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THE

MAGAZINE

FOR

THE

CANADIAN

BREWING

INDUSTRY

BREWERS J O U R N A L

C A N A D A

SUMMER 2020 | ISSUE 17 ISSN 2398-6956

DOMINION CITY BREWING CO Crafting a community near Ottawa

28 | STONEHOOKER BREWING: BREWING ON SOLID FOUNDATIONS

37| FAN: IT IS WHAT BEER YEAST CRAVES

55 | BREW 4.0: STRANGE DAYS & THE NEW NORMAL


MOVING FORWARD

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very warm welcome to the Summer issue of Brewers Journal Canada.

It’s been an undeniably challenging period, not only for Canada’s breweries, but for their countless peers across the globe. The hurdles and obstacles are evident to the world of beer, and were so early on. How do we continue to make and sell beer, is it safe to do so, and who are we selling it to?

LEADER

Once that particular sea has been navigated, many breweries have needed to pivot their offering to provide beer in small pack for deliveries and collection. Those that have done so will inevitably have experienced an increase in the time and resources required to sell their beer without the draft volumes that many rely on to complement small pack sales.

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Not only the team members required to package the beer but whether you can sources the bottles, cans and ancillary packaging necessary to complete this part of the operation; especially in a land- scape with so many businesses competing for the same materials. Therefore, it’s been great to see so much fantastic beer reaching the consumer during such a tumultuous period but challenges remain. The hospitality sector across Canada has reopened in a variety of ways, but this must be done in a safe and sustainable

way. Especially with the threat of a second wave of the virus and with autumn and winter approaching in a matter of months. Hundreds of thousands of bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants across the country will need targeted, ongoing and continued support as consumer confidence gradually recovers. With increased costs, reduced capacity, fewer customers and decreased sales, it is feared that many bars will have served their last beers. However, a revitalized hospitality sector, supported by a prosperous brewing industry will mean increased value, revenues and job creation throughout the beer value chain, helping to reignite the wider society and economy. And that’s something, I’m sure, we can all get behind. Putting together this issue, it was a pleasure to speak to so many talented and innovative figures in and around the brewing sector. We spoke with Ross Noel, the founder of Mississauga’s Stonehooker Brewing Company to discover how his business has married contemporary beers with a strong sense of tradition and heritage. And in Ottawa, Josh McJannett of Dominion City Brewing Co outlines the brewery’s commitment to community and diversity, while explaining how the business has navigated the Covid-19 crisis. We also take a closer look at the Black is Beautiful initiative, and how Canadian breweries have played their part in the excellent project. There is, of course, much, much more to check out, too.

Tim Sheahan, Editor

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CONTENTS

Comment | Embracing Diversity How to see diversity as a natural opportunity for growth

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Science | Free Amino Nitrogen (FAN) Why insufficient FAN causes stalled ferments and how to dial in your beer flavor and fermentation time

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Comment | Technology How to run a profitable home delivery business

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Comment | Packaging Helping put your brewery’s story on paper‌ sustainably

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Comment | Kegging Why these are crucial times for brewers to prove the worth of their kegged beers

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Focus | Tapptek What the future of beer taps could look like

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Homebrewing | Brew 4.0 Focusing on all things homebrewing during strange times

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Comment | Canning 101

Why it is more important than ever for craft drinks producers to package their beverages for distribution

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Meet The Brewer | Dominion City Brewing Co

Follow Josh McJannett and Andrew Kent’s community-inspired journey since they started their brewery in 2014

CONTACTS Tim Sheahan Editor tim@brewersjournal.ca +44 (0)1442 780 592 Jakub Mulik Staff photographer Johnny Leung Canada Partnerships johnny@brewersjournal.ca +1 647 975 7656 Richard Piotrowski Publisher Richard@brewersjournal.ca Magdalena Lesiuk Graphic Design GraphMad@gmail.com CFJ Media 2275 Upper Middle Rd E #101, Oakville, ON L6H 0C3

23 Focus | Black is Beautiful

Why Weathered Souls brewing started the initiative with the participation of more than 1,150 breweries worldwide

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Brewery Tour | Stonehooker

How Ross Noel and his team carry on the tradition of stonehooking in Ontario through their craft beer

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SUBSCRIPTIONS The Brewers Journal Canada is a quarterly magazine mailed every Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Subscriptions can be purchased for four or eight issues. Prices for single issue subscriptions or back issues can be obtained by emailing: johnny@brewersjournal.ca

CANADA One year: $39 INTERNATIONAL One year: $49 The content of The Brewers Journal Canada is subject to copyright. However, if you would like to obtain copies of an article for marketing purposes high-quality reprints can be supplied to your specification. Please contact the advertising team for full details of this service. The Brewers Journal Canada is printed at Print Buy, 15 - 1253 Silvan Forest Drive, Burlington On, L7M 0B715

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The Brewers Journal Canada ISSN 2398-6948 is part of Reby Media, 42 Crouchfield, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP1 1PA. It is published quarterly in Canada by CFJ Media, 2275 Upper Middle Rd E #101, Oakville, ON L6H 0C3, Canada. Subscription records are maintained at CFJ Media, 2275 Upper Middle Rd E #101, Oakville, ON L6H 0C3, Canada. The Brewers Journal accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of statements or opinion given within the Journal that is not the expressly designated opinion of the Journal or its publishers. Those opinions expressed in areas other than editorial comment may not be taken as being the opinion of the Journal or its staff, and the aforementioned accept no responsibility or liability for actions that arise therefrom.

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NEWS

RALLY BEER COMPANY LAUNCHES CANADA’S FIRST-EVER FUNCTIONAL BEER PURPOSE-BREWED TO BE RICH IN ELECTROLYTES

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irst beer designed specifically as a post-session celebration beverage for athletes and adventurers   Ontario-based  Rally  Beer  Company is stoked to announce that it has launched Canada’s first-ever functional  beer  purpose-brewed to be rich in electrolytes.  Its flagship Rally Golden Ale is available at select LCBO’s in Ontario and will be available online for delivery to select regions.   Brewed with artisanal Newfoundland salts, unfiltered and specially formulated with highly electrolytic superfoods, Rally Golden Ale is a beer made for people who like to sweat. A first of its kind, it is made with active ingredients to ensure electrolyte replenishment for a post-session, post-adventure celebration beverage.   “There is a gap in the beer marketplace that appeals to the active adventure lifestyle and that encourages wellness and the re-

sponsible consumption of a celebration craft beer. That’s what we’ve sought to create with Rally Golden Ale,” says Alan Wood, Founder,  Rally  Beer  Company. “We have tirelessly developed a product to combine the best-tasting and most bio-available electrolytes possible for both the modern day athlete and the casual weekend warrior.”   Because not all electrolytes are the same,  Rally  focuses on ingredients with functional benefits.  Rally  Golden Ale is brewed with a proprietary blend of 100 percent natural salts from the purest glacier-filled waters of Newfoundland and Labrador, and blackcurrants, which are high in mineral content and the source of many natural electrolytes.    The result is a beer that is deliciously bright and crisp, and that pours with a tinge of rosé with a mild English hop to balance the brightness of the blackcurrant. At 4.9% alcohol by volume, it is a light, refreshing beer that would be just as satisfying and

YAKIMA CHIEF HOPS ANNOUNCES FREE VIRTUAL HARVEST EXPERIENCE WORLDWIDE 8

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revitalizing after a long off-road bike ride as it would be on the golf course with friends. “Consumers are interested in making healthier choices and are seeking brands that align with their values. We hope that  Rally  will become not only the go-to for post-activity beers, but that it will be a catalyst to encourage people to get active and reconnect in the great outdoors,” says Wood. Rally  Beer  Company is an Ontario-based craft brewer that was founded by a passionate team of sweat enthusiasts who believe in the power of living a balanced active lifestyle and sharing kudos with our community. We proudly make  Rally  Golden Ale, Canada’s first ever functional beer purpose-brewed to be rich in electrolytes. We champion all walks of life and make it a priority to ensure diverse representation is front and center; this includes gender, socio-economics, race and sexuality. We are committed to the common good and are a proud member of the 1% For the Planet initiative.

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akima Chief  Hops  (YCH), a 100% farmer owned global hop supplier, will host a comprehensive virtual event for the entire month of September available for free and to the public, offering a behind the scenes look at hop harvest along with brewing seminars. As a company owned by 15 hop growers from across the Pacific Northwest, the harvest season is the heart of  Yakima  Chief  Hops. Each year, they invite brewers worldwide to experience hop harvest and attend educational seminars in person. This is a special tradition that helps to fulfill their mission of fostering deep connections between family farms and the world’s finest brewers.

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untons Malted Ingredients, Inc. of Lombard, Illinois, the North American division of Muntons PLC of Stowmarket, United Kingdom, is proud to announce a distribution agreement with Brew Culture Inc. of Bracebridge, Ontario. With this agreement, Muntons range of British Malts will be available to brewers throughout Canada. The Muntons brand has traditionally had a strong presence in Canada. While Muntons range of homebrew kits have remained popular in the Canadian market, Muntons has been trying to find ways to supply the Canadian brewing market since its prior distributor was sold. In 2019, Muntons opened a warehouse in Winnipeg to supply an under-served market there. Brew Culture with its warehousing in Ontario and British Columbia will be able to supply Muntons full line of British malts into the major population centers and brewing markets in Canada.

This opportunity is typically limited to a few hundred select brewing customers and paid attendees through their annual Hop & Brew School. However, with the effects of COVID-19, YCH has announced that they will instead offer the hop harvest experience for free and to the public, virtually. Lasting the full month of September, the event will feature different sessions each day, including farm and facility tours, interviews with farmers, hop and brewing related educational seminars and new hop variety announcements. “This is a rare opportunity where we invite the world to see where great beer truly

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“When I saw the brands Brew Culture is partnered with like White Labs and Yakima Chief Hops I was excited to work with them,” said Jason Chalifour, Sales Executive, Customer Name. “Our range of British malts will fit perfectly in the Brew Culture portfolio.”

“We were very interested in adding a British supplier to the mix,” said Daniel Collins, President and Founder, Brew Culture Inc. “We are going to help bring the company back to the Canadian market. I’m confident our brewers will be very excited about it.” begins and meet the talented people that make it happen” says YCH CEO Ryan Hopkins. “We know that breweries are among the businesses that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19. We want to show our support by offering this event to everyone virtually for the first time ever while keeping our global communities safe.”

NEWS

MUNTONS ANNOUNCES DISTRIBUTION WITH BREW CULTURE

Muntons was founded in 1921 by the Baker-Munton family and through the share ownership of the Wells family, is still a family owned company to this day. Today Muntons has customers in 76 countries around the globe, supplying malts, malt extracts, homebrew kits, flours and flakes and many other malted ingredients for the food and drinks industry. There are two UK manufacturing sites, and one newly constructed ingredients plant in Asia. These are supported by global sales offices covering Europe, Asia Pacific region and the American continent.

Brew Culture was created in 2014 out of a passion for craft beer and a love hops. We work direct with our partner hop growers around the globe to supply an extensive and growing list of premium quality hops. We pride ourselves on our quality industry partnerships to supply a comprehensive list of brewing aids, cleaning products, hoses, fittings, safety equipment and more to breweries across North America. To view the schedule, visit virtualharvest.com. Participants are encouraged to enroll to receive updates.

Some sessions require fees for mailed materials and have limited availability. Session recordings will be made available, but participants are encouraged to join the LIVE Q&As.

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CANNING 101 WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES IN PLACE ACROSS THE WORLD, IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER FOR CRAFT BEVERAGE PRODUCERS TO PACKAGE THEIR BEVERAGES FOR DISTRIBUTION, EXPLAINS STEVE GRUNDY, FOUNDER & CEO OF TOP 5 SOLUTIONS. LESS PEOPLE ARE FREQUENTING BARS, RESTAURANTS, AND TAPROOMS BUT THE CRAVING FOR VARIETY AND DESIRE TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS IS STILL STRONG.

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here are a few different options for packaging your beverages for distribution. Cans offer versatility, sustainability, and portability and are a great option for beer, wine, cider, kombucha, seltzer, coffee, and spirits-based RTD’s. Enlisting a mobile canner, partnering with another producer to share a canning line, or purchasing your own system are all possibilities but it is important to take a few things into consideration before making your decision.

ty seal, and be easily serviced when necessary. All the features must work together to produce a superior canned beverage. The absence of any element will prove to be detrimental and cost far more than you think beyond the equipment acquisition.

CLEANING When considering a canning line, it is absolutely essential that it can standup to rigorous clean in place (CIP) procedures. CIP is a set of activities used to clean the piping and equipment in a process system without disassembling anything. There are 4 elements that are required to ensure a system is clean: Temperature, Action/ Flow Rate, Chemicals, and Time. If any one of these is neglected, your canning line is not clean. The canner must be able to handle temperatures upwards of 60°C, be able to achieve higher flow rates, standup to caustic chemicals, and withstand harsh conditions for extended periods of time. Be sure the equipment you choose is CIP capable without proprietary chemicals and avoid aluminum components, otherwise you risk unexpected downtime due to premature equipment failure and contamination of the beverage you worked so hard to create.

