Tag Archives: Local

International Women’s Collaborative Brew Day

The last time I was in to PEG Beer Co. I had a chance to chat with Dot, the events manager. They were talking about participating in International Women’s Collaboration Brew day. I had heard of this day in the past but never looked too much into it. So, I decided it’d be fun to chat with Dot and find out what this day is all about and what we can expect here in Winnipeg.

International Women’s Collaboration Brew day has been around for four years. It’s relates to International Women’s Day and is a global even involving women in the brewing industry from around the world. The day is meant to raise the profile of women working in the brewing industry and to encourage others who might interested in getting involved.

The day was founded by Sophie De Ronde who is the NPD Brewing Technologist at Muntons Malt in the UK.  Reaching out to members of the Pink Boots Society, a non-profit organization of women in the brewing industry, she sought to start a unified day to encourage women to get together and brew beer. Each year there is a theme to help guide those getting together to brew.

In the first year, a pale ale called Unite was brewed by over 60 women in in 5 different countries. The second year saw a red ale called Unite brewed by over 80 women in eleven different countries, while 2016 saw women from around the world get together to brew something new.

This year, the theme is Unite once again, but rather than have a specific style they are asking women to Unite with Local industry to come up with a beer and brew it. Dot and her team made of up women who are either involved in the brewing industry or passionate about brewing beer, have decided to brew a beer using local honey and local hops from Sandra Gowan’s Prairie Gem hop farm. The name of this wonderful collaborative beer? “Don’t Call Me Honey”.

Those participating in the collaborative brew day are encouraged to donate any profits they might make from the sale of the beer to a charity. While Dot has participated the past 2 years, this is the first time that Winnipeg will see a commercial brewery participate and can make profits. This coincides wonderfully with the concept of a “community tap” that Nicole Barry had for PEG even before opening. So, this beer will be the first community tap and profits will be donated to the Women’s Health Clinic.

The team is made up of: Nicole Barry, Dot Ball, Naomi Goertzen from PEG, Adrienne Johanson from Barn Hammer, Jodi Ruta, Hailey Breland from Half Pints, Sara Drysdale, Jody Twomey, Jenna Diubaldo and Laura Tait.

This will be the first time that Dot and her team have brewed a beer commercially. They’ve expanded the group to include some new faces this year as well. The goal is to include women in the industry and those who are interested in beer. The entire goal behind the day is to encourage more women to get involved in the industry which has been traditionally male dominated, and to give a space for women who are interested in learning more with mentors.

This event at PEG is officially linked with the International Women’s Collaborative Brew Day and they show up on the map along with a variety of other Canadian breweries including Rebellion in SK.

The beer itself is being brewed on March 8th and a release event will be held on April 2nd. For those women who are interested in beer and getting started on brewing, Dot has these words to share:

“Start home brewing, try new beer, and make sure it’s fun.”

I for one am excited to try the beer.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Get To Know A Brewer – Berhard Wieland

lbj-1
Kevin Selch (L) and  Bernhard Wieland (R)

The speed at which things to be progressing in our brewing community is fantastic. We are seeing more breweries begin to reach that final point in their construction. Brazen Hall and One Great City seem to be almost ready to open their doors and Nonsuch recently brewed their first batch. I can’t wait to see what things look like at this year’s Flatlanders’ Beer Festival.

I sat down with Bernhard Wieland, Brewmaster at Little Brown Jug, for my continuing “Get to know a brewer” series. Bernie is a really interesting guy who has traveled all around the world and has a passion and drive for making high quality consistently delicious beer.

Born in Brandon, Bernhard lived in Neepawa until Grade 6. This was when his first big move occurred and his family came into the big city of Winnipeg. Bernie attended various schools including St. Paul’s and St. John’s Ravenscourt before finally graduating from Vincent Massey. Rugby was a big part of Bernie’s time in school and would continue to be a big part of his adult life.

After graduating, Bernie attended the University of Manitoba where he received his B.Sc. Not wanting to work in a lab, Bernie decided to travel around the United States playing Rugby and trying out a lot of different beers. Rugby took him all the way over to South Africa where he met some friends who had jobs in marketing at South African breweries. Seeing this, something clicked. Bernie found something he could do that he loved.

gilde-braurei

He came back to North America where he attended the Siebel institute in Chicago to receive his brewers certificate. While there, Bernie hooked up with a Rugby team and ended up playing Semi-Pro. This opportunity took him to Germany where the rugby team got him his first brewing job at Gilde Braurei in Hanover, Germany. This gave Bernie the opportunity to work in various roles from delivery to brewer and get his first experience working at a brewery under his belt. Bernie stayed in this role for 6 months, or about the length of the rugby season.

