EDITOR Lee Atwater


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Janice Buckler Denise Alison Jody Euloth Ceiledh Monk DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE & GRAPHIC DESIGN Carmen Fitzpatrick


RESEARCH Alia Morash Ashley Saint Ashley Lindsay





John Allaire Jamie Barrie Katie Davis


This month we spoke with many companies from the Craft Brewing and Distilling Industries all across North America and learned that most are family businesses built from tradition and a deeply entrenched passion for what they do and create. The Ampersand Distilling Company in beautiful British Columbia, Canada is no different. We spoke with Jeremy and Jessica Schacht, who tell about building their company out of a love of craft cocktails. Combining Jeremy’s formal education in chemical engineering complimented by his parents’ love of organic farming.

There may be a popular perception that the production of spirits such as vodka and gin traditionally belongs to other places around the world, Russia for vodka, the UK for gin, but we spoke with Top Shelf co-founder, John Criswick and Social Media and Events Manager, Stuart Thornley in Perth, Ontario, Canada about the successful operation of a fully functioning distillery, some 100 years after the last official one closed its doors in the region that is changing the minds of those who thought that distill- ing was strictly a foreign endeavor. We hope you enjoy these tasty stories and we would like to thank all those involved with this issue and our readers as we look forward to telling more stories about successful businesses and the people making it happen.

The result, well you will have to read to find out, but at Halloween this is no better time for some top-notch spirits.

From there we went to the Canadian Maritime provinces which are associated with many flavorful delights such as seafood, wine and some of the best apple orchards in the world, sprawling endlessly alongside the vineyards of Nova Scotia. Nestled on Main St. in downtown Wolfville, Nova Scotia, a small, and evidently thirsty, uni- versity town whose population of about 4,000 usually doubles during the school year, sits the Annapolis Cider Company. We spoke with owner, Sean Myles about his almost two-year- old business, the region, his business philosophy, and of course, their unique ciders that will have you thinking about bobbing for more than apples at your next party. Staying on the East Coast, but moving south off the border we chat with Jason Barrett of Black Button Distilling in Rochester, New York and hear of his amazing story from this button manufacture turned distiller, which is a true American entrepreneur story. When we used to think of Maui, Hawaii, we thought of amazing surf and sandy beaches, well we still do, but after meeting Garrett Marrero, co-owner and founder of the Maui Brewing Company we want to enjoy the view with a tasty brew, that rep- resents the local agriculture with flavors like citrus, mango, pineapple and coconut, giving their pub patrons a true taste of the islands that they will not soon forget, just like the Islands themselves.


PO Box 350007 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3M 0G3 P: 613 699 6672 E:




Family businesses are usually built from tradition and a deeply entrenched passion.

The Ampersand Distilling Co. is no different. It was born out of Jeremy and Jessica Schacht’s love of craft cocktails, combined with Jeremy and his father Stephen’s engineering backgrounds. Jeremy’s formal education in chemical engi- neering complimented his parents’ love of organic farming. The result? A craft distillery that combines education with passion to produce top-notch spirits.

Although the doors to Ampersand only officially swung open in October 2014, the Schacht family spent the previous three years putting the physical assets together for a distillery. And here’s where things get interesting and unique...

The Canadian Maritime provinces are associatedwithmany flavourful delights. Seafood, potatoes, and the wines of the Annapolis Valley. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find some of the best apple orchards in the world, sprawling endlessly alongside the vineyards of Nova Scotia. Nestled on Main St. in the downtown district of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, a small, and evidently thirsty, uni- versity town whose population of about 4,000 usually doubles during the school year, sits the Annapolis Cider Company. Spotlight on Business spoke to owner SeanMyles about their almost two-year- old business, the region, their business philosophy, and of course, their unique ciders.









14 AMPERSAND DISTILLERY Ginning Up in the West 20 DOGWOOD BREWING Organically Proud

He had a lot of material to work with when he set about naming his business back in 2012. He was about to open the first grain-to- glass dis- tillery in Rochester, New York since Prohibition; he was about to join a fellowship of state-wide farm distillers who craft solely from NY grains; and he was about to become one of the youngest master distillers in their ranks at just 24-years- old. But the owner and head dis- tiller of Black Button Distilling, Jason Barrett, had something better – something with even more substance – in mind....

26 GLADSTONE BREWING COMPANY Beers fromGarageland 30 GOODRIDGE & WILLIAMS DISTILLING Proudly BC- Handcrafted 36 COLD GARDEN BEVERAGE COMPANY Malting the Western Grain 44 MESH MEDIA NETWORK The Dynamic Soul of Selling- Taking the Stress out of Sales 48 STRATIGRO SMALL BUSINESS TIP FOR OCTOBER 6 Ways to be Productive if you Work from Home


50 ANNAPOLIS CIDER CO Truly Something DIfferent

58 MAUI BREWING Aloha in a Can



Doing What Comes Naturally

72 BLACK BUTTON DISTILLING Living Large in Small Batches

76 HUDEC WOODWORKING Automated Design meets Intuitive Direction

80 SURVIVOR AMAZON Who is in the Running?

No one company is an island, to paraphrase the John Donne classic poem. But in Hawaii, one brewery is making a splash across the sun- swept island state. The Maui Brewing Company started out as a small, seven-barrel brew pub in 2005, making their own island blends of beer and serving them to the cus- tomers that walked through their door. Their focus was on brewing beer that represent- ed the local agriculture. ...