QUALITY IS KING

FILLING

The features of a canning line can impact quality and yield. A quality canning line will make cleaning easy, minimize dissolved oxygen and product loss during filling, produce a quali-

There are two main types of fillers on the market for craft canners: Counter Pressure fillers and Open Atmosphere fillers.

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Counter Pressure Fillers u Creates a seal over the can and purges air before filling u A pressure differential is used to force the liquid into the can u Offers decreased DO levels because the liquid is not exposed to the air during filling u Wider range of fill liquid temperature: -2.2°— 10° C u Wider range of fill carbonation: 0 — 4 volumes CO2 u Control fill rates and pressure release to reduce liquid loss u More expensive Open Atmosphere Fillers u Can is open, exposing liquid to the atmosphere when filling u Increased final DO levels because liquid is exposed to the air during filling u Smaller range of fill liquid temperature: -2.2° — 0° C u Smaller range of fill carbonation: 0 — 2.7 volumes CO2 u Product loss from over filling to attempt low DO pickup u Less expensive The first thing to consider is what type

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of canner is best for your application. Are you concerned about DO levels adversely affecting flavors and shelf life? Are you canning a beverage with higher carbonation levels such as a seltzer or soda? Will you have trouble maintaining a near freezing fill temperature due to high ambient temperatures in your facility? Are you concerned about liquid loss? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need a counter pressure filler. Counter pressure fillers are slightly more expensive but the return on investment is achieved faster with reduced liquid loss, longer shelf life, and a higher quality beverage as compared with open atmosphere fillers.

an all mechanical seamer rather than a seamer powered by pneumatics. This ensures that critical seaming operations are the same every time leading to more consistent seals and lower air consumption. The speed of the seamer is also an important feature. The seamer must outpace the filler to minimize the amount of time the beverage is absorbing DO while exposed to the atmosphere. Finally, establishing a routine for checking the seams on cans every 45 minutes will help to catch any bad seams before distributing to the masses.

Buying a canning line is a large investment for a small brewery, so look at Total Cost when making your decision. Overfilling to achieve low DO is a huge hidden cost that can quickly change the ROI. Measuring overfill is a simple matter of weighing random samples of cans, converting the average overweight to volume, and then multiplying by the average $/ml based on your product price and the number of cans you’re producing. Overfilling can range anywhere from 1-5% of the advertised can volume in an open atmosphere filler. Even at modest volumes, the cost of overfilling can easily exceed $50,000 per year. Over 2-3 years, it can be almost as much as the can line itself. Below is an example for a small craft brewery producing just under 5,000 hL/year.

Last but not least, the machine you choose must be easily serviced. If you can’t get the support you need when your machine is down, it will cost you big money. Using a single supplier for all equipment will reduce both service and shipping costs. If the supplier is also the manufacturer that’s an added bonus. Check to see how many trained service techs the supplier has and whether

SERVICE

they keep spare parts on hand for quick shipment. Many suppliers don’t manufacture their own parts which can turn a quick fix into a major headache if you have to wait for the part to be manufactured and then shipped. If you are just starting out packaging and want to invest in a canning line, it would be wise to choose a system that can grow with your business. Talk to users of both counter-pressure fillers and open-atmosphere fillers to compare results. Many suppliers offer customizations that can improve efficiency, expand product offerings, and produce a cleaner end product. Be sure to ask the supplier what your options are for adding additional equipment down the road such as depalletizers, twist rinses, labelers, Pak Tech applicators, pasteurizers, warmers and additional conveying. A canning line is capable of significantly reducing labor costs, product loss, and can have a quick return on investment if you choose a well-made line that can grow with you.

SEAMING After the filler, cans enter the seamer where a lid is placed and the can is sealed. It is crucial that a good seam is achieved consistently to preserve the quality of your beverage. Seaming a can requires two operations. The first operation roll bends the lid over and under the lip of the can. The second operation roll pounds the metal into place. When considering a canning machine, look for

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EMBRACING DIVERSITY SHOULD BE A BEST BUSINESS PRACTICE, NOT JUST A HOT TREND IT’S IRONIC THAT THE BEER INDUSTRY, SO MULTI-FACETED AND DIVERSE IN ITS PRODUCT OFFERING, SEEMS RATHER LATE TO THE TABLE WHEN IT COMES TO EMBRACING DIVERSITY IN ITS WORKPLACE AND IN ITS BRANDING.

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oreover, it’s a troubling reality that it typically requires repeated social upheavals, the most of recent which erupted in the USA and elsewhere, to bring attention to such a simple opportunity. Namely, diversifying your workplace and broadening your product’s appeal means growing your business. The industry does seem on the verge of getting all “woke” about the issue with Brewers’ Association chief economist Bart Watson saying that “similar to craft consumers, brewery employees are disproportionately white relative to both the general (U.S.) population and where breweries are located.” Typically, he notes, the majority of breweries are owned by males and of that group nearly all of them (96%) are white.

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IF DIVERSIFICATION IS KEY TO SUCCESSFUL INVESTING SHOULDN’T IT BE THE SAME FOR YOUR BRAND. Like investing, it’s never wise to put all your eggs in one basket. The same couldn’t be more true of your efforts to attract a diverse base of people to work inside your company, as well as reaching out to multiple audiences to grow your business out there in the real world. New research from McKinsey makes it increasingly clear that companies with more diverse workforces and market segments perform better financially. Companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity tend to have balance sheets that outpace national industry medians. Companies in the bottom quartile in diversity are less likely to achieve above-average returns. Plus, diversity is a distinct competitive advantage that carves out more market share for more diverse companies over time. How does that work? you might ask. The answer has to do with understanding what your brand is all about.

SEE YOUR BRAND DIFFERENTLY AND YOU’LL SEE DIVERSITY AS A NATURAL OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH Provided we put aside willful racism, at the root of this “miss” on diversity, is a misalignment of vision as to what your brand, any brand, really is. From an enlightened perspective, your brand is really a community composed of the people inside and outside your organization who share the key values that define and motivate your enterprise. These good

folks, of all stripes, don’t just buy your products. They invest something far more valuable than mere money into your promises - they invest emotion. Meaning, they buy in. The incredible potential of this emotional investment is that, when you deliver on your promises, these people stay in the community. And BONUS! they spontaneously invite others to do the same. So you get more than just customers - you get advocates of your products. No extra charge. Here’s a real kicker. Demographic characteristics of your market can be far less relevant that the psychographic make-up. Today, people of all ages, genders and ethnicity share attitudes and opinions more broadly because they share experiences. And many of those experiences are the result of brand interactions and self-identifying with that brand. So if your brand speaks to shared experiences in addition to unique products and products and processes you broadened your audiences appeal and grow your brand community.

DIVERSITY IS THE RESULT OF SOMETHING YOU MUST BRING TO YOUR CORPORATE CULTURE Creating a diverse workforce and also expressing diversity in your outbound marketing efforts is easy to do if you rely solely on window dressing. Hire a few token minority folks, put other than white faces in your ads and you’re done, right? Hell, you might even get away with it. Just not for long. And when the curtain gets pulled back, you can watch your fortunes wane, quickly.

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The path to being a diversity-friendly brewery begins when, just like updating your view about branding, you update your code of behaviour to embrace inclusion. One of the biggest challenges brands have when it comes to producing effective inclusive marketing — particularly for diverse audiences, is the lack of cultural intelligence they have for the audience they are serving. That’s because they have yet to discover the power of inclusion. As North America continues to grow more diverse every year, including more people inside and outside of your brewery is vital to sustain growth - and to spur innovation. Different tastes can open different product development avenues to attract and satisfy more people. Again, grow the brand community, you grow the business.

YOUR MIND. THE REST IS JUST WORKING SMARTER, NOT HARDER.

greater contribution to your success. It might even take a load off you, for a change.

Once you get your mind right to see the how your brand community will benefit from inclusion and diversity, you ‘ll also see how to re-invent your hiring practices, your internal culture and your marketing efforts.

Taking that reality of inclusion and that commitment to diversity beyond the doors of the brewery to your distributors, licensees and costumers activates the entire brand community. And that creates a more sustainable, more attractive and more profitable enterprise.

By bringing different perspectives into the conversations about your brand, and your business, you’ll create an even more broadly based group of people who are committed to make an even

Author: Wayne S. Roberts, Principal Blade Creative Branding, Toronto

THE HARD PART CAN BE CHANGING

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MEET THE BREWER

DOMINION CITY BREWING CO

CRAFTING A COMMUNITY

WHEN JOSH MCJANNETT AND ANDREW KENT STARTED OUT ON THEIR JOURNEY WITH DOMINION CITY BREWING CO IN 2014, BEER WAS THE ORDER OF THE DAY. BEER, AND THE WAY THIS BEVERAGE CAN BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. SEVEN YEARS ON, THEY’VE PROVEN IT CAN DO JUST THAT. 18

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he Ottawa River is Canada’s eighth largest watercourse. It’s also the chief tributary of the St. Lawrence. Starting in the Laurentian Mountains, the river flows west before turning southeast. Here, it forms a portion of the border between Ontario and Quebec. Although it takes in 1,200km from start to finish, the Ottawa River’s journey begins some 500km from the home of Dominion City Brewing Co. Though at its closest point the river flows, at a push, a mere one kilometer north of Gloucester-based brewery. For a company that was built on the idea of beer and community going hand-in-hand, it’s fitting that the river that passes its doorstep itself connects more than 50 communities across Ontario and Quebec. “Beer brings people together,” explains Josh McJannett, co-founder of Dominion City Brewing Co. “When new towns are going up, places where you can enjoy a beer

in the company of others are the environments where people gather. That’s always inspired us.” But the notion of beer’s role in the community during these challenging recent months have, as McJannett tells us, meant breweries like Dominion have had to “toss the playbook out” and adjust to find their feet once more. He says: “I remember that weekend in March very clearly. We had a birthday booked in the taproom. It was a commitment we fulfilled but, at the same time, you had a sense of this chasm opening beneath your feet. “It was a dichotomy where there’s a busy taproom environment but there we were, in the background, building a make-shift drive thru operation to cater for new logistical challenges that lay ahead. “The next day we announced the taproom was to shut.”

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McJannett, co-founder Andrew Kent and the team were facing the question… What does a community brewery do when it can no longer provide that role for the community? “People have really got behind us and come through for this brewery, and everything we stand for,” says McJannett. “They’re voting with their feet and voting with their wallets”. With a system for off-site sales in place, the team added the option for consumers to round up the value of their orders. In doing so, the extra revenue would go direct to a local food bank the brewery supports. It worked, and it worked well. At the time of writing, more than $40,000 has been raised through those donations. “It’s been a real difference-maker for that organisation,” he says proudly. “We’ve regularly heard that our customers were grateful that they were given the opportunity to do something useful, so we’re really happy with how it has turned out.” Being able to “do something useful” was one of the key drivers behind Kent and McJannett opening their own brewery. Graduates of Ottawa’s Carelton University, the duo we were working for an airline and in telecommunications, respectively.

“I envied people that could physically make things for a living. I felt that we wanted to do more and that kept us going early on,” recalls McJannett. “We tread the common path of keeping our main jobs while working on this project. There was little time for luxuries like sleep, but these are the compromises you make. Everyone was everything at all times.” Starting out in 2014, the duo launched with a 7bbl electric system, complemented by four 7bbl tanks and a 7bbl brite tank. “The beer I made early on was good. But we’ve improved immeasurably thanks to the efforts and talents of our head brewer Scott (Denyer),” he says. “Scott walked in the door and asked to volunteer, and he’s still with us! And when you get to know Scott, you realise he is allergic to compromise. He’s a guiding light for us and our beers.” Denyer, according to McJannett, was also something of a beacon in those early days. He explains: “In the business of making beer, you might have the prospect of staring at a batch that doesn’t meet your exacting standards and you have to ask yourself whether you’re going to sell it.

Dominion brew on a 30bbl brewhouse from Deutsche Beverage Technology

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“There is a commercial pressure, and to compromise could be easy. But Scott is clear-minded, in that people are paying good money for these beers. Yes, it’s heartbreaking to destroy a batch but we wouldn’t be here today if we compromised on quality at any point.” And it’s the quality and consistency of the brewery’s output that enabled the operation to expand into the unit next-door within two years of starting out. Demand for beers such as Town & Country Blonde Ale, A 5.5%, Sunsplit IPA, a hop-forward 6.5% IPA and Two Flags, a punchier 7% IPA allowed the outfit to invest in a 30bbl brewhouse from Deutsche Beverage Technology of North Carolina. “One year, we found ourselves at the Craft Brewers Conference and we were stood on the brewhouse at the Deutsche stand,” McJannett says. “Sure, we didn’t have enough money but we dreamt about owning it. That kit would be sold, then unsold, twice before our chance came along!”