Upon returning to Winnipeg, Bernie had the opportunity to work with Richard Hoeschen at Fort Garry. Initially starting off as the filter operator, he worked at Fort Garry for 3 ½ years and held the position of head brewer by the time he left. Bernie also had the chance to work with the founders of Two Rivers, including someone Bernie considers a mentor, Doug Seville. Doug was the last brew master at the Molson brewery here in Winnipeg.

After 3 ½ years at Fort Garry, Bernie headed west to Vancouver Island Brewing in 2005. As head brewer he had the opportunity to work alongside a German Brewmaster who oversaw the brewing process. Over the next 2 ½ years, Bernie honed his skills even more and learned new processes.

Bernie had always wanted to maximize his education, especially when it came to brewing, and so he returned to school, attending UC Davis where he completed the Master Brewers Program and received his master’s diploma. Having completed this, Bernie had hoped to work in the US, but given the tough climate he wasn’t able to secure a position at any of the breweries to whom he applied. So, Bernie returned to Canada to Vancouver Island where he began exploring the possibility of opening his own brewery. The timing for this wasn’t right and so Bernie moved on to his next adventure in Kenora.

lake-of-the-woods-brewing

In 2012, Bernie took the position of Head Brewer at the soon to be open Lake of the Woods. Bernie had the opportunity to be there for the construction of the brewery which gave the opportunity to be involved from the ground up. This was also the first opportunity Bernie had to develop recipes. The other breweries he worked at were not interested in seasonal beers, only brewing what was already brewed. This was Bernie’s first opportunity to explore the creative aspects of brewing beer rather than simply the technical ones. Bernie created over 20 recipes before moving on in 2014.

Bernie’s final position before arriving at Little Brown Jug was working for Half Pints. Bernie spoke with many of the new breweries looking to open here in Winnipeg but felt that working with Kevin at Little Brown Jug was the best fit for him.

In Kenora, Bernie had the opportunity to get into the Krausening process and fell in love with it. He had also had his fill of constantly working on recipe development and wanted to focus his skills on perfecting one beer and getting that recipe just right. Working at Little Brown Jug gave him the opportunity to do both of these things and to be involved in building a brewery from the ground up.

Bernie got into brewing because it was a job that combined all of the skills he had from his education and other jobs he’s held over the years. Really having to be well-rounded and getting the opportunity to do something that you love every day.

What keeps Bernie brewing is the love of beer, the joy of introducing people to quality beer, being a part of the growth of the craft beer community here in Winnipeg, and the fact that his passion has become a financial success doesn’t hurt.  Bernie also feels that Winnipeg and Manitoba have a strong history of brewing beer. Why the beer is named 1919 and why he uses Brewers Gold is to show the history that we’ve played. Bernie calls Brewer’s Gold the “Grandfather” of modern hops.

I’m always curious what beers brewers enjoy and what they like to have in their fridge. The beer that really got Bernie into beer was a good Czech Pilsner that he enjoyed while in Prague. Today though, he really likes the beer he makes, 1919, and enjoys Jerkface 9000.

It was good to sit down with Bernie and I am looking forward to seeing how Little Brown Jug grows. Thanks again for reading.

-Beer Winnipeg

Get to know a brewer – Jeff Wiebe

As I continue to delve into those who are part of the craft beer community, I continue to be curious about why brewers got into brewing in the first place. What is becoming rather clear is that a passion for beer borne from home brewing, consuming and learning seems to be the Launchpad. From here, a desire to do more and to take that passion further resulting in turning it into a career.

This week I had the chance to sit down with another such person, Jeff Wiebe. As lead brewer at PEG Beer Co, Jeff has taken the passion he had for beer and turned into his career. At the age of 27 he has accomplished a lot and has become an integral part of our craft beer community. So, who is Jeff?

Jeff describes himself as pretty random. It’s obvious from talking to Jeff that when he isn’t brewing beer he loves to be out doors. He rides BMX, skateboards, rock climbs, and basically does anything outside that involves hanging out with friends and grabbing a few beers afterwards.  He was born and raised in Manitoba and developed a strong work ethic growing up on a farm. After high school, Jeff spent a year living in the Netherlands on a work-vacation program. It was here that he had the chance to expand his beer consuming horizons. You couldn’t get MGD or Bud. Instead, being so close to Belgium and other fantastic beer brewing countries, Jeff had his fill of excellent beers.