86 APPLETON CHOCOLATES Nova Scotia’s Sweetest Treasures come from a Small Village on the North Shore


90 CANADA KEGS AND PACKAGING Arming the Revolution






A IDACA MEDIA understands that small and medium size enterprises and businesses are key to the successful growth of any economy and just as import- ant as big businesses to the global economy as a whole. By putting a spotlight on your business, organization or commu- nity 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 and social media support, helping your business connect and stay engaged with your customers.



The world renowned wineries of the Niagara Region in Southern Ontario have made quite a name for the grape that bears its name. With more than 90 plantations and vineyards – many of which predate Confederation – it’s understandable that visitors and even residents are shocked when they hear that a handful of Canadian distillers are making a name for spirits in the land of Jackson-Triggs. But did you know that it isn’t all about the grape in Ontario?



Pouring Perfect Pints

Did you know that an estimated 10 million Canadians drink beer as their alcoholic beverage of choice? Draught beer is the freshest of these beers, as it does not go through the same distribution channels as canned or bottled beer. It is produced, kegged and delivered fresh to pubs and restaurants. As a draught system technologist, BeerTech’s number one goal is to ensure that draught beer be dispensed to consumers as the brewer intended. It all starts with system balance. Whether it is a short draw system (direct draw from a fridge below the towers) or a long draw (from a cooler located somewhere

in the building and driven to the tower and faucets at the bar), it is imperative that the system be balanced. Cooler temperature, beer temperature, gas pressure and calculations on the route the beer will travel (distance, any gravity or lift the lines will travel, restriction caused by hardware such as tubing size and hardware within the towers) must be correct. The result will be a perfectly poured pint; cold, properly carbonated and with a nice head on the beer. It is critical after a proper install that the BeerTech system is maintained regularly. Temperatures should be monitored and the lines, couplers and faucets should be kept clean. As well, the cooler in which the beer is stored should be kept clean.

Serving quality draught beer requires time and technique. Select the proper glassware for the style and brand of beer you are offering. When pouring draught, the glass should never contact with the faucet. Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle until reaching ¾ full, then straighten and lower slightly to allow for the head to form. Beer, much like wine, has a nose. The glass should be served with the logo or label facing the customer and, whenever possible, on a coaster from the respective brewery. Follow the steps above and you are ready to enjoy a fresh, perfectly poured pint every time! Please enjoy responsibly! Ken Greer Owner Technician BeerTech Draught Systems Technologies







(902) 431-BEER (2337)






October 31 st - November 2 nd , 2017 Sands Expo & Convention Center - Las Vegas, NV, USA For more than 25 years, AAPEX Show has been the premier global event representing the global aftermar- ket auto parts industry. AAPEX will feature over 2,200 automotive after- market manufacturers and suppliers showcasing innovative products, services and technologies to 44,000+ targeted buyers.  ​For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @AAPEXShow Follow on Facebook: @AAPEXShow

ITS WORLD CONGRESS 2017 October 29 th - November 2 nd , 2017 Palais des congrès de Montréal - Montréal​, QC, Canada​ The ITS World Congress 2017, produced by ITS America in con- junction with ITS Canada and co- organized by ITS Europe and ITS Asia-Pacific, brings together global leaders in intelligent and transfor- mative transportation to showcase and evaluate the latest innovative concepts, active prototypes, and live systems.  Academics, researchers, policy- makers, businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, implementers, and the media—thousands of people from the transport, automotive, tele- communications, and technology sectors—will engage in robust dis- cussions and spirited debates as to how this rapidly changing and ever-expanding industry is address- ing the very real challenges facing our mobile, connected societies today and in the future. For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @ITS_America Follow on Facebook: @ITSofAmer- ica

event in the world. It draws the indus- try’s brightest minds and hottest products to one place, the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, net- working opportunities and more. The 2016 SEMA Show drew more than 70,000 domestic and interna- tional buyers. The displays are seg- mented into 12 sections, and a New Products Showcase featured nearly 3,000 newly introduced parts, tools and components. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, net- working opportunities and more. (PLEASE NOTE: THE SEMA SHOW IS NOT OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC). ​For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @SEMASHOW Follow on Facebook: @semashow