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The 7bbl tanks of early years have been replaced with 60bbl and 30bbl vessels, and the global pandemic has resulted in the beer that emerges from these tanks reaching consumers via can, rather than keg dispense. “We are grateful that we made certain moves, like bringing canning in-house, along the way,” McJannett explains. “We initially worked with mobile canning partners before investing in our own system two years ago.” Before the pandemic hit, 60% of the brewery’s volumes were distributed in keg to bars and restaurants, but societal changes has allowed the team at Dominion to fast-forward their approach to getting more of their beers direct to the consumer. “Connecting with the consumer directly works best for all parties, with us delivering beer in its best and fresh form. The demand for this has enabled us to create new jobs in that side of the business as a result,” he says. And making decisions that do well by others is part of the Dominion City DNA. In April last year, together with Beer.Diversity. and Niagara College, the brewery announced the establishment of the Dominion City Beer. Diversity. Scholarship. It was revealed that the scholarship will be awarded annually to one outstanding senior level student in the Niagara College Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program with a background presently underrepresented in the brewing industry.

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Dominion City Brewing Co, July 2020

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“We had the realization that yes, beer can bring people together but it can also be doing so much more. It’s so important to bring people into that place, to ensure it is inclusive and give an opportunity to those that aren’t represented.” Little more than a year later, the brewery proudly announced that it had provided seed funding to establish the Canadian Brewery Inclusion Toolkit. This will be a resource of licensed materials and training, created by Ren Navarro and her organization Beer.Diversity., to empower breweries with the tools, tactics and resources to institutionalize and cultivate stronger, more diverse, equitable and inclusive businesses. The toolkit helps breweries put words to action when it comes to creating truly wel-

coming spaces and hiring the best people, especially those presently underrepresented in the beer industry.

the table for everyone. We may not solve everything with a beer, but from where we sit it’s a hell of a good place to start.”

“This builds on the work we started together in 2019 with the establishment of the Dominion City Beer.Diversity. Scholarship,” says McJannett. “This annual bursary and paid internship provides talented and promising brewing students from the Niagara College Brewmasters Program presently underrepresented in Ontario’s craft beer industry with valuable first-hand experience to jump-start a successful career.”

And some seven years in, despite these accomplishments, it’s easy to get the impression that McJannett and the team feel as if they’re at the beginning of their own particular journey in beer.

He adds: “Now more than ever, we feel the weight of that most persistent and urgent question, ‘What are you doing for others?’. We share Ren’s conviction that breweries like ours need to do more to make room at

“People are excited to go on this journey with us, and that’s very rewarding,” he explains. “Early on, we knew we needed to work to get our beer out there, get our name out there, and bring people in to our space. “Beer is about working hard, and building relationships, and we love doing that.”

“I envied people that could physically make things for a living. I felt that we wanted to do more and that kept us going early on.”

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BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL MARCUS BASKERVILLE, FOUNDER OF SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS-BASED WEATHERED SOULS BREWING CO, STARTED BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL WITH A CLEAR GOAL IN MIND. THE INITIATIVE, IS A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT AMONGST THE BREWING COMMUNITY AND ITS CUSTOMERS, WHICH ATTEMPTS TO BRING AWARENESS TO THE INJUSTICES THAT MANY PEOPLE OF COLOUR FACE DAILY. THAT MISSION WAS TO BRIDGE THE GAP THAT’S BEEN AROUND FOR AGES AND PROVIDE A PLATFORM TO SHOW THAT THE BREWING COMMUNITY IS AN INCLUSIVE PLACE FOR EVERYONE OF ANY COLOUR. SEVERAL MONTHS IN, MORE THAN 1,100 BREWERIES ACROSS 50 COUNTRIES HAVE JOINED THE CAUSE.

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arcus Baskerville describes himself not only as a head brewer but a mad scientist. He’s also a founder, too. Not only of his brewery, San Antonio’s Weathered Souls Brewing Co but Black is Beautiful, an initiative that has resonated with breweries and drinkers alike in 2020. But as he tells us, this can only be the starting point. “I’m humbled, humbled and excited. Early on we thought how great it would be to get 200, maybe 250 breweries involved. So to be at this point is crazy,” he explains. “The way the beer community has come together, and the amount of commerce created is the first time that’s happened in history. We’re making history together.”

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At the time of writing, 1,120 breweries across 50 countries have participated in the Black is Beautiful initiative he started. Producers over the globe have been brewing a beer based on a recipe devised by Baskerville and available from their website. The beer is a high ABV stout showcasing Black, 2 Row and Dark Chocolate Malts. Many brewers have also put their own spin on the recipe through the addition of adjuncts or blending. “We didn’t want people to feel that they had to produce the same beer. The idea was to offer up a blank canvas, a creative space on which to work,” he says. One such brewery is North America’s Firestone Walker. Their version of the beer consists of Parabola aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels (30%), Velvet Merkin aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels (15%), and an imperial stout brewed at its Propagator R&D brewhouse in Venice, California (55%).

They are also asked to choose their own entity to donate to local organizations that support equality and inclusion. Baskerville also asks that these breweries commit to the long-term work of equality. “This initiative is only the starting step,” says Baskerville. “What is important to work on long-term goals and not lose sight of the the message.” He adds: “Breweries, reach out to your local communities. Craft beer is perceived as inclusive but we now that is not always the case. It is key to work more with minorities, and to bring everyone into your space.” Weathered Souls is personally be giving part of our proceeds to the Know Your Rights Campaign.

Elsewhere, Side Project and Shared Brewing worked together to blend 50% of their Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout and 50% of a Shared Vibes base, which was finished with a dash of Mexican Vanilla Beans.

“As much as we want this to be about raising money, the real issue is bringing education and information, which will bring forth change to a system that has fractured so many families and has been broken for decades,” Baskerville says. “This platform and collaboration is about understanding and supporting people of colour and inclusion. We ask that you please stand with us to create something that has never been seen before and show the world the brewing community is one of a kind.”

Through participation in the initiative, breweries are asked to donate 100% of the beer’s proceeds to local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged.

He adds: “I contemplate how the country can move forward, how we as the people, can create change, and what it will take for everyone to move forward with a common respect for one another. For us, we feel that this is our contribution to a step.”

“We didn’t want people to feel that they had to produce the same beer. The idea was to offer up a blank canvas, a creative space on which to work,” Marcus Baskerville 24

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I wanted to share some of my thoughts on why this initiative created/hosted by Marcus of Weathered Souls is so important. Black Is Beautiful is more than just an empowering statement or battle cry.  It is a celebration of the many ways that Black People have positively impacted the world at large, & added to the rainbow of life.  This initiative is meant to amplify Our generational cries for equality, respect, & Our seat at the table of humanity.  Something We are all born worthy of, but have never been given the right to claim, simply because of Our heritage.  This beer is meant to promote a dialogue that helps people understand that when We shine, they shine too. But without Our light, the world remains dim, unable to appreciate ALL of its beauty, by denying Ours exists in it.  That’s why these three words are so important to me.  To have the opportunity to use my social media platform (@tdotdrinks on Instagram) to do more for my Community empowers me to serve the greater good, & leave a positive impact on the path of future generations, starting with our Daughter.  To see the look of pride and respect in her eyes when we explained this movement, & the work we are doing by collaborating with our Beer Family at Shacklands Brewing & Rorschach Brewing on the first 2 of our 3 Black Is Beautiful collaboration beers (the 3rd will be with our Beer Family at People’s Pint), and that the proceeds will benefit groups like Black Lives Matter Toronto and Black Women In Motion, was enough to vindicate the choices that Meoshi (@craftbeerphoenix on Instagram) & I have made to get involved.  Unlike some who have voiced a desire to only use their platform to talk about beer, I don’t feel that drinks and social activism are mutually exclusive subjects.  This beer is proof positive of that very fact.

Edward Buhnai @tdotdrinks on Instagram

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MERITs Black Is Beautiful supports the Black Youth Mentorship Program facilitied by the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion - an organization we started working with in February alongside Ren Navarro/Beer.Diversity. through our collab More Than (Mango Pale Ale). Meeting participants, mentors, and organizers cemented the importance of this program for Black youth in Hamilton and we were excited to do our part through the More Than collab. Fast forward a few months and the amazing initiative by Weathered Souls came up and we doubled down on our commitment to the BYMP as through every community initiative MERIT is involved in, our goal is always to ensure sustainability of support and the organization itself. Outside of the support for the BYMP, we hope our involvement in the Black Is Beautiful initiative helps state clearly to our guests and our community that we stand emphatically against systemic racism and that Black Lives Matter. Thank you to Marcus and the Weathered Souls team for this amazing idea and inviting the world to join you!

“Even for those who have participated or intend to participate in the Black is Beautiful initiative the expectation is that they will continue to actively work to have their staff be more inclusive in the front and back office, and to ensure their spaces are welcoming to communities of colour” Meoshi Nottage

Tej Sandhu, Mertit Brewing Company

For us, the decision to join the Black is Beautiful worldwide collaboration was a no-brainer. We were all feeling emotionally wrought about the events that were happening in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, but we were struggling to find a way to help make a difference. One of our staff members shared the link to the Weathered Soulsled collab and it took us just a few minutes to decide to take part. Taking part in this collab has been the impetus for looking at how we, as a business and as individuals, can address racism and equality in our own community. We know we’ve still got a long way to go, and we don’t know exactly how we will get there, but we do feel like the steps we are taking now are vitally important and will make a change to the lives of those who’ve experienced racial hatred.

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Beer has this wonderful ability to be more than just a drink. It brings people together to discuss ideas and share experiences and you can use it to create more good than the sheer dollar value of each beer. Because we had very generous suppliers, we were able to commit to giving every single dollar from every single beer to Sankofa. We just hit the $20,000 mark this week, which is incredible. The funds will be used to create a scholarship fund for Black youth pursuing a post-secondary education or trades apprenticeship program. The thing that struck us about Sankofa is that it’s very much a grassroots organization. The struggle against racial discrimination for Black people in Canada and in Calgary is very, very real. Sankofa is caring and loving and does amazing work to create a space where Black youth

feel welcomed and appreciated, and have opportunities to grow. Suppliers who donated time or ingredients: u Red Shed Malting – all specialty malts u Rosso Coffee Roasters – 25lb of coffee beans u Summit Labels – printing and delivery of all labels u Daughter Creative – design work In addition, three local businesses also volunteered to donate all profits to Sankopfa: u Collective Craft Beer Shop – two kegs worth of growlers u BK Liquor – 2 flats worth of beer u Ten Foot Henry restaurant – 2 flats worth of beer Haydon Dewes, co-founder, Cabin Brewing Company

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Black is Beautiful. This simple and true statement is something that gets ignored all too often. For far too long the word black has been perceived as something bad or to be feared so much so it has entered into everyday language with terms such as blackmail, black listed and black magic.

This was one of the reasons that I wanted to be a part of the Black is Beautiful initiative started by Weathered Souls Brewing based in San Antonio, Texas. Their mission of bringing awareness specifically to craft breweries and their customers to the injustices that members of the BIPOC community experience on a daily basis with the profits from the sale of the beer created in this initiative going to organizations that help marginalized groups is something that I believe in.

And Canada needs to realize that it is not immune. There have been several times where I have entered a craft brewery where I am the only person of colour and have had the customers in the tap room turn, look and start talking in suddenly hushed tones.

I have had my beer choices repeatedly questioned as to whether or not I am familiar with the beer style that I have ordered and facts I have stated about beer Googled immediately whereas with my white counterparts it is assumed that they know what they are taking about no matter the topic is and that they are beer experts whether or not it is true. These types of micro aggressions are, unfortunately, far too commonplace and ironically sometimes with Black culture very present, whether it is through the music playing and/or even the names of the various beers available.

Craft breweries need to know that having thrown up a black tile on your social media page is not enough. Even for those who have participated or intend to participate in the Black is Beautiful initiative the expectation is that they will continue to actively work to have their staff be more inclusive in the front and back office, and to ensure their spaces are welcoming to communities of colour.

For those craft breweries who are sincere about wanting to better themselves, actually hire BIPOC consultants to help you develop policies and implement systems to truly become or stay inclusive because no one knows better than we do what we need and what needs to be changed or highlighted for us to actually feel welcome.

There are many such qualified professionals out there, including myself, so you should have no trouble finding one. Partner with BIPOC owned businesses, continually educate yourself, and ensure your entire staff have ongoing diversity training because it takes time to unlearn behaviours especially if they are newly discovered.

For the breweries who are afraid to stand up for and support the Black community it is always on brand supporting a humanitarian effort.

For the breweries who have stayed defeaningly silent during this time, it is a lie to say you are inclusive when you do not support an entire community or ignore it. We have noticed and we and our allies will take our money elsewhere and support breweries who are actually as inclusive as you claim to be. Meoshi Nottage @craftbeerpheonix on Instagram

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MEET THE BREWER

STONEHOOKER BREWERY BREWING ON SOLID FOUNDATIONS

People are thirsty in the good times and they are thirsty in the bad times, too,” Ross Noel, founder of Stonehooker Brewing Company. 28

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WHAT STARTS WITH BEER CAN SO OFTEN BECOME SOMETHING MUCH BIGGER. IT’S A CATALYST ROSS NOEL, FOUNDER OF MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO’S STONEHOOKER BREWING COMPANY KNOWS ALL TOO WELL. AND IT’S NOW HARD TO IMAGINE THE COMMUNITY WITHOUT THEM AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF IT.