After returning to Manitoba from this experience, Jeff became interested in home brewing. He had read a lot of stuff online but, like most of us, had some concerns about delving into. Luckily for us, Jeff’s friend’s roommate was a n avid homebrewer and took Jeff under his wing. He and Jeff brewed his first beer together, a west coast pale ale, and this gave Jeff the opportunity to connect his read knowledge with the hands on experience and make those connections.

From this point, Jeff couldn’t stop brewing. After 2 ½ years of home brewing, Jeff knew that this was something he wanted to do. He applied to Olds college and Niagara College for their brewing programs. Accepted to both, Jeff took off for Niagara where he spent the next 2 years honing his knowledge of beer and brewing.  Having the opportunity to delve into sensory courses, water chemistry, brewing, and brewery management, Jeff was able to build a knowledge base that was combined with hands on experiences. They’d brew four batches of the same beer making slight variations and then break them down in the sensory courses. Overall, Jeff feels it was a fantastic learning experience and a great learning environment.

Between semesters Jeff had the chance to work for Half Pints in all capacities. From brewing to bottle washing to delivery, Jeff got to try it all. This gave him a taste of what it’s like to be in each of these capacities and helped him get a better idea for the overall brewery operations. This opportunity to put theory into practice and work on a large scale commercial system helped set Jeff up for what would be his first brewing gig, Lake of the Woods. Jeff spent six months working at Lake of the Woods before he got the nod to move over to PEG where he would setup his home.

Being brought on to a brewery in construction was really neat for Jeff. It gave the team an opportunity to put the blood, sweat and tears into actually building a brewery. This experience not only gave a sense of ownership and pride, but it also helped build a strong team dynamic that exists at PEG to this day.

As a question I always want to know what beers a brewer always has in their fridge as well as their favorite style. For Jeff, he always has Muskoka Detour (though he’d love to have Ballast Point’s Sculpin) as it’s an easy drinking, hop forward beer that his girlfriend also enjoys. When it comes to favorite style, Jeff jumps across the pond and chooses Flanders Red Ale. Certainly a tasty style as well but quite different from Muskoka Detour.

Jeff also updated me a bit on what’s happening at PEG. They just got a new shipment of hops come in which means that Life Coach will be coming back onto the menu. It also means that Soundtrack, their shifting IPA, will brewed again with two new hops.

There is also an English Pale Ale in the fermenter that will hopefully be coming on soon and Jeff dropped that they are looking at “having more fun with sours”. Since Peg doesn’t have any barrels, we know this will be Kettle Souring, but it’s exciting to hear.

I plan to continue to chat with brewers around the city as I get a chance. I know it’s a long term commitment, but they are interesting folks. I’ve got plans to follow-up with One Great City and Brazen Hall in the near future. I am also planning to check in with Little Brown Jug. Jeremy Grisim, the subject of my first get to know a brewer, has made the move over to Little Brown Jug. I’m excited to follow-up with these folks and to continue to bring you stories from the craft beer community.

Also, a reminder that this Sunday (January 29th) is the charity raffle in support of Winnipeg Harvest. It’s a chance to win some great prizes, including one of five bottles of Westvleteren 12. Hope to see you there.

– Beer Winnipeg

What to Expect in 2017

header

Wow. How time flies. I can’t believe that I’ve been running this blog for just over two years now. To think that all this started with a gift from my wife and began a journey that has taken me deep and far into the craft beer scene here in Winnipeg. A thirst for knowledge that has expanded my appreciation and understanding of beer and a lot of learning from those within the community to whom I owe a great deal and respect even more.

So, where do we go from here. I want to outline for you how I see this blog moving forward. It had started with keeping people informed about breweries opening, beers arriving, and the occasional review. Expect these things to continue in earnest as I continue to follow the breweries working to open and announce craft beer events coming up.
What can you expect from me in this coming year?

  • Continuing to follow the progress of breweries who have yet to open their doors. Provide updates and profiles as they move towards completion.
  • Check in with breweries who have already opened. Look at special events they are hosting, beers they are producing and how things are going. This will include reviews from time to time.
  • Continue to profile brewers through my “Get to know a brewer” segment. The next on the list is Jeff Wiebe from Peg Beer Company. I’ll be getting this up as soon as I have a chance to meet with him.
  • Highlight special events occurring in the craft beer community. Look for details on the Westvelerten charity raffle occurring on January 29th.
  • Delve into some of the practices of government and impacts on craft beer community. Including liquor laws, funding and initiatives.

