples from previous clients you’ve worked with. • Bonus points if you post it on your website, LinkedIn, and social media too!

Wishing you wellness & virtual hugs. Cheers to your best brand

#1 - GOOGLE YOURSELF • What is the overall impression you get from both the web, and image search results? • What improvements are needed? • Make a list and get to work.





in the spotlight JANICE BUCKLER FOUNDER & OWNER OF NATURAL LEGENDS NUTRITIONAL CONSULTING by Jordan Parker W hen it came to the daily, pounding head- aches Buckler felt defeated. Despite numerous methods and hopes for a cure, the pain continued. The singlemomof three, didn’t know what to do, until a holistic healer found her a permanent solution.

is very specific to the individual because each of us is different. What works for one person doesn’t always necessarily work for another,” she said. “My nutritional scan helps me check for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, along with essential fatty acids, amino acids, digestive enzymes and hormonal imbalances. I also check for parasites and other issues with microflora in the gut. I can, as well, test for food and environmental sensitivities for people.”

“Many years ago, I had headaches everyday to the point it made me sick to my stomach and I was living on Tylenol. It got to the point where it didn’t do anything,” she said. “I had blood work done to check my hormone levels, I had my eyes tested, and had a CT scan done. The results all came back “normal.” It wasn’t until a friend referred me to a natural practitioner, whohad similar equipment towhat I have now, that I finally found relief. It was she who determined I had a sensitivity to the proteins in cow’s milk. I stopped drinking it and I was immediately pain-free.” That changed Buckler’s perspective on conven- tional medicine and got her thinking about another route, which would eventually lead her to her own business: Natural Legends Nutritional Consulting.

“I became very much drawn to natural methods for healthcare. I acquired my BSc in chemistry because I was always interested in food chemis- try, and these things all fit together,” she said. She graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2001, and she’s had the name “Natural Legends Nutritional Consulting” regis- tered for years. “There was a time I didn’t feel ready to go out on my own, but now it feels so good to be my own boss,” she said. “I startedmy own business four years ago as I went through the self-employment benefits program and now have the equipment to do BioScans.” She can see inflammation in organs, glands, and bodily systems and works on acupoints on the hands and feet to do so. “I get a snapshot of my client’s health and what needs to be addressed first is prioritized,” she said. “My equipment also helps me find natural remedies for people, which

She began working out of her house when she first started, but things quickly changed. “One of my clients had connections with the Business Centre in Tatamagouche, N.S.,” she said. “I got a spot up there, and I’ve been there for over three years now.” Buckler, now a Registered Holistic Nutritional Consultant Professional, sets her own hours, which gives her lots of time for family. But don’t get us wrong she is dedicated to her business and takes great pride in helping clients change their lives. “People have told me I’ve made them feel human again. It’s truly fulfilling and I’m glad to be able to do that,” she said. “I’m very grateful I had access to getting proper training and the equipment that I have to do this. I think doctors and dentists could also use this equipment if they learn more about it.” The equipment, as mentioned previously, looks for area of weakness or inflammation within bodily systems, organs and glands. It looks at nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, parasites, food and environmental sensitivities. “Clients are blown away with what shows up at the end of the session and they love seeing how I can find remedies to regain balance. They get their report on the spot. They don’t have to wait for anything, and they don’t have to travel to the city to get this service, and I’m happy to provide it to the people around here,” said Buckler. Bucker continues to expand her offerings to new and existing clients and use innovative health platforms





like the PureGenomics software platform, which allows Buckler to look deeply into a client’s genetics and see how it plays a role in health. “ “This allows me to offer nutritional support for detoxification, weight loss, glucose metabolism, vitamin & minerals, cognitive health & memory, immunity, energy & fitness, cardiovascular health, among other things,” she said. Not from there area, well that is okay as Buckler also offers “distance counselling/recommendations” via online symptomology health questionnaires for people who would like to use her service but do not live in the area. “It is very accurate as well and is good for people who can’t make it in or who live far away; however, my equipment can dig much deeper,” she said. WitheverythingBuckler has goingon, she is excited about the future for Natural Legends. “I think things are looking really good. I’m making new contacts all the time.” Buckler asks people to take a chance, come in, and give her methods a try. “People who aren’t satisfied with conventional medicine might want to give this a shot as an alternative,” she said.