People are thirsty in the good times and they are thirsty in the bad times, too,” muses Ross Noel, founder of Mississauga, Ontario’s Stonehooker Brewing Company. “But let me tell you, I’m glad we had a year under our belt before coming into 2020.” A beautiful warm spell is coming to an end in Mississauga. It’s been an amazing sum-

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mer weather-wise but as we perhaps all feel, some things seem normal - but some are far from it. “This summer definitely feels shorter than usual,” explains Noel. “We obviously had the various restrictions that were rightfully implemented due to the pandemic, and we only managed to open our beer garden late in June. But even

so, it’s been a pleasure to welcome people back.” Stonehooker Brewing Company is located in Lakeview, on Lakeshore Road, just east of Port Credit, in a neighbourhood in the south-central part of the City of Mississauga. Nestled on the banks of Lake Ontario, Port Credit Village is an area Ross would go on to call home after moving in six years ago.

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“We’ve been able to reopen at a good time,” he says. “We’ve increased our capacity from nine to 14 tables, all with a 2m distance from each other. It’s proved to be a popular spot in what are strange times.” Noel and his crew, like many, have offered thirsty drinkers the option to buy direct from the brewery via drive thru during recent months. It proved to be an efficient operation, via contactless payment, which has satiated fans of Stonehooker beers when on-premise consumption wasn’t permitted. But Noel is frank in his assessment of the situation. “We are fortunate to have been in the position where we could pivot and cater for the market. That would have been a far greater challenge had we only been a few months into our brewing journey,” he explains. “But beer is a good product, and we’re thankful that people want our beer!” The brewery owner says the community in which Stonehooker is part of has been both supportive and appreciative.

“People are happy that we opened here. It’s considered to be a real feature of this community and they’ve rallied around us,” he says. “When you look at Mississauga, which is home to some 700,000 people, there was only one other brewery before us. So maybe it’s not surprising that people welcomed the news of us coming to town.” The story of Stonehooker Brewing Company started some years back. Following a career in IT, and a move to Port Credit, Noel would rediscover his love of beer and homebrewing. As he tells us, that involved buying $5000 of equipment from Kijiji and some space to brew in. Of course that was only the tip of the iceberg. Considering the brewery now brews on a 15HL brewhouse and is armed with a family of 30HL FVs, it’s safe to say things turned out pretty well.

By now however, Adam Cherry, a former professional golfer, was a partner in the business. Like Noel, he wanted a career change and that’s what he got. It just so happened he was very handy at making beer, too. “I was so impressed with Adam’s prowess as a brewmaster,” says Noel. “Early in our journey, he would regularly bring samples of the beer he had made. One of these was a New England IPA and it blew my mind.” Each Friday, the duo would source the best beers of that style that they could find. They spoke about what they liked, and what they didn’t, from the drinks they sampled. One particular Friday they sprung a blind taste test on willing participants, which included Cherry’s own New England creation in the mix.

From a standing start in 2016, a period of planning followed.

“On every scoresheet, his beer would come out first or second,” smiles Noel. “It sent chills down our spine and it was then, we realized we had something special.”

“We broke ground in 2017 and, as is often the case, what we thought would take one year would take two owing to municipal regulations and issues such as delays with the brewhouse,” he recalls.

That beer would go on to be Broad Reach, a 5.4% New England IPA that Stonehooker would launch to market with. It proved a hit with drinkers from the get-go and remains the brewery’s flagship to this day.

Noel: “It has been a pleasure to welcome people back”

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Since opening last May, the outfit has released a wealth of beers that span the style gamut. Current offerings include Chill Pils, a 5.5% Czech-style Pilsner, a 4.6% English Bitter Even Keeled and the 5.1% Hopfenweisse Guy. Out of stock at the time of writing is Raspberry Gose, a 4.2% fruited sour that has been a knock-out success in the summer heat. Making beer you like is one thing, but Noel is gratified that the patrons of Mississauga share his appreciation for those beverages. “We are not in a beer district that you would find in a big city. But people here are just as passionate. If they like it, they’ll tell you. And if they don’t, they’ll tell you that, too!” he laughs.

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Noel is rewarded seeing drinkers enjoy Stonehooker beers, especially the ones that previously, and exclusively, drank macro lagers.

has developed an appreciation for certain beers at your establishment, then taking that out to the broader craft beer community, is very validating.”

He says: “When someone moves from drinking a commercial lager to one of our hop-forward IPAs, it’s a great feeling. But it doesn’t happen overnight.

Fulfilling the need for a new brewery in Mississauga is one achievement Stonehooker can mark off, just as it has opened the horizons for many of its patrons’ palates, too. But a personal point of pride for Noel is the way that the brewery, through its name and branding, has honoured the area’s heritage.

“It’s our role as a brewery to engage and, where appropriate, educate the consumer on why a beer looks or tastes like it does. When a drinker understands the product, they are more likely to embrace it.” The founder also acknowledges his, and the brewery’s role in the wider beer ecosystem. “Being a gateway for people is a wonderful feeling,” he says. “Knowing that someone

Step into the brewery’s taproom and you’ll be struck by the way it honours the region’s nautical history. The schooners, which the brewery is named after, were boats that would sail along Lake Ontario way back in the mid 1800s.

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Stonehooker crews used hooks and rakes to retrieve stones from the lake-bottom and shoreline. These stones would then be sailed to Toronto for use in the foundations of buildings and also piers, roads and sidewalks. “The tradition of stonehooking in Ontario predates Confederation,” says Noel. “It was unique to Lake Ontario and there was truly

an insatiable demand for it. It was a bigger industry than people realize.” Noel feels that his brewery has had the unique privilege of bringing the story of this forgotten industry, and the skills that went with it, to the modern generation. “While we’ve researched the story, a number of visitors to our taproom have come forward

informing us of their relatives that worked in that field. Today the Stonehooker crew includes head brewer Jeremy Fehr, brewer Allen Vary, Rob Quilty in sales, Lisa Orenbach in HR, and Balan Gunaratnam as the resident IT Guru and of course Adam Cherry as Brewmaster. And we’ve just added a new server who’s great-great grandfather was a Port Credit Stonehooker.” And that crew of 25 will be needed to navigate the choppy seas that lie ahead. “As market conditions change, we are positioning ourselves for what’s next,” says Noel. “The local community has embraced us and we want to serve them. We also hope to entertain them inside when safe, too.” He adds: “The summer has been beautiful but there are colder months ahead, so we need to take stock of where our business is headed, and how we cater to everyone, going forward.” Stonehooker has received great feedback from customers of the LCBO since securing a listing for Broad Reach, and Noel hopes to build on this with listings at grocery stores and further distribution across Ontario. A drive thru setup has kept thirsty drinkers happy during the pandemic

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“Like many, we lost a lot of business overnight through the pandemic but people have responded, turned to local product and got us through,” he says. And it’s that commitment that gives him confidence for the future.

us back to our roots, to simpler times. It links the area to its history. And that has proven to be a very interesting journey so far. “It authenticates our approach, our business and our products. It’s a religion of sorts, a commitment to the customer, the area, and to ourselves.”

Noel adds: “This brewery has helped take

“As market conditions change, we are positioning ourselves for what’s next,” Ross Noel, founder of Stonehooker Brewing Company.

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FAN: IT’S WHAT BEER YEAST CRAVES MATCHING THE FAN EXTRACTED FROM YOUR GRAIN (OR ADDED AS AN ADDITIONAL NUTRIENT SUPPLEMENT) TO YOUR YEAST WILL HELP YOU DIAL IN YOUR BEER FLAVOUR AND FERMENTATION TIME - ESPECIALLY FOR THE LOW-ABV CRUSHERS THAT WE FIND OURSELVES REACHING FOR, EXPLAIN MCKENNA TOSH AND RICHARD PREISS OF ESCARPMENT LABS

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ree amino nitrogen (FAN) is a term used to describe the amount of nitrogen-containing compounds found in wort that may be metabolized by yeast during the fermentation process. FAN includes amino acids usually found in wort along with ammonia and small peptides (Hill & Stewart, 2019). Most brewers have a vague notion that FAN is important for yeast, but we feel that this is an important topic worth explaining further, as mastering the match between a yeast and its nutrition needs is one the keys to mastering fermentation.

SCIENCE

FREE AMINO NITROGEN (FAN)

In beer, an ample supply of FAN is extracted from the malts we use to make wort. Yeast use the nitrogen available in the wort for synthesizing cellular compounds such as proteins. At minimum,  130mg/L (ppm) of FAN is needed for proper yeast growth to attain optimal fermentation. Below this, yeast growth begins to lag and incomplete fermentation can occur along with sulfury off-flavours (Hill & Stewart, 2019). The figure above is data from a recent experiment we did, comparing many of our yeasts in the same wort in a “yeast cage match”. As you can see, most of the lager strains follow the ~130ppm FAN consump-

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tion rule, but many of the ale strains gobble up significantly more than that.   It is worth noting that most beer yeast fermentation research has historically been done with lager yeasts, which means that the textbook rules may not be the same ones that apply in modern craft breweries who mostly use ale yeasts. For example, most Belgian ale strains consume quite a lot of FAN (>175ppm). 

FAN AND FLAVOUR   In terms of flavour, FAN also has an impact on the flavour and aroma compounds created during fermentation. FAN directly impacts the formation of aldehydes, esters, diacetyl,  sulfur compounds, and higher alcohols (Hill & Stewart, 2019). Small differences in the FAN content in the initial wort can have a large impact in the flavour out-

INSUFFICIENT FAN CAUSES STALLED FERMENTS   Insufficient FAN is a common cause of stuck ferments, especially in non-beer fermentations such as wine, cider, and hard seltzer. Adding utilizable nitrogen is often enough to resume  fermentation of a stuck ferment.   However, there’s still more detail. Not  all amino acids have the same roles in promoting yeast growth. Glycine is known to inhibit yeast growth and fermentation, whereas others help to promote growth. Precisely which amino acids promote growth is not fully known, although some amino acids are preferred by yeast over others. (Thomas & Ingledew, 1990).  Addition of methionine was shown to inhibit yeast growth and slow fermentation whereas addition of lysine was seen to enhance yeast metabolic activity and shorten fermentation times (Lekkas et al., 2005).   LOW GRAVITY WORTS HAVE LOWER FAN

When we break this down into strains, we see that some strains consume nearly double that of others (compare Dry Belgian Ale to Mexican Lager, for example). The optimal FAN concentration in your wort varies by yeast strain. Overall the amount of FAN necessary is roughly proportional to yeast cell  growth.  An increased FAN content directly correlates with an efficient reduction of wort gravity, also the amount of FAN utilized relates to the decrease in wort pH during fermentation (Hill & Stewart, 2019).   In general,  a wort containing 180ppm of FAN will be sufficient for the vast majority of brewing yeasts you use.

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come of the final beer. Excess FAN levels have also been known to cause off-flavours like diacetyl and higher alcohols like isoamyl alcohol, propanol and isobutanol, whereas low FAN can reduce ester yields (Hill & Stewart, 2019). Excess FAN is why high-gravity, all-malt beers like DIPAs and Barleywines can be prone to issues with diacetyl and fusel alcohols where beers with sugar additions such as Belgian Tripels and Quads don’t have this issue.  Getting enough FAN to your yeasts is especially important with some of the most aromatic yeasts, such as the Saison, Belgian and Kveik groups - all with high FAN requirement, and all which will produce muted, sulfury beer if they don’t get enough FAN. 

If you asked brewers the question “Which wort should you add more nutrients to”, the typical answer to this question would be “high gravity beers”. But, let’s work through the logic: 1. FAN is extracted from grain  2. FAN extraction is roughly proportional to concentration of grain 3. Therefore, higher gravity worts are likely to have higher concentration of FAN.    As a result, we reckon that it is in fact *low gravity* worts that would benefit the most from FAN/nutrient additions. This probably also explains why we troubleshoot many more stalled, sulfury ferments when the brewer has brewed a low-gravity wort versus high-gravity worts. There’s just not enough food in low-grav worts for the yeast to be happy.  At the end of the day, that’s all we’re really doing: cooking enough food for our yeast to be happy. Nourishing the yeast.    Since we already have some data on FAN consumption by our house yeasts (above), we did a small mini-mash experiment to test the malt side of things. At Escarpment Labs, we keep an open mind about tools at our disposal for experiments. Here, an AeroPress coffee maker from the kitchen upstairs was used as a miniature mash filter to rapidly produce a bunch of different worts for this experiment. 