I look forward to another fantastic year of growth in the community. Over the past two years’ things have changed substantially. By next year, I expect the changes to be even more profound. I hope you’ll follow along as we explore the changing climate.

-Beer Winnipeg

Little Brown Jug – Follow-Up

I stopped in to visit with Little Brown Jug this past week and catch up on their progress. I have to say that the space is looking both fantastic as well as pretty much complete. They have been working hard on getting their beer ready and they are ready to go. It’s an exciting time for beer in the city of Winnipeg.

Last week was spent really dialing in on the brew house system. It’s actually a pretty incredible setup that focuses on efficiency (both in brewing and environmentally) and recovers much of the heat from the brewing process. The kettle actually uses steam through an external calandria which allows for an incredibly quick rolling boil and a much more efficient process. They have also installed an auger from their grain room directly into the mash tun. In fact, they are able to grind into a sealed auger so that they can prepare the day before and be ready to brew. Overall the brew system is really cool and I encourage anyone interested in these things to go check it out.

All of this hard work has resulted in them being ready to send out kegs this week.  Kevin indicated that they would be sending out kegs to beer spots in the city – Quality Craft Beer Store, King’s Head, Good Will, Barley Brothers – Polo; Carbone – 260 St. Mary; and Pineridge Hollow. All of these places will have beer on tap this week with Pineridge Hollow coming next week.

They are open as of today: Wed-Fri 3-9PM and Saturday noon – 8 PM, with these limited hours to allow for people to come in and pick up the beers. As well as the opportunity to try the beer in their tap room, they are doing growler and howler fills as well as offering pre-filled 750ml little brown jugs.

The really cool thing they are doing with these little brown jugs is offering an exchange program on them. Essentially you don’t own the jug. You put a deposit down and when you come back you can either exchange it for another pre-filled one or get your deposit back, your choice. I think this is an excellent idea and it’s actually how I feel the growler system in the city should be working.

Little Brown Jug is really trying to be efficient with peoples’ time and recognize that people may not always have the opportunity to wait around for a growler to be filled. By offering these jugs, pre-filled, people can pop in, grab some beer, and head on their way. While they do have a small tap-room space at LBJ, they are first and foremost a production brewery.

Little Brown Jug is launching with one beer, a Belgian Pale Ale that is brewed with brewers’ gold (a derivative of a local hop). I for one am excited to get a chance to try another new beer to the market and I really look forward to seeing what they may come up with next down the road.

So, follow Little Brown Jug on twitter (@LBJBrewing) and while you’re at it, follow me too (@beerwinnipeg).

Tomorrow is the first day of the craft beer advent Calendar. I’ll be posting in the morning to give you an idea of what to expect but I won’t be posting about the beers until later in the afternoon/evening. Last year I inadvertently spoiled the surprise for others and I want to do my best to avoid this. So, get ready for a 24 daily posts about “New World Beers from Old World Breweries”.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Get to know a brewer – Jeremy Grisim

Image result for jeremy grisim

It’s a great time of year around my place. We are getting ready for the holiday season to begin, our daughter is starting to grow, and it is almost time for me to crack into the craft beer advent calendar. I’m hoping folks will enjoy reading about each one of the beers and breweries as much as I enjoying learning about them.

Today I am starting a series that I hope to continue for as long as I am able. “Get to know a brewer” is something I thought of when I was last chatting with Jeremy Grisim from Half Pints. When I first met Jeremy, he was doing me a favour and picking me up a test batch from Half Pints. Over time, I started seeing him at Half Pints more often and later learned he had joined the Half Pints team. Now, he’s accomplished a goal he set for himself of becoming a brewer. So, who better to start this with than him.

Jeremy became interested in brewing while he was working on a chemistry degree. He had taken some biology and chemistry courses that talked about fermentation sciences and as he had tried various craft beer and was being exposed to new styles of beer, Jeremy decided to try home brewing. He started small, buying a kit from Grape and Grain, and from that point he was hooked. While he had initially thought of being a chemistry teacher, he felt a calling to one day open a brewery and decided that he would follow that dream and work towards it.