Youmay have noticed a fewchanges in Truro lately.

Same great people. Same great service. 437Prince St., Truro 902.895.1651

“The work I do is specific to the individual, as opposed to a one-size-fits all model. These are good tools to have to give people a current snapshot of their health so they can move forward on their journey to optimal health. People are getting results and they are regaining their vitality, and that is so very important.”





Spotlight on Industry Headlines





A s the coronavirus pandemic takes hold in North America and the world for that matter, food and beverage retailers both large and small are rolling out new measures to ensure customer safety. With Tim Horton’s closing it’s locations down to foot traffic and others in the industry like Mc - Donald’s and Starbucks encouraging customers to grab their food and go and make use of their available drive-thrus to distribute food, while still limiting crowds of customers from gathering. It’s a move that might not faze many consumers as even before the coronavirus ushered in an age of social distancing, drive-thru service contribut - ed close to 60% to 70% of all restaurant sales if they had a drive-thru. Drive-thrus have been undergoing transforma- tions as restaurants turn to technological solu- tions to boost sales. Companies are pouring money into innovations to get diners to spend more and using them now to help customers stay healthy. Despite the popularity roughly 20% of North American restaurant operators currently have drive-thrus, which has many of them now offer - ing curbside delivery for their customers.

A irlines are grappling with the once unthink- able scenario of halting all commercial domestic air travel as concerns about the spread of the coronavirus hurt demand for flights. Airlines around the world are racing to preserve cash as demand for flights decreases after polit - ical leaders turn to increasingly more aggressive measures against air travel in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. U.S. Airline carriers expect they will receive some form of government support but it’s not yet clear what form it will take. Industry experts have warned the drop in demand is more severe than after 9/11 which could greatly impact the industry causing billions of losses just in the U.S. alone.

T he Oil industry continues to be hit on both the demand and supply side. he coronavirus outbreak has led to softer de- mand for crude as people cut back on travel. Plus, with the recent breakdown in OPEC talks between Saudi Arabia and Russian means there soon could be a supply glut of oil as Saudi Arabia gets set to ramp up production to a record 13 million barrels per day. This is unwanted news for the Canadian oil sands industry and for U.S. shale growth as both are about to decline, becoming an immediate victim of the Saudi-Russian oil price war.

N ordstrom has added itself to the list of brick and mortar retailers that are tempo- rarily closing down to limit the spread of COVID-19, joining many retailers, including Nike and Apple, which have closed their stores tempo - rarily to allow employees to be safe at home, and have encouraged consumers to do the same. The retailer announced that more than 360 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico will be closed at least two weeks and the company will continue to pay staff and offer benefits. Nordstrom’s e-commerce platform, which ac - counts for about a third of the company’s sales, will remain fully operational during this period.





In the construction industry, we are designated as essential services, and we continue to operate. That being said, it certainly is not business as usual however, we are continuing to function amongst the ambiguity and continually reassessing and making adaptations. The stress of putting together crew schedules with limited staff per site and enforcing social distancing measures is a challenge but manageable. On top of this, there are many supply chain disruptions due to closure of manufacturers or delays due to reduced production staff or hours of operation which adds to the complexity of the situation faced by entrepreneurs. My heart goes out to the businesses who have been forced to close their doors. I can only imagine the level of anxiety and pressure that has been placed on them and their staff, financially and emotionally. Many of them have put blood, sweat and tears into building their companies and, unfortunately, some companies will be lost due to this pandemic. I believe that in the time being, we must cope with our ‘new normal’ and, hopefully soon, we will begin taking small steps working towards a better solution where businesses can reopen or expand operations once again. Each new state of normality will come with hurdles and we must continue to embrace it and learn to accommodate on both personal and business levels. As an optimist, which you must be as an entrepreneur, I am looking to the future and the progress we have made in terms of remote working and home office solutions. This stage of our ‘new normal’ came with the realization that we do not need to be travelling to a downtown core to do our jobs, face-to-face meetings are appreciated but not necessary, and we should take better advantage of our available technology. We will use e-commerce at an explosive rate as we have been forced to make the switch during isolation and have become more familiar.