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ondary ferments when making sour beer. Our suggestion is that as long as the beer still has some yeast present, the bacteria and Brett can likely obtain what they need from the Saccharomyces kicking around. They’re resourceful critters.   Nitrogen overflow from yeast benefits lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and creates mutualism. This kind of mutualism is seen in many tasty fermentation environments, such as sourdough starters and mixed culture sour beers.   This overflow from yeast is needed to allow the survival of LAB. Overflow occurs in nitrogen rich communities where  Saccharomyces cerevisiae  changes its metabolism We measured the amount of grain/water used in each mini-mash, and converted all of the mini-mashes in centrifuge tubes in a water bath held at 66ºC for 1 hour followed by a 15 minute mashout step at 74ºC. Afterward, we filtered the mashes with the AeroPress, heated the worts to boiling, and measured  specific gravity and FAN of the clear, cooled wort portion.  While the data are not exactly robust (n = 1 for each treatment, and we only went up to SG 1.050), we see some trends for the different malt types we tested, including a locally-malted product (Barn Owl Pale Ale Malt). As we can see, only once the wort is up around SG 1.040 (10ºP) is there sufficient FAN (>180ppm) extracted from all three malts.   So if you’re making a low ABV Berliner, Saison, Table Beer or Session IPA, it is a good idea to add nutrients to your beer. Your DIPA probably doesn’t need FAN, but might benefit from micronutrients (more on that soon).    FAN AND MIXED FERMENTS    We’re often asked whether brewers should add nutrients to their mixed ferments/sec-

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to secrete pools of metabolites such as amino acids. Amino acid release can also happen after a yeast cell dies and undergoes autolysis. This ensures the survival of lactic acid bacteria. LABs are known to be pickier eaters, with specific amino acid and vitamin requirements. Yeast can provide these nutrients to bacteria when co-fermented.      IN CONCLUSION    Hopefully through our work, you’re able to understand a bit more about the practical needs of different yeast strains for Free Amino Nitrogen, and also what wort

strengths are typically required to hit those requirements. Matching the FAN extracted from your grain (or added as an additional nutrient supplement) to your yeast will help you dial in your beer flavour and fermentation time - especially for the low-ABV crushers that we find ourselves reaching for.   FAN isn’t the cure-all  of yeast nutrition though. Even in a wort with sufficient FAN, some yeasts can struggle. Stay tuned for more, as we dive into the micronutrient requirements of our fermentation friends.      REFERENCES:   u Brice, C., Sanchez, I., Tesnière, C., & Blondin, B. (2013). Assessing the Mechanisms Responsible for Differences between Nitrogen Requirements of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Wine Yeasts in Alcoholic Fermentation. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 80(4), 1330–1339. doi: 10.1128/aem.03856-13   u Ferreira, I. M., & Guido, L. F. (2018). Impact of Wort Amino Acids on Beer Flavour: A Review.  Fermentation,  4(2), 23. doi: 10.3390/fermentation4020023   u Hill, A., & Stewart, G. (2019). Free Amino Nitrogen in Brewing.  Fermentation,  5(1), 22. doi: 10.3390/fermentation5010022   u Lekkas, C., Stewart, G. G., Hill, A., Taidi, B., & Hodgson, J. (2005). The Importance of Free Amino Nitrogen in Wort and Beer. Technical Quarterly MBAA,  42(2), 113–116. doi: 10.1094/TQ-42-0113   u Ponomarova, O., Gabrielli, N., Sévin, D. C., Mülleder, M., Zirngibl, K., Bulyha, K., … Patil, K. R. (2017). Yeast Creates a Niche for Symbiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria through Nitrogen Overflow.  Cell Systems,  5(4). doi: 10.1016/j. cels.2017.09.002   u Thomas, K. C., & Ingledew, W. M. (1990). Fuel alcohol production: effects of free amino nitrogen on fermentation of very-high-gravity wheat mashes.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology,  56(7), 2046–2050. doi: 10.1128/aem.56.7.20462050.1990

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CRAFT BREWERS:

HOW TO RUN A PROFITABLE HOME DELIVERY BUSINESS

THE COVID-19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC THREW EVERY SMALL BUSINESS ON THE PLANET A CURVEBALL, AND CRAFT BREWERIES WERE NOT IMMUNE.

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any breweries were forced to close their retail locations and every one of them suffered from drastically reduced demand

due to shuttered restaurants and bars. This kind of unprecedented event is not something we can plan for, but it is something that tests us as business owners and entrepreneurs. It forces us to think outside the box, to be flexible and agile, and to move quickly to seize new opportunities. Over the past few months, we’ve been working with more than a hundred craft breweries across North America, helping them pivot their operation to start up or scale up home delivery. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see businesses succeed in this endeavor. Today, even as economies attempt to reopen in some capacity, there is still a big business opportunity for craft breweries to

continue doing home deliveries and even make it a permanent, and profitable part of their overall business strategy. HOME DELIVERY IS HERE TO STAY COVID-19 caused an unprecedented demand in home delivery, and this trend is here to stay according to a recent McKinsey report: “The next normal has started to emerge, with consumers indicating they will adopt long-term behavioral changes that will last beyond COVID-19. Consumers who have switched to new brands or retailers largely intend to stick with them, with almost two-thirds of consumers indicating an intent to continue.”

BREWERIES GET CRAFTY HERE ARE JUST A FEW EXAMPLES OF BUSINESSES WE WORK WITH THAT WERE QUICK TO PIVOT WHEN COVID-19 HIT. THE SPEED AND FLEXIBILITY THESE ENTREPRENEURS DEMONSTRATED ALLOWED THEM TO TURN A BAD THING INTO A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY PRETTY MUCH OVERNIGHT.

Bridge Brewing Vancouver, B.C., Canada When COVID-19 hit, Bridge Brewing made a quick pivot: they trained their sales reps

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to become home delivery drivers. Bridge Brewing was already using Routific’s route planning software to plan and optimize routes for their sales team as they visited restaurants and bars to sell their craft beers. Today, even as restaurants and bars have reopened, they are continuing to leverage Routific so their delivery drivers can deliver beer and food to households across B.C.’s lower mainland. Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider Portland, Oregon, USA Nat West is in the business of making hard cider, but he was forced to close his public taproom when COVID-19 hit. He started an online shop, signed up for​​ Routific, and within a few days, he had a home delivery business up and running.

Nat plans to continue doing home deliveries even as his local economy re-opens. Today, he’s able to make more than 240 home deliveries a day, with 90% same-day fulfillment thanks to Routific’s software. Your Private Bar Des Moines, Idaho, USA Business went down to zero for Your Private Bar, a mobile bar and bartending service, when COVID-19 hit. Owner Amber Cooper quickly pivoted to first deliver wine gift baskets to people’s homes. Later, she created an online store via Shopify where she sold a variety of spirits, including craft beer from Confluence Brewing. She used Routific to plan and optimize her deliveries, and the business very quickly scaled from 0 sales to 200 orders.

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Nevertheless, the competition amongst craft breweries that offer home delivery services is fierce. Breweries need to be especially careful in monitoring the costs associated with managing a delivery service, and potential inefficiencies in their supply chain methodologies if they intend to stay in the game. In this article, I’ll share a few tactics that can help craft breweries with little to no “lastmile” experience operate a sustainable and even profitable home delivery business in a post-pandemic world. OK, SO WHAT IS THIS “LAST-MILE”? Today’s consumer wants their deliveries to arrive as soon as possible. Last-mile delivery is the act of getting a product from the closest hub or warehouse to its final destination, which includes both businesses and private homes. Managing the last mile can be costly, accounting for up to one-third of the total cost of a product, according to a report from Business Insider. In some cases, it can account for more than half of overall shipping costs. It can also be the most inefficient part of the entire delivery process, and can make the difference between a profitable venture or a money-losing business.

Here’s an image to illustrate the importance of good route planning: Source: Image courtesy of Routific

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SO, IF YOU’RE CONVINCED HOW IMPORTANT MANAGING YOUR LAST MILE IS, LET’S MOVE ONTO SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU GET THAT DELIVERY BUSINESS UP AND RUNNING. 1. PLAN YOUR ROUTES WISELY After you’ve set up your online shop, and orders start rolling in, how do you plan your delivery routes? Everyone wants to plan “organized” and “efficient” delivery routes, but that’s really a subjective term, isn’t it? So here’s something indisputable: You want to make sure your routes are the most cost-effective for your business.

drive time and fuel, resulting in extremely thin margins and potentially even a money-losing business. It’s really important to keep this in mind. If your delivery business is just starting out, and you have just a handful of orders, Google Maps is your best bet. It’s free and easy to use. Just note that you’ll need to plot the addresses into the software, and then manually move the stops around until it looks like you have the most efficient route.

How do you go about doing that? Many people think Google Maps can help you do this, but that’s not quite right. Google Maps is amazing at helping people find the shortest distance or fastest time from one point to another. But when it comes to planning delivery routes for a business, the key to efficient route planning is to sequence orders so you deliver as many goods as possible in the least amount of time. If you have multiple drivers, you’ll need to decide how to split the routes in the most efficient way. Poorly planned routes – or worse, not planned at all – can lead to a lot of wasted

When you get to about 25 orders in a day, that’s when you might consider trying route optimization software. Route optimization software can help you sequence a large number of stops in the optimal order, and account for a range of complexities like delivery time windows, vehicle capacities and driver schedules. Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. uses route optimization software daily to help their drivers spend less time on the road, and more time “servicing the account” – building relationships with their partners and consumers, and making sure people are happy with their products.

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2020 Routific app Source: Image courtesy of Routific

3. MONITOR YOUR COST PER DELIVERY Lastly, let’s talk a bit about dollars and cents. How much does it cost you to fulfill each delivery order?

“Route optimization software has eliminated the morning chaos we used to have,” said Dennis Slater, logistics manager at Phillips. “There’s no more guesswork. We’re able to route multiple trucks easily, with great visibility. And we can share the daily routes with other internal teams easily.” Manual route planning is an epic waste of time and resources, and you don’t want to be left scrambling when your delivery business gains some traction. If you feel reluctant about having to adopt yet another piece of software, I can assure you that you’ll have a big return on your time investment right away. Good route optimization software should only take roughly 30 minutes to set up (depending on your familiarity with software in general) and will result in immediate ROI. 2. SHOW CUSTOMERS YOU CARE Now that you’ve created the perfect route plan, it needs to be executed. If you’re starting off with your first delivery runs, I would recommend that you do the deliveries yourself. This way you get to experience what it’s like, and when you hire and train drivers, you’ll know what to teach them. After a few rounds of deliveries, and the order volumes are growing beyond your ability to handle by yourself, it would make sense to hire delivery drivers or get external contractors to help you out. A lot of breweries have signed up with third-party delivery companies like Skip the Dishes and DoorDash. It’s convenient

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to do this because these companies already have their delivery logistics – plenty of drivers waiting in the wings – and the technology – easy-to-use apps – figured out. All you have to do is sign up to be a partner, really. But these online ordering platforms take a hefty commission; as much as 20% in some cases. And you’re losing out on the chance to connect with your customers as a brand. Remember: the delivery experience is also an opportunity to add a personal touch to really go the extra mile. Beer Van is a collective of seven family-owned Vancouver craft breweries and beverage producers that banded together to form a delivery service during COVID-19. The service allows customers to place orders from different breweries, and everything is delivered at once. Beer Van trained brewery employees who would otherwise be out of work to be their delivery drivers. And what makes their delivery service special is how much those new delivery drivers pay attention to special delivery instructions left by customers. In one recent delivery, the Beer Van delivery driver was able to wish someone a happy birthday upon dropping off their beers. Another driver made sure to slow down to 5 km/h on a small residential street, just as the customer had asked, to watch for young children in the area. Those little gestures really go a long way.

After your first month of running your delivery operation, you should know the answer to that question. I assume that you’re already familiar with the concept of calculating gross margins, but don’t ignore or underestimate the cost of fulfilling your order and making the delivery. Your production cost aside, your cost per delivery is often the largest cost driver in your unit economics. It’s also one you can improve upon significantly by paying attention to something called your route density. To calculate your route density, you’ll need to ask yourself the following questions: u Delivery volume: How many orders do I need to deliver per day? u Delivery area: What geographic areas do I deliver to? u Delivery days: What days of the week do I offer home delivery? u Delivery time windows: What time of the day do I offer home delivery? Optimizing these four factors will help you run your business more efficiently and profitably. If you’re interested to dive deeper, we’ve shared concrete tactics on how to improve your route density and lower your cost-per-delivery in this free guide. We published this free ebook recently to help how small businesses launch and scale a delivery service profitably. I hope you find it helpful – cheers and good luck! About the Author: Suzanne Ma is a co-founder at Routific, a route optimization solution for delivery businesses. Routific works with hundreds of craft breweries around the world, saving them time, money, and fuel. in the world.

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ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PAPER-BASED PACKAGING HELPING PUT YOUR BREWERY’S STORY ON PAPER IN A WORLD WHERE GOING PAPERLESS IS THE TREND, PAPER-BASED PACKAGING HAS BECOME THE MANUFACTURER’S MOST VALUABLE TOOL AMID AN ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS, EXPLAINS LAURA PARLAGRECO, VICE PRESIDENT OF ASTRO BOX CORPORATION.

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t was the onset of 2020, the even numbered year conjured visions of clarity and focus for the new decade ahead. Buzzwords like sustainability and environmental impact were being used when companies and brands were setting their strategic goals. Just when environmental consciousness was gaining momentum, a pandemic emerged and tackled countless industries. Personal protective equipment temporarily became the number one priority of companies, yet the evidence is literally piling up, in landfills and in our oceans, that we’re still facing a global environmental crisis. Some brands quickly reverted to seemingly more hygienic options of single-use plastics, leaving behind the environmental initiatives the 21st century fought so hard to normalize. Now more than ever, consumers and businesses alike need to consider paper as a sustainable packaging option because this ongoing environmental crisis will linger long after a global health crisis fades.