Having a good background in science, Jeremy felt as though he needed to get some more knowledge surrounding the brewing process and the science/art of brewing beer. He took the executive overview of brewing from the Siebel institute and began communicating with as many brewers as he could across Canada seeking their advice and direction on further education. From this advice, Jeremy decided to do the 1-year associate degree in brewing technology from the Siebel institute. While this provides some great learning, it lacks in practical experience. Really wanting to get this practical knowledge, Jeremy and his wife had been ready to move their family wherever they needed to go. Luckily, he was hired on at Half Pints as a brewery assistant in May 2015 and began chasing his dream.

While working as a brewer assistant at Half-Pints, Jeremy also took on the task of conducting brewery tours. Half Pints already had a full slate of brewers and while Jeremy was happy to help and felt he was learning, he ultimately wanted to be brewing beer. This past summer, 2016, two of the brewers from Half Pints left to pursue other goals which left Half Pints with space for a new brewer. Dave Rudge, President of Half Pints, sat down and asked Jeremy about his goals. Jeremy said he wanted “To one-day be the best brewer in Winnipeg and to brew beer until I can’t brew anymore.” Dave offered him the chance to get trained on the brewing equipment and Jeremy has brewed full-time ever since.

Jeremy loves all styles of beer but has a ton of respect for the old-world breweries. He has a Czech background himself and deeply respects the skill required to brew and the history behind old world beers. He takes great joy in drinking beers from North American breweries as well of course. Jeremy said that he feels breweries are moving away from the tendency to brew to style and are no starting to brew to inspiration. Instead of trying to replicate a style of beer they are trying to create a beer. While Jeremy didn’t really give me an answer on his favorite style, the first beer he has developed and brewed at Half Pints is a California Common. We can expect to see this on the test batch system before too long and Jeremy hopes the beer will be scaled up into a bigger batch.

In the next 5 years, Jeremy sees himself strengthening his brewing skills, increasing his knowledge, and immersing himself in the burgeoning Winnipeg brew scene. For now, he’s brewing 40-50 hours a week and using this as an opportunity to begin dialing in and improving his skills. Jeremy is completely immersing himself in beer.

I also took this opportunity to catch up on what’s new at Half Pints. The tap-room is up and running and looking darn fantastic. This has given Half Pints’ the opportunity to expand the use of their test batch system as they can put it on tap in the tap-room. This is something they are looking to do as often as possible, both to scale up and just for the fun of it. Some of the things in the taproom and will not be available anywhere else.

What Jeremy was able to share is that we will be seeing a test batch of Ol’ Glory (American Barley Wine) and a Count Chocula Stout coming soon. As well there is a Winter Spiced Red Ale that will be on the growler bars around the city as well as 1000 litres of Humulus Ludicrous (Double IPA) that’ll be on draft and growler only.

hp-taproom-5

Throughout the year, we can expect to see a bunch of brand new beers and old favourites making their return. Given the tasting room, it’s given Half Pint’s the ability to have a beer with their customers and talk to them in a way they haven’t had the chance before. Aside from the test batches, Half Pints is also hoping to play around more with casks and pins to put twists on their beers for the tap-room. With the taproom, fully operation, I think it’s a good time to get into Half Pints and taking advantage of the tap-room.

I’ve got a follow-up with Little Brown Jug still coming this week and it is almost time for my Marathon month of posting on the Craft Beer Advent Calendar. Check out last years’ wrap up. This year, it’s Old World Breweries, New World Beers. Exciting.

One Great City – Follow-up

OGC Logo

It had been a while since I spoke with the guys from One Great City. Given they’ve been working so hard on getting their space prepped, I dropped in to visit for a bit of news and a beer.

Originally, One Great City had hoped to be open by October 2016. Due to some delays, including the installation of a new electrical panel, this was not possible. Thankfully, all the building permits have now come through and Tim and Jon are hard at work getting things ready as quickly as possible.

While covering the rise of craft breweries in Manitoba, I’ve learned to not ask for an opening date; they’re very hard to accurately predict. That said, the One Great City team hopes to have their doors open in the first quarter of 2017. All the equipment has been ordered, the beer development is moving along swimmingly and the food menu has been finalized.

The OGC team has been busy since Flatlanders perfecting the recipes they spotlighted there: Tipsy Cow milk stout and Monkey Trail pale ale. They’ve also been developing other styles of beer, including a Belgian Wit, an extra-special bitter, an American blonde and a double IPA. All of these styles will be served alongside a “gastropub” menu featuring traditional food with updated twists. “Adventurous yet accessible” as the guys say.