by Dan Monk

A s you can imagine, during a global pandemic, it has become more challenging to be an entrepreneur and small business owner. I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts, challenges, expectations, and optimism. Firstly, stress is always present as an entrepre- neur. However, the additional stress placed upon business owners at this time is exponential. Being constantly concerned for the health and wellness of your staff, clients, subtrades, suppliers, and our family has added a level of stress that I have never experienced before in my business nor in my personal life.

lives and is a great source of information, but one of the main challenges is to sort the accurate infor- mation from the fake news. Another side effect of social media is potentially sensory overload. We are constantly being inundated with information regarding the crisis which makes it difficult to take a step back and relax. This is taking a toll on many people in our society which is causing higher levels of anxiety and fear, thus the hysteria. This hectic environment ultimately hinders our ability to focus, first and foremost, on staying safe and healthy. In many cases, shutting off or limiting the social media is necessary to maintain personal mental health and well being - entrepreneurs are no exception.

Social media plays an ever-increasing roll in our





With e-commerce in mind, it is also incredibly important to remember all the small businesses and local entrepreneurs who are struggling to keep their doors open right now. Please be kind to them, engage them, hire them, shop with them, and support them through this pandemic as well as when it is over. Small business is the lifeline of many communities and necessary to ensure a vibrant, diverse, healthy economy. They are your neighbours, coaches, mentors, and volunteers and they can only survive and continue to shape our communities with our support so let’s step up and make an impact.

What do contractors need to do to survive during this crisis? We need to remain focused and diligent on the issues we can control and make contingency plans for the issues we cannot. We need to be responsible to our staff and clients and communicate regularly and clearly regarding new adaptations. We need to be increasing safe work practices to remain functional in a responsible manner. This is not the end of the world, but this will change the world. The pandemic will end, they all do, and we will weather the storm because we are resilient and determined. Let’s be kind to each other, support each other, and use this to learn, grow, and nurture so we can regain the ground that has been lost and be stronger than ever when the ‘new normal’ returns. I hope this article gave a few nuggets of knowledge that can help you as you move forward with more confidence and understanding.

Stay healthy and stay safe.





REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED IN THE FIRST PLACE - You created your business because you are passionate about something and wanted to build a brand from the ground up. You chose to make a living pursuing your passion and your dream rather than working for someone else to build theirs. Being an entrepreneur gives you the power to make your own decisions each and every day, yes that is difficult and there is no one to blame but yourself. However, it also allows you to create what you wish and offer products and services that help others also grow their businesses, while feeding your own passion to grow your brand and business. Remember you got into business because you have something to offer the world! PUT IN THE TIME, NOTHING HAPPENS OVERNIGHT - Sometimes when you hit a little slump, it’s because you are not putting in the required effort to grow the business. In the early stages of a business, expect to be working longer hours to get things off the ground. You can’t just wait for your ideal customers to show up because they magically know you exist. You need to put yourself out there and get sowme visibility for your business and start creating your brand. You need to be active and engage with other businesses and entrepreneurs and let them know what you can do to help them grow their businesses. If you are a direct to consumer brand, then you need to tell anyone who will listen what you are up to and what your business offers so that you can get the word out. This is not only by hitting the pavement, but also getting active on social media to connect and engage with potential customers and let them know what you have to offer. They might not be your target customer, but they might know of someone that can use your services and share your post with them along with some word of mouth exposure that you need to give your business the boost it needs.


by Rod Gregg

B eing an entrepreneur and running a business isn’t easy and anyone that says it is, is not being true to you or themselves. We all have days as an entrepreneur (I know I certainly do) when we wonder why we’ve chosen the road less travelled and became an entrepreneur in the first place. Sometimes it just seems a lot easier to go work for someone else – check in at 9, check out at 5, and not have to worry about building a business all day every day. Sometimes you can feel like you are spinning your wheels and not making any progress in the best of times. Just as you feel like you are getting ahead and have a path towards your goal, some- thing like COVID-19 happens and you have a set

back and you need to rethink and adjust your strategy and you might lose confidence in your product, your business, and your own abilities. Well it happens to us all and it is normal to feel this way sometimes. However, in saying that it’s important not to stay there very long and let it affect you long term, you need to refocus and keep moving forward. So, here are a few tips to help you get back in gear and focus on the future. Remember you cannot change the past, but you can learn from it and consider it an investment in your learning to be a better entrepreneur.





WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER - This is an important one and it gets a lot of entrepreneurs as they are working very hard and long hours but still not seeing results. Sometimes it’s just a matter of working differently. If you have an awesome product or service, but no or few customers, then you need to change something. Make sure you know who your target market is, who can make the purchase decision, and that you are communicating the value of your product or service in a way they can relate to.

ASK FOR ADVICE AND TAKE IT - Yes, as an entrepreneur you are in charge of your own destiny and it’s up to you to make it happen, but you do not have to do it alone. There are others business owners and entrepreneurs that have gone through the same challenges that you face everyday and have made it through to the other side. So, do not be afraid to ask for their advice and to share best practices with others. The Spotlight on Business Magazine brand was built on this concept, giving small business owners a medium for sharing their trials and tribulations and how they were able to overcome obstacles to create successful brands and keep them successful and growing. Business owners that we feature will be the first to tell you that there is not secret sauce, no one ingre - dient, no one trick they had up their sleeve that was the reason for their success. What they will tell you is that it was their desire to more forward and offer the best product or services to their customers regardless of who they are that has kept them going and pushing forward regardless of the setbacks. They have the drive it was just whether they were going to use it to build someone else’s brand or their own and they chose to build their own and for that we salute them and why we are happy to spotlight and salute you and your business and brand.

Another thing that slows down an entrepreneur and a brand growth is getting caught up in the things that do make money or grow the business. It is the old 80/20 rule, being that you should spend 80 percent of your time on things that grow the business and make money and 20 percent of your time on the things that do not. I know that this is easier said than done, but it is an import- ant part of growing your businesses. So, plan to improve your situation. If you need to hustle more then make the time to get out there, or do you need to work on a different approach for your product or services. Focus on what can you do

today to improve your current situation and make for a better day tomorrow. Being an entrepreneur means you need to hustle; it means you need to be your best promoter and brand ambassador. It also means that you give it your all to make it work and you are up to the challenges that being an entrepreneur bring on to you and that you accept that you are in charge of your own destiny and it’s up to you to make it happen.






by Anita Flowers

B rian Dunn is a big fan of knowing where the beer he drinks comes from. When he began writing a business plan for a craft brewery, he immediately checked the name of his town. Canmore Brewing was available, and he quickly snatched it up. Canmore, Alberta, a former coal mining town in the Canadian Rockies, is close to Banff National Park and the home of all things outdoor – hiking, skiing, mountain biking. What better place to put a craft brewery? Spotlight on Business sat down with Brian Dunn, President and Founder of Canmore Brewing, to chat about the outdoor life in a mountain town, old school values, and, of course, beer. Dunn grew up in Nova Scotia, graduating with an engineering degree in 1991. He promptly moved to Alberta, because “that’s where the jobs were” and began working in oil and gas. After ten years, he moved into investment banking, working to buy and sell oil and gas companies. Fifteen years later, in the summer of 2014, he left the industry – without a game plan. “I didn’t know what I was going to do,” explained Dunn. “I had always been a fan of beer. I always had a thirst for something different and was always trying to find oddest, weirdest, farthest fetched beer, that still had style and quality.” Dunn had home- brewed for several years and then kids and work took precedent. After leaving investment banking, Dunn revitalized his home brewing equipment and again began to make beer. The craft brewing industry and regulations had changed in Alberta and the chance to be a part of a new industry with exploding growth beckoned. Dunn put together a business plan and started to homebrew with intention.

“I was brewing in my garage with a pilot small batch brewing system that brewed 50 liters at a time – commercial quality. Making beer is not hard, making good beer is not hard, but making good beer that’s the same every time is rocket science. We go to extremes for consistency. That’s the hard part.” Dunn’s pilot brewing system allowed him to repeat recipes and experiment with changes until he found something he liked. After 18 months of testing recipes, Dunn was ready to go public. A longtime friend and uni- versity classmate, Marc Gagne, agreed to come on board for the building phase and together they implemented the plan and worked through construction. And in December 2016, Canmore Brewing brewed its first beer. Dunn wanted his beer to be associated with the mountain town of Canmore and the outdoor activ- ities there. “It’s very easy to identify with the name of the town. Only one brewery per place gets to do that. I wanted to take advantage of the local outdoor vibe,” said Dunn.