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Paper might not be what comes to mind when you think about sustainable packaging and that’s due, in large part, to the fact that misinformation is plentiful when it comes to paper products and the forestry industry. If we had a nickel for every time we read “Save a tree, don’t print this email”, we wouldn’t need a sales team. The truth is, paper making is a lot more complex and there are a lot of great resources like Resource Canada’s annual State of Canada’s Forests Report where businesses and consumers can educate themselves on forestry in Canada. Did you know Canada is a leader when it comes to sustainably managed forests and that over 1,000 seedlings are planted every minute in Canada? Would it also surprise you to learn that the harvest and re-growth rate is currently balanced, which means we’re actually maintaining the status quo? When it comes to paper used for packaging, less than 0.02% of Canadian forests are harvested in order to manufacture it. You read that right, not even 1% is used to make paper packaging. No matter how digitized and technical our society becomes, paper will always have a place in our lives. It’s key to know, the industry is operating in a way that ensures longevity and sustainability. Not only is paper made from a renewable resource, it’s recyclable and in most cases, compostable. In fact, some municipalities in Canada only compost their paper waste! As society regains its footing amid a global health conflict, it is reassuring to know that the paper-packaging industry will not give up the fight against an environmental crisis that will continue to plague us in the future if we become blind to it in the present. Many paper-based packaging manufacturers, including Astro Box Corporation, are proud members of the Paper and Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council, a not for profit group dedicated to educating the public on the environmental merits of paper-based packaging. On their website, www.ppec-paper.

com you’ll find information, statistics, and fact sheets on the state of forestry in Canada, how paper packaging is made, and the importance of recycling. Whether it is for cereal, facial tissue, light bulbs or beer, paper packaging gives businesses an attractive and safe vehicle to get their product to the consumer. Take a paper-based six pack beer carrier, for instance; it helps brewers, like yourself, get four, six, or eight bottles or cans of your custom brew safely home to your customer. It doesn’t hurt that the carrier is also custom printed with your brewery’s history, your social media details, and maybe even some photos of your team. Like any other business, breweries have stories to tell and a unique brand to share with the world. Perhaps you want potential customers to know how you got your start, your unique brewing methods, or most importantly, what sets you apart from the brewery down the street. A carrier isn’t just a handy piece of packaging; it’s over 200 square inches of blank canvas waiting to be filled with your story! With high quality printing and its durable construction, a paper-based beer carrier ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to picking the right packaging for your brewery. When your customers are done with the carriers, they can reuse them, recycle them, or even stick them in the compost. Your beer packaging’s life doesn’t end with the consumer! Custom Drink Carriers is the beverage packaging division of Astro Box Corporation. Over the last four decades, we’ve maintained our commitment to provide quality, sustainable packaging to businesses across North America. If your post-pandemic action plan involves exploring the marketing opportunities paper-based beverage packaging can offer while still being a sustainable choice, our team is here for you.

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KEGGING 101 A

cross North America Brewers FOR OVER 200 YEARS were blindsided by COVID-19 and the resulting decimation BEER LOVING MEN of their keg sales practically AND WOMEN overnight. Almost 6 months later, tap rooms, bars and restaurants are EVERYWHERE HAVE beginning to open their doors to an eager cautious public who are thirsty for the LOOKED TO DRAUGHT and social connection that draught beer can WHEN SEEKING OUT help create. Brewers are restarting keg cleaning and filling equipment, often seen THE FRESHEST as a workhorse hidden back in the cellar. to fresh eyes, perhaps its time to examAND MOST ENJOYABLE But ine the quality, efficiency, and safety of your PINT, STEIN, GOBLET, kegging equipment knowing that a competitive edge could be valuable in an even OR HORN OF BEER. more competitive landscape. The following may serve to guide your next investment. DRAUGHT IS STILL GENERALLY PROCESS REGARDED AS THE Since kegs leave your brewery and your CLOSEST VERSION care many times, it’s important that the first step in any keg cleaning and filling process OF A BEER TO MATCH includes safety checks to confirm if any has occurred that may make fillTHE BREWMASTER’S damage ing unsafe, or hinder the quality of the next ORIGINAL VISION. beer. A residual pressure check with sterile air will detect any leaks or damage to the ALTHOUGH THERE ARE keg or keg valve, and should reject the keg that chemicals or heat are not applied TECHNICAL REASONS so until the issue is resolved and it is safe to THIS CAN BE TRUE, continue. Once the keg passes a residual pressure check, sterile air should be apMUCH OF DRAUGHT plied to fully discharge any residual liquid in the keg. BEER’S INFAMY safe, each of the following 4 cleanEXISTS BECAUSE OF One ing cycles should follow a common patTHE RITUAL, SOCIAL tern. The keg should be positioned upside-down. First, the cleaning medium is EXPERIENCE, AND ATMOSPHERE IT CAN CREATE. TODAY AND THE DAYS AHEAD MAY PROVE TO BE SOME OF THE MOST CRUCIAL FOR BREWERS TO PROVE THE WORTH OF THEIR KEGGED BEER.

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applied and recirculated with high pressure to the keg valve so it flows through the spear and along the inside walls of the keg. Second, the pressure is reduced significantly so that the cleaning medium flows up the spear and overflows on to the outside walls of the spear. Third, a counter flow procedure should be used to thoroughly contact all surfaces within the keg valve. Finally, the keg should be fully discharged with sterile air and depressurized. These 4 steps will ensure complete contact of every surface in the keg with each cleaning cycle and cleaning medium.

RINSE: The first cleaning cycle rinses the keg with Mix Water to remove any excess dirt or materials. Using a combination of fresh and recycled water from the previous keg clean will significantly reduce water consumption. Mix water can also be used in an external keg washer to further reduce consumption.

CAUSTIC: The second cleaning cycle recirculates a heated Caustic solution to fully clean the keg of all organic contaminants. The solution is stored and reused in the Caustic Tank so its strength can be tested and adjusted if necessary, rather than being dumped to the drain. This will ensure each clean is completed properly as well as significantly reduce water and chemical waste. When Caustic recirculation is completed, the keg is rinsed with fresh water, that will be sent to the Mix Tank.

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ACID: Although the Caustic cycle will ensure organic contaminants are removed, the next step is paramount to remove beer stone; calcium deposits that form on the inside surface of the keg because of precipitation from the beer overtime. The fourth cleaning cycle recirculates Acid through the keg, ensuring all surfaces are free of any form of organic or mineral contamination. The solution is stored and reused in the Acid Tank to ensure accurate cleans and reduce waste. When Acid recirculation is completed, the

keg is rinsed with fresh water that will be sent to the Mix Tank.

STEAM: In the fourth and final cleaning cycle steam should be introduced to ensure a perfectly sterile environment for your incoming beer. Steam is the absolute best way to ensure all keg surfaces and components are sterilized, and it does not require the use of additional chemicals. Steam should reach a consistent internal temperature of 110

Degrees Celsius (230 Fahrenheit) to ensure perfect sterility. This translates to significant chemical and water savings, as well as a superior sterilization compared to any other option.

FILLING It is often overlooked, but the detailed safety, cleaning, sterilizing, and recovery steps previously outlined are among the most vital in the total kegging operation. No matter the quality of your beer or filling process, if any of the prior steps are not completed to a high standard, it is unlikely your draught beer will meet a high standard. Now that we have a perfectly prepared sterile keg, it is nearly ready to receive beer. First, any steam condensate should be removed by introducing high pressure food grade CO2. The CO2 will also remove any oxygen that may be present. A proper kegging system should allow you to preset the pressure you apply and leave in the keg that will match the required pressure determined by the specifications of the beer you are filling. Now that the keg is fully prepared to receive beer, the kegging system should control the beer flow rate so the keg is filled efficiently, and the beer’s CO2 content is not modified. A 50L keg should take no more 60 seconds to fill.

QUALITY, EFFICIENCY AND SAFETY By now you can see that the keg cleaning and filing process is not an overly complicated one but is diligent and detailed leaving little room for error. By using the right equipment you can ensure that your cleaning, sterilizing, and filling process are all completed to a safe and high standard, and the beer that your customers enjoy on draught will in fact represent the Brewmaster’s original intent. Beneficially, including a 4 vessel CIP System such as the one shown here will help improve the quality of each step as well as significantly reduce water, chemical, energy, and time waste. By investing in high quality kegging equipment you are investing in your brewery’s own goals, improving quality, efficiency and safety. Author: Steve Grundy, Founder & CEO of Top 5 Solutions

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TAPPTEK CONNECT THE DOTS AS A DISTRIBUTOR, YOU’LL KNOW WHAT BEER YOU’RE SELLING AND WHO YOU’RE SELLING IT TO. BUT THAT’S WHERE IT STOPS. HOWEVER, NEW CUTTINGEDGE PATENTED TECHNOLOGY FROM TAPPTEK TRANSFORMS EXISTING BEER TAPS INTO DEVICES THAT PROVIDE ESSENTIAL, REALTIME AND ACCURATE INFORMATION IN AN EASY TO UNDERSTAND FORMAT. HERE’S HOW THEY DO IT.

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ne day, Jamie Robinson had an epiphany.

“As I stared at a sea of competing beer taps which all looked different but functioned the same. It struck me that since Prohibition there had been virtually no technological advancement in the beer tap,” he recalls. “I’m proud to say that today we have created that innovation.”

In founding Tapptek, the company’s CEO has done just that.

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Robinson had had enough of being greeted walls of “dumb taps” - devices restricted and limited in their ability. He wanted to create a way in which these taps could work more for beer distributors. It’s one thing selling and supplying that beer but for many, that’s where the dialogue comes to an end. “Put simply, there is no scalable ontrade premise data out there,” says

James Keane, chief product officer at Tapptek. “Scales fitted to kegs are difficult to maintain while the addition of flowmeters can compromise the quality of the beer.” He adds: “We wanted to create a scalable draught solution that can inform a distributor as to what beer is pouring, in what volumes and at what time of day. And we’ve done that. It’s the only truly, universal, scalable solution that exists across the globe.”

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Tapptek’s patented technology transforms existing beer taps into devices that provide essential, real-time and accurate information in an easy to understand format. For decades brewers, retailers and distributors have been largely disconnected from consumer purchase behaviour - with billions of daily transactions not being captured and utilized. Tapptek solves that problem by turning those “dumb” taps into devices that distribute data with every pour.

to the point of purchase, and with the insights on how that brand performs at that particular account, in that particular part of the account, on that hour of the day, that day of the week, and that month of the year. “With these insights we will be able to provide a consumer activation platform that lots of brands dream of, but to-date nobody has ever successfully deployed.”

“The technology captures which location it’s installed in, which tap bank it’s located on and even which tap it’s fitted to,” explains Keane. “It’ll also inform you when it’s installed or uninstalled.”

Both Robinson and Keane have a strong pedigree in the world of beer, and beyond. The former has more than two decades’ experience in sports and entertainment marketing as well as overseeing the national marketing for Pilsner Urquell.

“With these insights we will be able to provide a consumer activation platform that lots of brands dream of, but to-date nobody has ever successfully deployed,” James Keane, chief product officer, Tapptek.

Keane ran the global technology innovation program for ABInBev. He was also a founding partner of the their corporate venture capital team ZX Ventures.

He adds: “Not only that, it monitors how much beer is pouring to 1/16th of a second. Is that beer being poured in a pint? A pitcher, perhaps? You’ll know… “Our technology can inform a brand when a consumer approaches within 30 feet one of their tap handles, prior

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And now together, through Tapptek, they’re seeking to disrupt the $300 billion global draft beer and $1 trillion fountain beverage industries through its data analytics platform. On a physical level, tiny, long-lasting IoT-enabled smart tap devices seamlessly integrate into existing drink taps will provide that accurate, actionable data at a reasonable cost.

The company has opted against selling their technology to the consumer. Instead, they provide the device that transforms a tap into a smart tap free of charge and offer the distributor a monthly subscription package, which allows them to access the wealth of data collected by the tap handle. This option, the duo say, equates to the costs of less than a beer each month. Our product and the data it will provide at scale has garnered lots of support and goodwill, says Keane. “Our product development is near completion and we are humming along incredibly nicely as we gear up to launch.” With that in mind, Tapptek already has patents for its technology issued in Australia, Russia, South America and, of course, Canada. “We are very much interested in speaking to partners in Canada and look forward to working with them,” says Robinson. Keane adds: “With new technology you need to solve a problem, you need to have a desirable product and you need to ask yourself are people ready for it. We firmly believe we have all of those with Tapptek.”

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THE

MAGAZINE

FOR

THE

HOMEBREWING

ENTHUSIAST

BREW 4.0

HOMEBREWING The sector, reimagined


SUMMER 2020

CONTENTS

Homebrewer focus In this edition we look at two focus participants that bring THE homebrew table a total of 47 YEARS’ experience, which certainly shines though in not only their stories, but in their equipment as well

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Brew Sheets The recipes for Bobby Smith’s “Extraordinary” Bitter and Chad Takahashi’s “Badlands” IPA courtesy of the brewers themselves

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Indigenous Brewing Mark Solomon’s story is not the “Indigenous experience in beer” rather one Indigenous person’s experience in and with beer

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Gadget Corner The original idea for the founder of Oktober Design was to build a can seamer specifically for homebrewers, and he has finally accomplished that goal. Here we take a closer look at a product that knows what a can seamer absolutely needs, and what it can live without

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From Janes and Joes to all-out Pros Being a homebrewer pushes your creativity into overdrive. Here, Scott Denyer, head brewer at Ottawa’s Dominion City shares his own experience.