November 3 rd – 5 th , 2017 EY Centre – Ottawa, ON, Canada

​Come out and celebrate, 31 years for this amazing event. The Festival has grown over the past 31 years to stand apart as one of the most successful of its type in Canada providing a unique opportunity for festival goers to come together to sample and discuss the industry’s newest and best in wine, craft beer, spirits and food. ​For more information of the event: http://ottawawineandfoodfestival. com/

Follow on Twitter: @OttawaWineFood Follow on Facebook: @OttawaWineFood



October 31 st - November 3 rd , 2017 Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) - Las Vegas, NV, USA

November 6 th – 8 th , 2017 Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort - Phoenix, AZ, USA

​The SEMA Show is the premier auto- motive specialty products trade

​This industry event connects a select



held under a single roof that creates an environment conducive to infor- mation exchange, generation of new ideas and acceleration of applica- tions that benefit society.  The World Food Technology Summit- 2017 focuses on the advancement of Food Technology which meets not only the technologies but also Social and Cultural needs. The summit covers conventional and emerging trends in Food Processing, Food Security, Food Supply and Explora- tion of Functional Foods. ​For more information of the event: foodtechnology- summit-2017/ Follow on Twitter: @FreoBeerFest Follow on Facebook: @BeerfestAus

group of commercial fleet managers responsible for light and medium-du- ty truck and van fleets with industry suppliers at an all-inclusive, VIP net- working retreat designed to acceler- ate the achievement of each partici- pant’s unique business goals. ​ For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @WorkTruckMag Follow on Facebook: @WorkTruck


November 13 th – 15 th , 2017 W Chicago – City Center – Chicago, IL, USA ​At this event industry leaders will be looking at how the industry can thrive, feed the nation, leverage internation- al opportunities and build sustain- able business futures based on inno- vation and consumer focus. From the ethics and realities of the clean food revolution to the challenges involved in meeting consumer demands for food that’s high in quality yet low in cost; convenient yet healthy. ​For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @FoodVisionEvent


November 11 th – 12 th , 2017 Esplanade Hotel Fremantle - Freman- tle, WA, Australia ​Experience a jam-packed showcase of 40 Western Australian signature and award winning Craft Beers, Ciders, and Spirits as you Stop, Sip & Savour the very best of the west. This collection of the best WA based breweries, cideries & gourmet food producers, with limited edition brews galore giving festival goers a com- prehensive range of beer & food matching, cooking demonstrations and craft beer master-classes. Fremantle BeerFest will cross all boundaries, delivering the only craft beer and cider festival with a totally local, Western Australia focus and the most exclusive, farm-gate to Freo range of WA craft beers, ciders and premium spirits.

22 ND ANNUAL HOPSCOTCH: CANADA’S PREMIUM WHISKY BEER AND SPIRIT FESTIVAL November 20 th – 26 th , 2017 Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) – Vancouver, BC, Canada ​TheWest Coast’s long-running superior premium Scotch, Whisky and Beer festival is now the biggest combined Whisky and Beer festival across all of Canada. The main event, at the Grand TastingHall, has grown from250 people to over 7500, including connoisseurs from all over the world and those of the highest level of trade.  Each year the festival improves its edu- cational component by giving enthusi- asts the opportunity to learn, sip, and

Follow on Facebook: @FoodNavigatorUSA


November 20 th – 22 nd , 2017 Tropicana Las Vegas - Las Vegas, NV, USA ​The Scientific Conference aims to serve as a catalyst for the advance- ment in Food technology & Probi- otics by connecting scientists within and across disciplines at conferences

​For more information of the event:



taste only the highest quality of liquors and premium beers. With more than 300 products available to taste, sample and discover — don’t miss this unique occasion of being able to truly experience some of your favorite brands and their world renowned brand ambassadors. ​For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @HopscotchNews Follow on Facebook: @hopscotchfestival


December 5 th, 2017 VIA Train Station, 1161 Hollis St, Halifax, NS


Join Make-A-Wish. along with special charactes at THE family event of the holidays!

Enjoy an unforgettable experience that includes lots of food fair, music, activites, PLUS a brief train ride though the city!

For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @MakeAWishAP Follow on Facebook: Make A Wish Atlantic Provinces







Family businesses are usually built from tradition and a deeply entrenched passion.

The Ampersand Distilling Co. is no different. It was born out of Jeremy and Jessica Schacht’s love of craft cocktails, combined with Jeremy and his father Stephen’s engineering backgrounds. Jeremy’s formal education in chemical engineering complimented his parents’ love of organic farming. The result? A craft distillery that combines education with passion to produce top-notch spirits. Although the doors to Ampersand only officially swung open in October 2014, the Schacht family spent the previous three years putting the physical assets together for a distillery. And here’s where things get interesting and unique. They designed and built their equipment by themselves. Just a couple of engineers with a drive for invention and a vision. The business was searching for specific stills that basically didn’t exist. So they took matters into their own hands. When the dust settled, they had created a traditional 1,000-litre pot still and a one-of- a-kind 500-litre column still. The latter is unique in that it is a ‘packed column’ still, responsible for the purity of their spirits. Spotlight on Business spoke with Jessica Schacht about their unique distilling techniques and the craft distilling industry in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