“Making beer is not hard, making good beer is not hard, but making good beer that’s the same every time is rocket science. We go to extremes for consistency. That’s the hard part.”





Even the graphics on the cans are inspired by the mountains. “I wanted our cans to be identifiable. A lot of beers have cool art but you can’t figure out what kind of beer it is and where it is from. On our cans, you see the orange and the mountain peaks and you know that’s Canmore Brewing.” The culture at Canmore Brewing is reflective of the region and of Dunn’s values. “It’s a very family like environment. My wife also works here and all three kids help out in various capacities. We also try to make it like family for the staff and even for customers. We like to sit and chat with regulars when they come in so they feel it’s a place to relax and be welcomed. Our tasting room doesn’t have televisions or distractions.” “We value a lot of things that these days may seem “old school.” Respect, honesty, people. If you’re not making somebody’s day better, why bother,” said Dunn. The outdoor culture is a given. “Being active and part of the outdoors is pervasive through the staff here. Canmore is a place where people come to do outdoor things – skiing, mountain biking, hiking, climbing. The staff is always up to some- thing.”

The brewery uses a 20 barrel system and has already expanded the fermentation cellar twice. “We added fermentation capacity every year and hope to do it again for the next several years. That’s always the limiting factor for new breweries. Fermentation wise, we’re at about 5000 hectoli- ters per year.” The Canmore brewmasters, one trained in Ontario and the other in Europe, share Dunn’s passion for making great beer. “They have the leeway to experiment with the pilot system on brew day as much as they want and can be very creative. Many of those pilot beers have turned into commercial scale seasonal brews. As soon as we smell that mash, all three of us have that same look on our face that says I can’t wait to try it.”

The market has changed in the four years since Canmore Brewing began. “We were brewery number 47 in Alberta. Now there are over 120 breweries. You have to compete for space at bars and liquor stores.” Creating unique beers became a focus for the brewery. “We wanted the beers to be different than mainstream and different from others but not push it too far. We want to be different but to brew something that people like. And we didn’t want to be just a beer with a fancy label that tastes like the one in the can next to it,” said Dunn. Dunn believes that the vast majority of beer drinkers are somewhat afraid of craft beers. “They think the flavors are too bold. Beer is getting more and more neutralized and that’s what people have been drinking. Our job is to build a craft beer that converts them.” With beers named after local landmarks, Canmore Brewing offers five core beers and created their Ten Peaks beer as an introduction to craft beer. “It’s a little malty, a little hoppy - a little more flavor forward – but not enough to punch you in the face.” Named after the Valley of the Ten Peaks, one of the most remarkable views in all of Banff National Park, the beer is their number one seller. The Railway Avenue IPA pays homage to the importance of rail in the coal-mining days and the train that still rumbles through town each day. The spur line that used to go to the coal mines is now the bike bath that runs beside the brewery. “Our Railway Avenue IPA is not just a standard IPA, it’s a rye IPA. It has a little twist, a spicy flavor and a little crispness to it.”

“It’s a very family like environ- ment. My wife also works here and all three kids help out in various capacities.”





“The best way is to get out there yourself at the festivals and do tastings at the liquor stores and spread your knowledge directly to the customers.”