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“Strange Days”

Strange Days” is a term that is rapidly  approaching overused since spring of this  year. It’s right up there with “New normal”. Both are largely driven by the new pandemic affected world we all live in, and the long overdue uprising against systemic prejudice against people of color. In such an unnerving  climate, we could only benefit from a reminder that the Craft and Homebrewing community continues to strive to be inclusive, and welcoming to all walks of life.  «All my relations» is an Indigenous term used at the beginning  or end of a statement that indicates the speaker’s acknowledgement of their relationship with all things. Not only immediate  friends and family, but the extended relationship to all of nature’s gifts.   Our feature story in this edition of Brew4.0 titled INDIGENOUS HOMEBREWING: NAVIGATING COMPLEX IDENTITES is the story of 45 year old Indigenous Homebrewer  Mark  Soloman’s journey into a hobby and industry he is passionate about, and how he overcame stereotype  driven trepidation to engage, positively affect and educate the industry. If you would like to learn more, or join Mark for his Indigenous Brew Days on September 20th 2020, please send a note to his email address found at the end of his article. The Brew Day will be hosted on Zoom, Wild Rice (which has significant Indigenous roots) will be the focus ingredient, and of course all are welcome.

Cheers! (Follow Us On Instagram @brew4.0)

From Janes and Jones to all-out Pros

Scott Denyer, head brewer at Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing shares his own home brewing experience and how they’ve shaped his professional life.

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BREWING BRILLIANCE: IN OUR OWN WORDS THERE IS OVER 47 YEARS OF HOMEBREWING EXPERIENCE BETWEEN OUR FOCUS PARTICIPANTS IN THIS EDITION, AND IT CERTAINLY SHINES THOUGH IN NOT ONLY THEIR STORIES, BUT IN THEIR EQUIPMENT AS WELL. BREWER #1 IS VERY DO IT YOURSELF (DIY) AND BREWER # 2 IS ADMITTEDLY NOT. THAT IS 100% FINE. WE COULD ALL TAKE DIFFERENT ROUTES AND STILL LAND AT THE SAME DESTINATION.

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alf the fun is in the journey and everyone’s path will  be different as long as we all have different abilities, preferences, budgets, etc. And everyone’s  journey  should  be different  or else we wouldn’t have anything to read or write about in @Brew4.0

Chad Takahashi

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@chadtakahashi Lethbridge, Alberta Member of  Badlands Brew Club Medicine Hat Homebrewing for 12 years

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had a friend who made some homemade wine and beer when I was in Yellowknife. He did extract and dextrose kits which is what I tried the first few times. After having hit and miss results with bottle conditioning I gave up for a while. Cost of alcohol was my initial motivation to make beer.

Later on my father in law gave me a couple of corney kegs and it changed my life. The ability to hit my carbonation and my lack of patience changed my outlook. Now I can experiment with new styles and recipes without having to wait the extra time bottle conditioning to see the results. Also I enjoy kegging so that I can see how a beer evolves over time.

I won an award for a my Witbier that I make for my wife. It tied for third, I have only entered a couple of competitions the last year that I lived in Medicine Hat.

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My system is an electric 1/2 bbl 3 Vessel HERMS. My controller is a homemade raspberry Pi craftbeer system, a hybrid of an electric brewery and Pi. I decided to go electric because I wanted to brew indoors in the winter.

In my cellar I have a 15 gallon homemade glycol chiller and one 1/2 bbl Unitank SS Brewtech Conical Fermenter

My system is tiered and very compact. My brew house, fermenter, glycol chiller and keg fridge, that fits 6 corney kegs, fits on a 10’ wall and is only 26” deep.

My equipment has progressed from the largest pot in my kitchen, to an 8 gallon kettle doing steeped grains on an electric oven in the garage. That quickly changed to an igloo doing a full mash. After that I bought some pumps and created my first HERMS that was somewhat manual. After a couple years of that I totally renovated my garage to dedicate most of it to brewing. I ran that setup for a couple years until we decided to move towns for career growth. I have been sitting on all that equipment for 1 1/2 years until I finally had time to set up the new brewery in our new home.     My favorite part about homebrewing is that the people in the community are great. Most are eager to help or give advice. Going to breweries and talking with brewmasters and owners and having a true appreciation for the craft. Also I find it funny even though I have few followers on instagram how often people recognize me just from posting!

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CHAD’S SETUP Thoughts

on Chad

Every homebrewer wishes they had someone with Chads capabilities in their inner circle. I am lucky enough to have one, and bartering his panel work and code design for miscellaneous sanitary welding has improved my processes, and in turn my liquid, by leaps and bounds. We only have so much real estate in Brewers Journal Canada so I couldn’t include all the great pics

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Chad sent us but I urge all interested parties to reach out to @chadtakahashi  on Instagram and ask him for pics of his Control Panel and/or his DIY Chiller builds. Oh, and  did I mention that the American Homebrewers Association has published him as well? www.homebrewersassociation.org/pimpmy-system/how-to-build-a-herms-lid/  

During our correspondence Chad refereed to his Homebrew Journey after his 1st wort as going “down the rabbit hole”. Most of us reading this know what he means by that statement. This hobby has a way of grabbing hold of you, and it can be really interesting to look back on what equipment you started brewing on, and compare it to the equipment you have built, bought, or bastardized over your years or brewing.  

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Scott Hilts

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@canadiansockmonkey Port Elgin, Ontario  Member of True Grist Homebrew Club Homebrewing for 35 years

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honestly can’t remember how I was introduced to Homebrewing, although I started with Charlie Papazian’s The Complete Joy of Home Brewing, used Labatt’s quart bottles, used wine buckets and Coopers Kits. It was probably awful stuff, but hey - I made it. The ‘normal’ recipe in the 80s was a can of extract, and a bag of sugar. I remember writing in my notes “substituting a second can of extract for the sugar tastes better, but is expensive’. Options were very limited then, whereas now is the golden age of homebrewing.   I think what makes this hobby fun is that there is something for everyone. For example, I am not a DIY guy, so my retired father-in-law was pretty excited to build my control panel (and excited about the end product). The parts I enjoy the most are the community (there are a lot of very friendly homebrewers) and the cool science. But you can hate the science and still enjoy it.   

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A couple of years ago I started entering some of my brew and got a few awards, but to be honest it kind of messed up my brewing schedule. I found myself rushing to brew for particular deadlines, and for me that took some of the fun out of it. I want to brew when I feel like it, not when I have to! I can check a gold medal off my bucket list, but I think I can going to stick to just entering if I happen to have the right beer sitting around. I have started judging, and it is a lot of fun. It is great to be able to taste a few examples of the same style in a row, and again - it is a great excuse to hang out with fellow homebrewers and talk about beer!   I have a 3 vessel system in my furnace room There is a 5500 watt element in both my 15 gallon HLT and 20 gallon BK, and I recently retired my cooler mash tun and replaced it with a 30 gallon stainless tun for no-sparge. That has knocked some time off of my brew day. After a good tax year I recently switched from carboys to a 17 gallon conical. Not cheap, but I don’t regret it at all. It makes kegging much easier. It sits in an old stand up freezer, so I can control temps well.   I was given a tiny freezer that just fits 3 cornys from a friend, and it is my lagering chamber. The finished beer goes into an old fridge I converted with taps through the door. What I am more excited about is the beer engine I recently picked up, although I have yet to install it. If you haven’t yet had a ‘pint’ from a beer engine, add this to your

bucket list. This is an often ignored style that is amazingly crushable. My Son and I took a quick trip to Burton Upon Trent, arguably THE shrine of Bitter and English Ales. There is nothing like sitting in an old pub, nursing a pint knowing that with the lower alcohol and carbonation you can keep at it all night. I started with a small pot on a stove, and when we moved into a house upgraded to a cooler mash tun. The reason I now have a 15, 20 and 30 gallon kettle is because of expansion each time I changed my brewery. I quickly found that 10 gallons didn’t take much more than 5, then 15 not much more than 10. I don’t think I will move to a full barrel though, although it is tempting. It is hard to pick one favorite Homebrewing memory. Every time friends or family join me brewing is awesome. It is also nice when someone tries homebrew for the first time, and that scrunched up face is replaced by ‘wow, this is actually good’.  

Thoughts on Scott There are sock monkeys that share my residence and I can guarantee  you that not one has won gold medals at a prestigious homebrew competition. Slackers! Scott’s stories have everything we all hope to have after three decades in the Homebrew game.

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Brewhouse equipment upgrades Check! Cellar upgrades - Check! Changing peoples perception of Homebrew quality one scrunched face at a time - Check!

Recently I was lucky enough to put in a few shifts judging at the Canadian Brewing Awards. When I got home from a double shift my buddy brought over a howler of his new Robust Porter that he was excited to share with me and if I’m being honest it was better than 95% of the professionally

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crafted brews I had been sipping out of little plastic cups all day. Changing peoples perception of homebrew is without a doubt as fun and motivating as any other aspect of brewing.

In conclusion Some great stuff from some great people. I’d like to thank these 2 Canadian Homebrewing OG’s for participating in this editions Focus: Homebrewing. Be sure to check out Chad and Scott’s recipes on pages 62 & 63

and if you give them a try be sure to drop us a note and let us know how it went.

If you are, or you know of, an industrious homebrewer that is unique or innovative in their processes and would be interested in being in a future edition of Focus: Homebrewing please reach out to me @brew4.0 on Instagram.

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TRY THEM YOURSELF... Bobby

r

y Bitte r a in d r o a r t x E Smith’s BREW STATS IBU 29

ch Size: 21 litres

SRM 10.7

Bat

68% Mash Efficiency utes Boil Time 60 min

1.038 Estimated OG: 10 Estimated FG: 1.0 3.7% Estimated ABV:

HOPS

320g Crystal 80 alt 320g Victory M YEAST

glish Ale I - I love Escarpment En yle! yeast for this st

il

ll bo rn brewer for fu he rt no g 19 : ng Bitteri at flameout Aroma: 10g EKG

FERMENTABLES 3 kg Maris Otter

this

WATER DETAILS d for Lake Huron, an My water is from ion for de-chlorinat pt ce ex pe ci this re er is too Arguably my wat . it h uc to t n’ I do tic, but eas to be authen ar l ra ve se in w lo it works for me.

DETAILS MASH AND BOIL do a single d for this beer an , es ut in m 60 I boil (67C) perature mash m te g in dl id m infusion at a at 19C, and ge. I ferment it and batch spar oler. of weeks a bit co le up co a r fo n conditio crash with no need to cold ly te ni fi de is e Ther this yeast!

ere is nothing th t s e S T n o N E h e M b M O C ut to simple style. er-up to BOS, b n ry n e v ru a a s is a it w e e c ip g, sin This rec elf or my brewin s it e ip Burton Upon c g re in e d lu th c t in u o d b n a la l g in En specia s end a few days p s to ifferent version h d g y u n o a n e m y g k in c k lu n s ri I wa ith d vour. we fell in love w d n a , n o l but full of fla S o h y o m lc h a it w w o t /l n n o re T nati , y are low carbo e h T r. te it tre of attention b n e ry c a e th e b of ordin to as oesn’t always h d r e e b n io . in p o In my e conversation th f o rt a p e b t n jus sometime it ca

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Chad Takahashi’

s Badlands IPA

BREW STATS american IPA all grain 17.00 ga l  ABV 5.93%

MALT 24 lbs 2 Row 9 lbs Pilsner 3lbs Munich 3 lbs Flaked Oats

OG 1.06 SG FG 1.015 SG IBUs 54 Colour 7.1 SRM HOP SCHEDULE 2 oz centennial 60 min 3 oz Cascade 15 minutes 3 oz chinook 15 minutes 1 oz citra 15 min utes 3 oz citra flame out 33 g of US - 05

yeast

COMMENTS This recipe I hav e brewed many times. It started kit for OBK (On as my first IPA tario beer kegs). all grain It was the west it’s still a kit th c o a st IPA, I believe at they sell. As my love of hops hop additions to evolved I tweak get a nice blend ed the o f d a nk and citrus to I have been bac suit my palate. k and forth on M unich malt VS c attributes that ry stal 40 they both I like. Munich se have ems to pull bac the hops shine. k and add colou Crystal 40 adds r and let sweetness and that traditiona a m o u th feel that ma l west coast tas ke te. I believe my n halve the Munic e xt a d ju stment will be to h and top up wit h Crystal 40. Th hobby, things a a t’ s the beauty of re ever evolving this .

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INDIGENOUS HOMEBREWING

NAVIGATING COMPLEX IDENTITES “MANY HAVE A COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP WITH ALCOHOL, BUT IT BECOMES A LITTLE CHALLENGING WHEN YOU ARE INDIGENOUS, MORE COMPLICATED WHEN YOU START TO MAKE ALCOHOL.”