By John Allaire B asically, with the packed-column still, the difference is, it creates a lot of surface area so the liquid and the vapour spend more time interacting with one another. And we extract only the purest alcohol. Everything comes off the still at about 96.5% to 97%. So that’s the base spirit that we start with for our vodka and our gin.” These numbers are up from a traditional still that would clock in purity levels of between 92%-95%. But Schacht explains that it’s not just the equipment that contributes to their unique spirits. The secret also lies within the process. “We’re batch distilling, as opposed to con- tinuous distillation. When you use a continuous process, you’re constantly feeding low wines into the still. So it’s very hard to separate all the heads and the tails from the hearts. Because we use a batch process, we are able to remove the heads and the tails to use for biodiesel and other things. We collect only the pure tasting hearts. We are able to make really clean cuts with not only the technology, but also with our palettes, smells and taste as well.” While this all may seem pretty technical, it is, in a way, a dream-come- true for Jessica’s chemical engineer husband Jeremy, who is fortunate enough to combine his passion for cocktails and distilling with his formal education.



“We’ve been able to increase our production by really only adding one member to the team but really tightening up systems and working on efficiencies.”

In case you left your chemical engineering degree in your other jacket, the simple explanation is, by carefully con- trolling the distilling process the unwanted components can be eliminated while maintaining all the substances of quality. This separation, or elimination, of the unpleas- ant and unwanted substances is called rectification and is obtained by removing the heads and tails of the distillate. The good news is, consumers of Ampersand spirits don’t need higher education to enjoy the unique tastes of their vodka and gin. The products speak for themselves, as does the curious name for the company. So let’s leave the chemical engineering to Jeremy and get down to the important marketing and branding questions. Why is the company named after a keyboardsymbol? (An ampersand is one of these “&” by the way, in case you can’t remember back to your grade 10 typing class.) Schacht answers with the certainty of an explanation she has deliv-

ered presumably many times. “Yeah, I’ve always heard that names joined together with an ampersand rather than the word ‘and’ signifies closer collaboration. So this being a family business, it was really a fitting distinction for our venture. We try to embody this notion of bringing things together. So the ampersand fits in Gin & Tonic… ingredi- ents & technology. We’re bringing together the art and the science of distillation. And just the way that cocktails can bring people together in conversation. That’s the ethos we try to embody as we work and create.” And while we’re talking nomenclature here, there was no doubt that we were going to end up with Latin origins and literal symbolism. But Schacht cleverly ties it into the company’s product line. “Ampersand is actually an amal- gamation of the words ‘and per se and.’ It used to actually be the 27th letter in the alphabet… so Ampersand Gin is our flagship product. It’s the spirits and the botanicals that





similar profile. The Ampersand Per Se Vodka became avail- able a year after the gin and, in fact, showcases the column still’s ability to produce the purest of spirits. The vodka’s base comes from 100% organic British Columbia-grown wheat that Ampersand mills, ferments and distills, then blends with their own spring water. It’s an unfiltered vodka with no carbon treatment, giving it a full-bodied texture, perfect for cocktails. Schacht points out that whiskey drinkers are fond of their vodka, as it stands alone as a great sipping spirit. “We try to embody this notion of bringing things together.” Ampersand’s use of organic ingredients and wild-harvest- ed botanicals runs deep into the distillery’s philosophical commitment to local and top-quality components. The distillery itself is located on Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley on a 5- acre organic vegetable farm. So it was important for them to use organic ingredients from local farmers. “As a craft distillery, we make our own alcohol from scratch from 100% raw BC agricultural goods. For example, the organic ingredients and BC wheat we use have a nice taste to it. Very neutral with a bit of sweetness to it.” The distillery keeps the sustainability cycle going by returning some by-products back to the farmers for their

come together Per Se is the name of our vodka, which is just the spirit by itself.”

As she pointed out, the Ampersand Gin is their flagship product. The idea to produce gin and vodka, rather than whiskeys and ‘“brown” spirits came directly from Jessica and Jeremy’s love of classic cocktails, and gin in particular. As consumers and enthusiasts, the couple found that gin worked well in a range of cocktails. Their initial idea was to put their own twist on a classic. That ‘twist’ included using local organic ingredients and only the finest botanicals. “In starting out, it was really important to us that our gin be really well balanced, maintaining that classic profile with a bit of a twist.” She stresses that the process is important, but the ingredients make the difference. “We’ve got juni- per-forward, fresh lemon peels for the citrus element, the coriander, adding to the classic flavour, and then we add spices like cardamom, and we round things out with some earthier botanicals. Then we blend it all with our own spring water. What that does is produces a gin that has a top, a middle and a base note that is well-balanced for cocktails, but can also stand on its own.”