Misty Mountain Hops, a New England style IPA, began as a seasonal in the fall of 2017. “It was so well received that people threatened to boycott if we didn’t keep it on. We didn’t have anything like it in our core lineup. It’s a hazy IPA, not too hoppy but more flavourful.” The Railway Avenue and Misty Mountain flip flop for popularity at numbers 2 and 3. Finding the right recipe for the Georgetown Brown was a quest for Dunn. “It’s an interest- ing dark beer. People are a little afraid of dark beer, they always think of a Guiness. That’s not what all dark beers are like.” He was on his fifth or sixth batch to try to find the right recipe when Marc took it to a party and asked people to try it. After overcoming the “I don’t like dark beer” objections, several women gave it a thumbs up, reporting “I didn’t think this was what dark beers tasted like. It’s carmelly and sweet and delicious.” Marc texted straight from the party – “bingo, the brown is done!” The Georgetown is named after

an old mining town upriver from the brewery, now a ghost town. The core group is rounded out with the Mineside Stout, a typical English style stout. “It’s a fantastic anytime beer but people like the idea of sitting around in the mountains on a cold winter night with a stout. I’m always surprised at beer festi- vals by a surprising number of young women who are asking for a stout. I don’t expect them to be typical stout drinkers. But I love that they are!” Beer festivals offer interaction with customers and in person marketing opportunities. “They’re important for getting a better read on your cus- tomers – what they like and how they perceive your beers. For small businesses in general, there isn’t a lot of money to go around for fancy mar- keting. The best way is to get out there yourself at the festivals and do tastings at the liquor stores and spread your knowledge directly to the cus- tomers.”





The craft brewery industry is well known for camaraderie, even in the midst of the competitive nature of beer sales. Dunn experienced this “we’re all in this together spirit” early on when his brewers, con- sultants and friends gathered for the first beer making day. When the ingredients didn’t arrive on time, his friends made phone calls and within a few hours had all the ingredients lined up. Dunn picked up a truck full of ingredients - all loaned from other brewers on very short notice and got the first brew done as scheduled. “I can’t think of another industry that’s similar, where there’s a lot of help for each other. It’s part of our philosophy here,” Dunn continued. “We’re not trying to steal business from other craft brewer- ies; We’re trying to expand the craft industry. We’re trying to take a piece of ’big beer’s’ share. Craft brewers are a little under 20% of the beer drinking industry. We’re making headway but the majors still control the vast component of it.” Even though the brewery now sells beer in three provinces, the focus continues to be local. “We feature as much local product as we can. We use local suppliers, trades and services. Call it karma. You get what you give. We want our customers to feel we’re contributing to the community and that this is their space too. If we contribute to things that mean a lot to them, the more likely they are to come back and be regulars,” Dunn explained. We try as much as we can to support local charities and initiatives. “In the early years of any business, there isn’t much money to hand out, but we can give some mer- chandise, offer free tours and tastings for prize winners, show up for events and help out. On Remem-

“ People expect me to be in the office after being in banking and wearing a suit for 30 years, but I’m down there in rubber boots as much as anybody, getting sprayed with beer. I absolutely love it.”

brance Day, we contribute the proceeds from the day to the local legion. We did a charity beer for the Walk a Mile Campaign with a dollar per can going to the YWCA women’s shelter,” said Dunn. This fall the brewery donated a dollar per beer to Avalanche Canada. Dunn plans to learn the lessons of the last three years and move on to the fourth. You will often find him on the brewery floor. “It’s part of what keeps me passionate about this. I am a mechanical engineer. I’m still a tinkerer and a hands-on guy. I love fixing things. People expect me to be in the office after being in banking and wearing a suit for 30 years, but I’m down there in rubber boots as much as anybody, getting sprayed with beer. I absolutely love it.”







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posted by Derek and Angela who were also looking for a partnership.

After forming their alliance and creating a business plan, the next order of business was to name the new brand. They all agreed they needed a label that would capture the “spirit of Alberta.” Hawk Tail Brewery was the perfect choice, as the group desired a name that would signify strength and dom- inance, as well as draw attention to the abundance of community agriculture in the province. The brewery’s website states, “Not only does Hawk Tail have a rather nice ring to it, but it also is a call to the Albertan wild which is a constant inspiration.” Vandenhoven adds, “Hawks are one of the few species of wild animals that have found greater success due to agriculture, which happens to be a requirement for brewing itself.” The Hawk Tail brand boasts four core beers including Golden Ale, Rye Milk Stout, India Pale Ale and Amber Ale. In addition, they also brew wild seasonal creations. These offerings include Cerveza, Winter Stout, Double IPA and Ginger Lime Kumbucha Ale. The company develops a different style of beer each month. The first new flavour they created was in collaboration with Wild Brewing Kumbucha. This partnership between the two companies also highlights Hawk Tail’s commitment to using local ingredients in all their products.