AUTHOR: MARK SOLOMON

A

anii (Hello) my name is Mark Solomon. I am a proud member of Henvey Inlet First Nation (near Sudbury, ON). I have a complicated relationship with alcohol, some of you will have a similar story. Let me tell you mine. My parents divorced when I was a baby. My father, who is Indigenous, has struggled with his sexual identity, and his race. Growing up in a time where it was easier to be white and straight, than Indigenous and gay. Most of my family is very light skinned and white passing. We were afforded the privilege to walk in either the Indigenous or non-Indigenous world, never feeling completely accepted by either. My father became addicted to alcohol and has lived a very at-risk life style. When he was functioning, he was a steel worker, when not, he was living on government assistance in transitional housing. I have never really talked to my father about any of this as well, we don’t talk and never have. In the last 5 years I have only known he is alive as my daughter gets packages for birthdays and Christmases, filled with random items, however those packages have stopped about a year ago. Growing up I lived with the threat of “don’t be like your father”. I took that to mean don’t drink, if you do you will be addicted. Then university, I discovered I like beer. I went to a Northern Ontario university, lived in a hard drinking Residence. I found out eventually that I was one of

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three Indigenous people in the residence building. I knew about them, before I met them. There was a tradition of having a nick name. Both of their nicknames were racial, as eventually was mine. There were mythical stories of how much we could drink. This is when I understood that racial identity, specifically being Indigenous, and alcohol are woven into a hurtful stereotype. The people who gave us those names, lived in communities with little to no contact with Indigenous peoples. These stereotypes were not based upon a lived experience but rather a taught one. Years later, professionally, I would go to huge national conferences. My work would send me, usually there was only a dozen Indigenous people at these conferences of over 800 people. Traditionally, the last night of the conference was a banquet and dance. There was another dance happening at the Indigenous table. Know that the Indigenous people were not assigned to a table by themselves but we had formed a strong bond, based upon a shared lived experience. The dance that was happening at our table was, “are we all ok to drink here”? This question is multilayered. Surface level…. Is there anyone here who is struggling with alcohol? Should we all abstain to support that person? Next layer…Are there elders or traditional people here? Within Indigenous traditions it is respectful to elders and traditional people to abstain. Final layer, will the hundreds of other conference guests judge us (the Indigenous table) for drinking.

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websites, and they looked fun. Yet, I didn’t see myself ever going to any of their meetings. I did volunteer at a couple of events, the president and event coordinators welcomed me and I was thankful.

I have been privileged to attend many of these conferences, I am even the current President of one of these associations, I still have these questions running through my head, 10 years later. I notice that no other table has those discussion or thoughts as bottles of wine are being passed around, enjoying the privilege of not worrying about what others think of your drinking. I came to enjoy craft beer. I liked that these little breweries were supporting their community, building community on social media. I really thought this was something great. Craft beer spoke to me. Supporting local, trying new things. When I first started in craft beer I didn’t have an appreciation for the beer rather the community and hometown flavor of the breweries. Then I started to like the variety of beer.

I still do not feel at home those clubs, and I do not attend. I started to feel as though I was a singularity in beer, until twitter. I follow many of my favourite breweries on social media, they are not as fun as they used to be but at least I know when a beer releases and events are happening. One event caught my eye, a talk about Beer Diversity by Ren Navarro. I instantly followed Ren on various social media platforms, I was not able to go to her talks but saw how she built community with other people like me who thought they were singularities. I worked up the courage to email her. Things have not been the same since. I told Ren that I hid in the beer world not sure what people would think of an Indigenous brewer. Not sure how I would be received. She immediately replied with empathy and built my courage. I was lamenting on social media to Ren, then Jason Tremblay, from Shacklands brewing, got into our conversation and invited me/us for a brew day. On my way into Shacklands I saw my first ever land acknowledgement. I had seen a lot of pride flags in breweries but never a land acknowledgement.

I am still home brewing and loving it. I am trying to be a better brewer. Trying to make space for Indigenous peoples in the beer community. I am very thankful for all who are guiding my way and welcoming me. I hope that in the future I can welcome more people to this community as I have been welcomed.

If you would like to chat more about involving Indigenous people in beer, please drop me a line at: markjsolomon@gmail.com

That complex relationship arose for me again, could an Indigenous person be in beer? Is it taboo? I didn’t see ANY Indigenous peoples in beer. I packed all of that away. I did what anyone who starts home brewing does, goes to Youtube and become an expert!

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My story is not the “Indigenous experience in beer” rather one Indigenous person’s experience in and with beer. I can only talk of my experiences, and hope you have made it this far.

There is a saying that if there aren’t any chairs at a table to bring/make your own. That is not my way. But rather if I am sitting at that table I would like to offer you my seat so you have the access I have. Miigwech.

I visited brewery after brewery, collected their glasses. When I travelled, I reserved an evening to make the rounds to local breweries. I loved it. I wanted to be a part of that world.

All beer youtubers were white. I took some workshops at the local home brew store, everyone was white, the teacher, students, everyone who worked at the store even other patrons. Actually, there was almost no women. My wife was one of two women. I am white passing, but I can’t grow a beard, I felt left out of the craft beer world. I joined two local homebrew clubs. I looked at their

Recently, I have met other Indigenous people in beer mostly brewers. We are having our second annual Indigenous Brew Day. There is only three of us, but we are a community willing to accept others and grow. On September 20th, we will be hosting our second brew day using Wild Rice, which has a deep history for Indigenous Peoples.

Shacklands had Ren and I speak at their anniversary, and donate the proceeds of that day to a local Indigenous women’s group that I introduced Jason too. I felt seen. After that talk an Indigenous woman introduced herself to me and we visited. At that moment I understood that I can help build community too.

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GADGET CORNER: SL1 HOMEBREWER

“OUR ORIGINAL IDEA IN 2014 WAS TO BUILD A CAN SEAMER SPECIFICALLY FOR HOME BREWERS, AND WE HAVE FINALLY ACCOMPLISHED THAT GOAL. AFTER BUILDING OVER 3000 OF OUR OKTOBER MK SERIES CAN SEAMERS AND CROWLER CAN SEAMERS FOR PROFESSIONAL BREWERIES AND BUSINESSES, WE HAVE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT WHAT A CAN SEAMER ABSOLUTELY NEEDS, AND WHAT IT CAN LIVE WITHOUT.” OKTOBERDESIGN.COM

Pros

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Sleek and simple design Out of the box ready Compact footprint Simple adjustments with no special tools required Strong customer service  Informative website with videos and manuals for troubleshooting 

Cons o  o 

Cost - The unit itself is reasonably priced for its value but the Duty for Canadian Homebrewers can be a tough pill to swallow Delivery timelines - Due to incre-​ ased COVID generated demand 

Review My 1st impression was that it’s tight. As in compact. If you’ve operated seamers before you know how cumbersome and hard to calibrate they have been historically. I speak from experience as not only an avid homebrewer/beer lover, but as a serial entrepreneur that has been partners in 2 companies that focused on canning. The  first was a canning forward Brew On Premise (BOP), and the second was a Mobile Canning Company.  For the  first run I prepared 20 litres of “Paddy’s KO” which is a massive Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter that had aged for

a year. I carbonated it just like I do most of my beers; 3 days in the fridge under CO2 at 30 PSI. Why such a special beer for the first run you ask? Because I have been rebuilding my brewhouse and have essentially run dry of homebrew. It was that or a Lambic that I wanted to experiment turning into a Grape Ale. Needless to say my past negative experiences with Single Head Seamers combined with the special big beer I had been aging for a year had me concerned about screwing it up and wasting the beer.

OKTOBER Was founded in 2014 by Dennis Grumm with the intention to leverage his decade long precision engineering expertise, that he was applying in the Aerospace Industry, to bring affordable and dependable can seaming to Homebrewers. After successfully testing it at a local brewery over a 4th of July weekend, it was clear that not only homebrewers would have a need for his vision and his Entrepreneurial Spidey Sense was tingling.   Combining a minimalist approach to parts vs existing seamers on the market, and focusing on ensuring that all of their products “just work” with minor tweaks here and there verses requiring a Field Service Department, has guided them to sales of over 4000 seamers all over the world.

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The SL1 is literally out of the box ready. Its calibration maintained through shipping from Grand Rapids Michigan to the Garage-Ma-Hall in Southern Ontario which I have to say is really impressive. I dreaded calibrating the 2 benchtop units I used to own at the BOP and they went out of calibration if somebody looked at them funny, nevermind any international shipping shenanigans. I set it up, which really just consists of unpacking it and putting it on your workbench, and went through a few “Dry Runs” before I broke out the sanitiser and the Blichman Beer Gun. I was impressed with the simplicity of the design, especially that both seaming action rollers were on a single lever. A quick read through the Operation and Maintenance Manual later to get the order of actions right and I was ready to go. Sanitise can. Fill can. Cap on foam. Place can on base. Engage base. Move lever out for 1st action. Move lever in for 2nd action. Release base. Please be that easy. It’s gotta be that easy right? Right! I was pleasantly  surprised  and very relieved  at how well the  seamer works right off the bat. Just like many other processes in homebrewing the preparation and  cleaning will take much more time than operating the SL1 so I could see real value for homebrewers that want to send their friends home with a few cans off their draft taps, or doing a bit of a canning session to take camping or to the cottage. Historically for a Homebrewer to achieve either of those things before you would have to use bottles or growlers which virtually never get returned, take up a lot of space, and are a pain to clean.  Since the 473 ml cans went off so well I took the 5 seconds it takes to clip on the base extender for the 355 ml and started seaming at the same pace I had been working so far. Unfortunately I had issues shearing the seam right at the end of the second action obviously  not having  the same  success I had experienced so far. 6 bad cans later I called it a day and started looking into the possible  causes. Not only is the website a great tool for troubleshooting but within an hour after a quick email describing my issue I had heard back from the company and a little later received an email from a Clint Leatrae who is a Co-Founder of Oktober, with a very simple fix (slightly adjust the Base Force, i.e. lower it a turn) that had us back in business.

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I submerged all cans to check for initial leakers and found none. That doesn’t  mean your out of the woods though because the pressure of the CO2 in the beer itself can cause leakers of poorly seamed cans over time and I’m happy to report that 2 weeks later no cans have leaked and no mess has been made.  When we tally up the time the whole process took I had canned 20 L of beer in less than an hour by myself, so efficiency could easily be increased by adding someone to run the filler while someone operates the seamer.

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f you told me a year ago canning was going to be the next trend amongst Homebrewers I would have asked what pint you were on. I would never have denied that it would be desirable. My skepticism would have been based on that there was no affordable, reliable, equipment available.  Oktober saw that gap in the market and not only filled it, but seamed it up nice and tight. Based on my experience I’d say that it’s not just a trend either. Homebrew canning is here to stay. 

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FROM JANES AND JOES TO ALL-OUT PROS

Name: Scott Denyer Location: Ottawa, Ontario Brewery: Dominion City Time in Professional Brewing: Almost 6 years Job Title: Head Brewer Time as a Homebrewer: Just under five years. Life as a home brewer?

My first 5-Gallon batch of homebrew was done in my parents driveway with a friend of mine. We forgot to mill our grains before hand so we found a pillowcase, a baseball bat and a rolling pin and got down to work. The efficiency was awful but we decided to go ahead and hop it way too heavily in kettle anyway. So we ended up with a 2% abv, extra dry and painfully bitter hop bomb. I was still pretty proud and served it to anybody brave enough to try it. I actually poured it for the owners of Dominion City and they still hired me for some reason.

What made you go pro?

I was actually a really bad homebrewer so I’m not sure why I thought it was a good idea to turn pro. I worked in restaurants for a long time and really enjoyed it but it was time for a change. By chance, I met the owners of DCBC while serving tables one night and I ended up working there washing kegs and growlers shortly after. I was pretty lucky to be in the right place at the right time!

What keeps you busy now?

We’ve recently been able to add a couple shiny new horizontal lager tanks to the cellar that will allow us to make lager year round. Lagers were always a slow season or special occasion sorta thing around here, but with the new tanks in we’ll be able to consistently offer a few different styles of lager. Keep an eye out for Trouble In The Fields in particular. It’s our 100% local lager made with Barn Owl Lager malt, Heritage Red and White corn from Against The Grain Farms and fermented with Escarpment Labs Biergarten yeast.

Daily Duties:

I’m often found writing schedules, ordering ingredients, working with suppliers and designing recipes. When I’m not performing my supervisory duties I’m probably drinking a single origin coffee somewhere, hiding in the barrel room or forklifting things around. I still brew for a few hours on busy days but we have a very talented team of brewers now that are really the ones that are hands on every day in the cellar, on the canning line and running the brewhouse. They’re the ones that really keep the place running, I just check in with them and help out where ever I can.

What was your favorite aspect of homebrewing? Challenging yourself!

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BREWE 4.0 SUPPLEMENT


Profile for Reby Media

The Brewers Journal - Canada edition, Summer 2020  

The magazine for the Canadian brewing industry

The Brewers Journal - Canada edition, Summer 2020  

The magazine for the Canadian brewing industry

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