Ampersand’s Per Se Vodka was more-or- less born from the success of their gin.

Customers were so impressed by the crisp, clean nature of their gin that requests staring rolling in for a vodka with a



use. “Because we don’t ferment on the grain, once we remove all the sugar, we take the grain out and we give it to local farmers to use as livestock feed. So we put it back directly into the food chain.” While the distillery is making strides toward growing their own botanicals, obviously, some plants are better sourced from their native agricultural zones. But that doesn’t mean there is a compromise on quality. They choose only wild- harvested products from all over the world. Their location in the Cowichan Valley plays a significant role in the development of the crops for the distillery. The weather tends to be much warmer than the surrounding districts, lending itself to fertile soil and lush crops. The property they occupy includes a natural spring — water that they use in their spirits. Thus, unlike many business- es that merely occupy land, Ampersand is working it and contributing to the local agriculture. This has led to exper- imenting with some of the crops they are growing along- side other locally-grown organics, finding ways to use less traditional botanicals in new recipes. In fact, to showcase these experiments, the distillery plans on issuing a “limited edition release” of a Nocino liqueur in time for the holidays. The family-run business appears content to keep up with demand in their home province. But what about the rest of the country? Are there plans for wider distribution? Schacht explains that they currently have the right to direct dis- tribution. That means they can deliver directly to private liquor stores, bars and restaurants who want to carry their products. They can also sell at markets, which affords them the opportunity to interact directly with customers. “For the time being, supply and demand is great enough in BC. So until the laws change making it easier to transact across provinces, we’ll probably just remain available in BC.” It’s probably a good choice, as Ampersand’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed in British Columbia. BC Distilled, the premiere distilling event in the province, awarded their spirits “Top Gin” and “Top Vodka” two years running! From an operations perspective, Ampersand focuses on improving efficiencies over adding to the payroll burden. Since the company opened in 2014, the Schachts have only found the need to take on one full-time employee. Jessica chalks that up to getting better at the everyday operations. “We’ve been able to increase our production by really only adding one member to the team, but really tightening up systems and working on efficiencies… we have divided the work up according to expertise, but we all pitch in and do things like bottling and events away from the distillery. It works.” Above all, there’s a real sense that Ampersand has achieved a real connection with their customers and their supply chain. Schacht points out that one of their favourite activ- ities is to connect directly with people at events like the weekly Duncan, BC market. “It’s been a really fantastic journey, and one we’re excited to still be on.”

“As a craft distillery, we make our own alcohol from scratch from 100% raw BC agricultural goods.”





Claire Wilson left her native home of Ireland in 2008 on a working holiday. She had been employed as a professional brewer her whole adult life and she was on a quest to find new recipes, brewing ideas and forward-looking techniques. Hearing an industry buzz about the rapidly changing craft brewing movement in Western Canada, she decided to check it out first hand. She wasn’t disappointed. The craft brewing scene in Vancouver was exactly what she was looking for. New breweries were popping up, exciting products were hitting the marketplace, and the whole vibe and pace was a refreshing change for Claire. In fact, she found it so accommodating, she stayed. And has been a Vancouver resident ever since. Now if that beginning isn’t romantic enough for you, there’s more! She met her soon-to- be husband, Brendan Wilson, an electrician working in Vancouver’s hopping film industry. Early discussions turned to Brendan’s lifelong dream to own and operate a brewery. Talk about finding your dream partner! The stars aligned and Claire left her job in 2012 to open up Dogwood Brewing with Brendan. After the requisite period of finding and leasing space, dealing with building permits and other administrative and regulatory hurdles, the doors finally swung open at Dogwood in March 2015. An important piece to the puzzle was Claire and Brendan’s unified vision to operate a sustainable and environmentally conscious brewery. Claire used her years of education and brewing experience throughout British Columbia, the UK and Europe to spearhead Vancouver’s first organic brewery. Spotlight on Business spoke with Claire about the challenges and rewards inherent with the decision to pursue environmental sustainability in the craft brewing industry.

By John Allaire W e’re actually the third organic brewery in British Columbia and the only one in Vancouver so far.” It was Claire’s early days in Germany that opened her eyes to environmental issues. But more to the point, early in her career, she worked for a brewery that was situated in the middle of a national park. “Nothing went down the drain. Everything had to be top notch in our prac- tices and procedures. So it’s always been part of me and who I am.” Claire is quick to give the nod to Brian and RebeccaMacIsaac from the Crannog Brewery in Sorrento, BC as an early influ- ence on best practices. “They have their farm brewery. They really are the epitome of what the industry needs to be. It’s not over excess or about growth without boundaries with them. They’re just producing amazing beer from their land — from what their well will support, they treat their own effluent, it goes back in the field. And the grain feeds the pigs. It’s a complete full circle. It’s so admirable, what they’re doing and their approach to it.” It was the Crannog folks that convinced them that Dogwood should pursue the organic route. But the concept was met with slight hesitation — and a million questions. “At the beginning I was concerned, ‘is it going to be really expen- sive?’ ‘Are the ingredients going to be really hard to get?’ and so on. Rebecca just went through everything with us and it was just ‘Nope, this is it. These are the suppliers.