by Christi Rideout

A lberta is home tomany farmerswhoproduce a variety of grains that they supply for beer to beer producers all over the world. We chat with Anthony Goodwin and Randall Vanden- hoven, two of the five co-owners, of Hawk Tail Brewery about why they got into the industry and how they draw inspiration from the Alberta’s wild to fuel their collective passion for making amazing craft beer for the people of Alberta and beyond. “Our beer is a celebration of the abundance of community agriculture and wilderness around us,” said Anthony Goodwin when he recently spoke with Spotlight on Business magazine. Located in Rimbey, Alberta, Hawk Tail Brewery was founded in December 2018 by five owners with a collective passion for craft beer. Anthony and Allison Goodwin, Randall Vandenhoven, and Derek and Angela Nordstrom are a group of small-town proud Albertans who took a chance and are now finding great success in the industry. Vandenhoven describes their collaboration, “Everything came together at the right time. It was serendipitous really.” The serendipity Vandenhoven mentions included a combination of chance, advertising and a change in laws in Alberta that made it feasible for small brewers to enter the market. All five partners had their sights set on starting up a brewery, and just needed the right people to collaborate with and the resources to bring their dream to fruition. It was almost fate that Randall Vandenhoven and the Goodwins happened to be discussing the idea of starting a business and then days later saw the ad





Visit the Hawk Tail taproom and you will find a cozy, welcoming environment not unlike a typical home you would find in a farm community. The space is bright and open and encourages people to escape their screens and share good conversa- tion and, of course, great beer.

“We could probably write an essay on what we thought we knew and what we know now.” The greatest challenge for the business has been to identify trends in the market in order to create beers that will be popular, but at the same time stay true to the brand they are working so hard to build. Although there has been a learning curve, the company has had nothing but support. They have received excellent advice and encourage- ment from their comrades and competitors in the industry. Vandenhoven says,

Local ingredients are used not only in the beers, but also in the food that is served in the taproom. Without space for a dedicated kitchen in the building, Hawk Tail partners with certified local producers to offer an amazing array of food including cheese dips, charcuterie boards, and other treats that make a trip to the Tap Room defi - nitely worth your while. The company’s commitment to local appeals to their target customers, who want to know where the beer comes from and enjoys having conversa- tions about different flavours. When Spotlight asked the owners from Hawk Tail if there were any challenges in setting up business, Goodwin and Vandenhoven both laughed. Goodwin shared,





That being said, brewers are always looking for ways to stand out from their competition. What sets Hawk Tail apart is their professionalism in all areas of their business. Every aspect of the business needs to operate at the highest caliber. Goodwin explains, “Everything we do is intention- al and purposeful. We are building loyalty with our staff and want them to feel valued. We listen to their ideas and value their contributions.” What also makes Hawk Tail unique is that they aspire to create beer as timeless as the Alberta wild. Some people view the craft brewing industry as something new however, these brewers remind Spotlight that it is actually as old as civilization. The brewers hope that their beers will hit the spot even a hundred years from now. If you want to purchase Hawk Tail Beer it is avail- able in Co-op, Sobeys, and Wine and Beyond retail locations, as well as numerous indepen- dent liquor stores in Alberta. Plus, if you are in or around Rimbey, Alberta, why not visit the Hawk Tail Brewery located at 6311 52nd Street. Can’t make it to Rimbey, then make sure that you check them out at the upcoming Calgary or Edmonton Craft Beer Festival as they would love for fellow beer enthusiasts to stop by and say hello and sample their unique flavours.

“You all start with the same ingredients, but it is how you use them and develop them that creates your niche in the market. We are constantly challenging ourselves and trying to keep quality of products up to the standard of those around us.”

As Hawk Tail recently celebrated one year of success in business on December 10, the brewers say they are so grateful for the opportunity. Van- denhoven expresses with genuine enthusiasm, “We want to thank the people who have brought this business together, from the people we work with every day to the consumers who enjoy our beers. “We are dedicated and proud to be creating quality beer that Alber- tans can call their own.” For more information about Hawk Tail Brewery, visit





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