You will be able to get your ingredients…’ Claire points out that when she actually worked it out on paper, the cost isn’t that much more to produce organic beer. It’s more about priorities. “Everything had to be top notch in our practices and procedures. So it’s always been part of me and who I am.” Of course, with all the new breweries opening up in Van- couver all searching for that unique space in the craft beer market, the question becomes “What makes this brewery different?” Claire says it was the right thing to do to fit into Vancouver’s emerging organic culture. “It’s part of our model. Vancouver has such a strong and vibrant organic food movement. It’s something that people are looking for. So we are really happy to be able to provide organic beer as part of the movement.” And Claire isn’t worried about other breweries jumping on the organic bandwagon. In fact, she encourages it. “It has always been our opinion that we want other breweries to make organic beer. It would help our supply chain and the cost of the ingredients and organic products. It’s something we encourage. And Brian and Rebecca at Crannog wrote up an information sheet for people on how to brew just one organic beer.” Dogwood takes the “back-to- the-farm” philosophy one step further. Their beer is acceptable for vegan diets. Claire explains what steps are necessary to ensure people follow- ing a vegan diet can enjoy Dogwood products. “Our beer is malted barley, water and hops, pretty much, which are plants, and yeast. Most breweries, especially craft brewer-

ies and real ale breweries, use ‘finings’ to help clarify their products. These finings typically are made from elongat- ed fish bladders. It’s used in the winemaking and brewing industries quite heavily. It surprises people. Vegetarians certainly don’t like finding out that there are fish products in their beer.

So that’s part of the transparency that we were committed to from the beginning.

To be zero waste. No unusual ingredients in our beer. It is what it says it is.”

Naturally, to every rule, there’s an exception. One of Dog- wood’s most popular beers, their ‘Organic Honey’ is, strictly speaking, not vegan, as it is made from natural honey. But the remainder of their selection is not only vegan, it’s as environmentally friendly as you are going to get within the industry. Dogwood’s commitment to sustainability is well-researched and taken very seriously. “We have decided





and culture in a festival atmosphere. Paying homage to the European tradition of fall festival beers, Dogwood’s ‘Organic Fest’ is another popular seller. “It’s our Oktober- fest-style dark lager at 6.9% alcohol. It’s really probably our best loved beer… And we launched our IPA which is more of a hybrid style. Many of the hardcore West-Coast- style IPA drinkers would call it an English-style IPA. But I think it’s far too hoppy to be an English-style IPA. So we put the taste somewhere in the middle. It’s not incredibly hoppy and bitter. It has more of a body to it. The flavour is rounded out more.” Like any artist or culinary creative type, Claire and the Dogwood brewers like to experiment with new recipes, ideas and techniques. And similar to many breweries and distilleries, they use their ‘tasting room’ as a yardstick to measure the popularity of their experiments, and the future direction of their product rollout. She explains that their ‘London Fog’ experiment has become an instant tasting room sensation. “It’s a small batch that we made for our tasting room. It became so popular that it is now going in cans. It’s a light golden ale made with Earl Grey and vanilla.” Dogwood also produces a 4% year-round stout, for those of us who like to sip our way through a nice dark pint.

to go for the six-pack cans, and we put the six-packs in recycled cardboard boxes. And we went for printed cans because they can be infinitely recycled.” To misquote Marshall McLuhan, in this case the packag- ing is the message. The decision to go with six-pack cans directly affects the beer’s design, as opposed to how one would design the product to be delivered in large growl- er-type bottles or 3/4-litre cans. Claire points out that the flavours and consistencies are designed to accommodate drinking all six beers in one sitting! Or at least ensure that, after drinking one, the experience isn’t too overbearing to discourage a second. “The beers need to be consumable in sixes. Not that you are necessarily going to drink six, but it’s a beer that, if you wanted to drink six, you wouldn’t just drink say one IPA and think ‘oh, I need something else now.’ So that’s the way these beers were designed.” “Vancouver has such a strong and vibrant organic food movement. It’s something that people are looking for.” Claire’s Irish upbringing and her history as a brewmaster in Germany can’t help but play a significant role in the creation of their “Fest” beer. It’s not lost on Dogwood that beer lovers are particularly fond of celebrating their tastes

Regulations in British Columbia have recently changed



allowing these tasting rooms to feature small volumes of products from outside the brewery. In keeping with Dog- wood’s craft and organic essence, they feature spirits and wines from other organic producers in the area. So alongside Dogwood’s own brews, you can taste spirits from Pemberton Distillery, local organic wines, and even organic flatbread pizzas from the Rocky Mountain Flat- bread Pizza Company. “The ‘lounge culture’ in Vancou- ver is excellent. And because they only allowed brewer- ies to open up in industrial areas, there are little pockets in the north of the city where there is a cluster of about seven breweries really close to each other. It makes for a great opportunity for visitors to go on walks and ‘lounge crawls.’ We’re the only one in South Vancouver so far, so people who come out and visit us are making a special trip.” One of the insights Claire brought with her from spending most of her life in the brewing industry was the constant need for space, and room to expand. She had witnessed first-hand how many small brew- eries were constantly in the position where they had to plead with landlords and occasionally buy out their neighbours when their space no longer kept up with demand. She insisted on securing far more square footage than they originally needed, anticipating expansion down the road. “So that’s part of the transparency that we were committed to from the beginning. To be zero waste. No unusual ingredients in our beer. It is what it says it is.” They currently lease 12,000 sq. ft. and are still using just under half of the space for their current operations. That would’ve been a big old lonely space in the beginning, as Claire was the only employee. She’d brew in the morning and complete administrative tasks in the afternoon. Today there are three brewers, all female as coincidence would have it. Claire says she really isn’t sure if she is deliberately hiring women, be it even at a subconscious level. “I catch myself. I’m not deliberately just hiring women! I’m not!” she laughs, almost seemingly trying to convince herself more than anyone else. Dogwood’s vision is more day-by- day. They just love brewing beer. And they thrive on being “authentic, trans- parent and unique.” “We want to focus on communicat- ing what we stand for. So people can be proud that they are supporting a local organic brewery that isn’t secretly owned by some international mega company.” Dogwood Brewing is proud of their local organic suppliers and the growing community within the organic movement in British Columbia. “We always put ‘local’ first before ‘organic.’ It means a lot to our customers. It means a lot to us.”



Many successful business stories begin with “Me and my buddies were hanging out in the garage one day…” And so does this story. But unlike stories about high-tech giants or mega- box- store retail giants, this story is about BEER! Which makes it infinitely cooler than the others! The Gladstone Brewing Company started out in a garage on Gladstone Avenue in Victoria, British Columbia, on Canada’s west coast. Of course, it wasn’t a brewing company back then. It was more-or- less a few university buddies brewing beverages for their own consumption and saving a few bucks on their student booze budget. A few years passed and university was in the rear-view mirror, but the Wheels started spinning and numbers were thrown around until the equation finally made sense. Business plans were developed over the next couple of years and pennies were socked away until, in 2014, it was finally time to pull the chute and lease some space for a real brewery. As the Gladstone website points out, they leased a heritage building in Courtenay, BC, which operated as the Seale and Thomson mechanics garage and dealership in the 1940s. Drawing inspiration from its roots, the Gladstone Brewing Company opened the doors in 2015, complete with a mechanic-inspired, laid-back tasting room. And if you’ve ever wrenched away on an old Buick, you’ll feel right at home here. The hand- made tap handles are created from vintage mechanics tools, and the room is scattered with carefully curated 1940s oil cans, vintage license plates, hubcaps and toolboxes. Spotlight on Business spoke with co-owner and founder, Daniel Sharratt about the company’s beginnings, their brewing choices, and the whole craft beer scene on Vancouver Island. home brewing was still a going concern. In fact, these would-be brewers were actually getting good at this stuff!





By John Allaire W e did end up opening in Courtenay, instead of Victoria,” Sharratt exwplains. “A couple of key features that brought us up here were, at the time there wasn’t a brewery in Courtenay. And Courtenay also has a world-class ski hill. So I was up here every weekend in the winter anyway, snowboarding. The lifestyle seemed to be a perfect fit on the mid-part of the Island.” Since the doors swung open in early 2015, the Gladstone Brewing Company has itself slid perfectly into that lifestyle. It is a mainstay of the Comox Valley and indeed a community-fo- cused hub of activity. Situated on the West Coast, one could assume the brew- ery’s India Pale Ale would be a feature. They don’t disap- point, producing their own 6.6% IPA. But they also dive head first into the European-style flavours. Sharratt explains that the beer styles they chose were mostly a function of what they personally enjoyed drinking. “When I was home brewing, I made Belgian beers and European lagers, so that’s what pushed us in that direction. And then we hired our head brewer, Tak Guenette, and he likes to drink English-style beers. So porters, milds and bitters — he brought those styles to the table.” Gladstone’s number-one seller at the moment is their 5.5% Pilsner. Sharratt explains, “We live in a small community and they have really embraced us. They were a community of mostly lager drinkers from macro-breweries before we arrived. So our Pilsner is probably the easiest transition for them.” He also stresses that, because it is a tight-knit com- munity, supporting local was a huge part of early success-

es. “They also wanted to support a local business. Some of them may not have been ready for the flavours at first but we are hearing a lot of ‘it’s really growing on me’ talk around the lounge. Next thing you know, they have dropped their old brand and are drinking our beer — produced right in their own community.” Much of the ‘craft’ movement began on the west coast, be it California or points north. When trying to sell their stronger or hoppier-tasting beers, Sharratt points to a different level of sophistication for some craft drinkers as early adopters of flavour-rich brews. “In BC, the craft beer movement in Canada sort of started here, or at least earlier than many other places. So there were enough people in the area, especially on the Island, that had already been introduced to craft beer.” It would appear to be the best of both worlds. A mild but flavourful Pilsner for those just easing their way into the craft beer scene, and a strong west coast IPA for the seasoned ‘hop-heads’ of Vancouver Island. Like many breweries, Gladstone’s brewers like to exper- iment with seasonal styles and local concoctions. The previous two years, they brewed an Oktoberfest beer that was pretty heavy on the malt. However, they decided to dial it back ever so slightly this year with a 6% Festbier that still fits neatly into the European Festival category. “It’s very similar to the Oktoberfest beer but it’s a little lighter on the malt character. It’s not quite as dark. Still pretty strong though. And we do a similar style in March as well. Only in March, they call it a ‘Märzen.’” Gladstone’s brewers also experiment once every two weeks or so with their half-bar- rel pilot system. They brew a couple of kegs of unique one- offs, taking something they’ve already made and changing it slightly. This gives the brewers a bit of creative leeway to



since opening in 2015. By the numbers, that means that they went from two fermenting tanks to a current total of five (of varying larger sizes.) And they have two more being deliv- ered at the end of this year. That’s 500 hectolitres/year in 2015 to upwards of 3,500 hectolitres/year once the new tanks are up and running. One thing that comes through loud and clear when speaking with Sharratt is that community is very important to the company. And surprisingly, the home-spun touch is what resonates best with the small community. “The events that really made us a spot for the community to get together were the ones we created ourselves. So once every three months we host our own events that are becoming annual staples in the area.” These include a talent show, a “Spring-toberfest,” and an annual “charity beer” day. For the latter, Gladstone partners with local charity “YANA,” an acronym meaning “You Are Not Alone.” The charity focuses on the families of sick children who need treatment at larger-city facilities, and assists these families in dealing with the financial strains of travel and lodging during their child’s treatment. Interestingly, Gladstone pairs up with a local doctor, who is also a home-brewer, and they make a special beer to sell at the event — with 100% of the sales going to YANA and BC Children’s Hospital. Sharratt concludes that they are happy to be a growing company in a community that they love. “We’re really com- munity focused. We’re not just making great beer, but we’re trying to bring the community together as well.”

try something completely different, while at the same time, giving the lounge tasters a new sensation for their palette. As mentioned, the company started out in a garage with a bunch of University of Victoria Economics grads making beer suited to their individual tastes. Of the group, Sharratt and his wife were the only ones who decided to leave their post- grad, steady-income jobs and let it ride on the craft brewing industry. It was a decision that paid off, as they found they were almost immediately in the position of needing to hire four servers for the tasting room and another staffer to help with the brewing in the production area. Fast-forward to 2017, and the company has about 17 employees including Sharratt and his wife. Much of the activity around the brewery comes from their 30-seat lounge (complete with a 100-seat outdoor patio which, incidentally, has a MUCH longer season on Vancouver Island than it would in just about any other location in Canada.) There is also a “growler filling station” where you can fill up a quantity of your favourite Gladstone brew and take it home. “We’re not just making great beer, but we’re trying to bring the community together as well.” But partnership plays a significant role in creating the scene at the brewery. They have leased out a portion of the brewery to a pizzeria, providing a food pairing with the beers on tap. “About six months in, we partnered up with a local company and we leased out a few hundred sq. ft. of our space and they put a pizzeria in there. So I can focus on the beer, they can focus on making pizza and we share the lounge and the patio. Andwe’ll probably stick with that model for this location because it makes sense to us.” While beer and pizza is flowing at the brewery location, Sharratt points out that the company did open their own taphouse a mere block away, called Cornerstone Café and Taphouse. It features the Gladstone brews, of course, but has up to a total of 32 taps flowing at any one time. “Most of the guest beers are from across BC, but we do have some coming in from out-of- province and the Pacific Northwest in the US.” Gladstone’s distribution plan goes far beyond their own block, mind you. Sharratt says that a high percentage of their sales are within the confines of their own establishments. But they also wholesale to a number of restaurants in the area and have taken on packaging their beer for sale in liquor stores in BC. Rules allow breweries and distilleries to direct-deliver to liquor stores, as long as the paperwork is filed through the regulating control board. Recently, they have released twobottle projects and launched a tall-can line for their core brands. Four-packs of Gladstone Pilsner, Gladstone IPA, and Gladstone Belgian Single are now available at the brewery and local liquor stores.

When theheart of your business beats alongwith thepulseof your community, the future can be nothing but healthy and bright.

Expansion is underway within the company, and there’s no end in sight. Their capacity has grown by more than 600%



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