Jon and Tim have been doing the lion’s share of the grunt work getting things prepared and organized for the trades-people on the project. New floor has been poured and is being ground down to give a “terrazzo” look. This type of flooring is easy to clean and low maintenance, making it ideal for food preparation and brewing once it’s sealed.

 

The plumbers have completed the underground work and are now running supply lines. A new HVAC unit will be installed in a few weeks, which gives time for the electricians to run conduits. Overall, progress is being made and there are high hopes OGC will be able to meet their goal of opening early next year.

They have developed their tables and stools that will be used in the restaurant portion of the brewpub. They plan to have a nice big patio out by the back parking lot with an entrance from both the front and back to allow for greater parking and accessibility. Overall, the layout looks really good. The next steps for OGC are getting the walls put up, painting, getting the fixtures and bar installed – and then setting up the brewing equipment.

one-great-city-plans

It was good to follow up and see how much progress has been made since we last spoke. Part of what I love about writing this blog is tracking projects as they begin to take shape. When I last spoke with OGC, this whole thing was still in development, but now you can reach out and touch it. Exciting times indeed.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Shrugging Doctor

To begin: when I went into this interview I didn’t know what to expect. Shrugging Doctor has intentionally kept their business under wraps and has done a good job keeping folks curious. Shrugging Doctor is not a brewery. They will not be producing beer at opening and so aren’t something I typically write about. Still, they have a unique idea that warrants a bit of exploration, even if there are some concerns.

Shrugging Doctor wants to innovate people’s access to booze. While it is possible to order alcohol delivery through the MLCC, this requires forethought and time. It’s not something you can do on a whim or if you realize you’ve run out of your favourite beverage. Shrugging Doctor seeks to fix this problem by taking the pizza delivery model and applying it to booze. They want to be your on-call source for booze in the city, with home delivery within 60 minutes.

What will they be selling? To begin, they will focus on sugar wine (a smooth and sweet 20% alcohol), coolers (made from the sugar wine), apple cider and mead. The target audience for Shrugging Doctor is 18 to 25 year olds looking for potent, sweet tasting booze at a reasonable price. This makes sense given the gentleman behind this company. Chris Willows, a 20-year-old entrepreneur, moved out at the age of 18 and found he had bills to pay. With a business mindset – something he says he had since he was nine – he decided to start his own business and solve a problem on the minds of his peers: how do I get cheap booze delivered to my home.

While Shrugging Doctor is going to produce their own product, which they hope to sell in 23 Liquor Marts around the city, the service they plan to provide is the biggest part of their business plan. Offering city-wide deliver of their products. The product is produced by Zach Isaacs. He has been making wine and other alcoholic drinks for several years, investing a great deal of time and money in perfecting his recipes. Willows told me many of his friends have stopped buying coolers because they’d rather drink Shrugging Doctor’s offerings. (I had the opportunity to try the sugar wine and it is certainly potent but incredibly sweet.)

While they do not plan on having beer at the beginning, Willows does respect the craft beer market and would love to add those drinks to their catalogue in the future. For the first nine to ten months, however, they will focus on producing their wine-based products. With four 500L tanks, the starting capacity is quite small, only 10HL, but as they start capturing profit they hope to expand capacity not only add beer but also partner with vineyards to move away from fruit and sugar wines to producing grape wines.

I had the opportunity to view their online ordering system, which will allow people to place orders for either a bottle or a box of their wine, coolers, etc. The wine starts at $10 a bottle and is $35 for a 4L box. The wine is packaged using a 10-plate filtering system, a semi-automatic bottler that fills the headspace with nitrogen for better shelf life, and capped using stelvin caps (the twist offs).

If Shrugging Doctor takes off, Manitobans who are buzzed and unable to drive for more drinks will have an option to top up their supplies. While this certainly solve some problems, it raises others. What assurances will there be that customers (and their guests) are of age? Or that they’re not at dangerous levels of intoxication? Since they are seeking to follow the pizza delivery model, they will be hiring delivery drivers who will be paid using the deliver fee and tips. How will these drivers be trained to recognize when they should or shouldn’t deliver the product? There is also a matter of theft and safety of the drivers that needs to be considered.

Chris Willows told me that their delivery drivers will all carry their “Serving it Safe” certificate and will therefore be trained to recognize when someone may need to be cut off. As for the insurance that all are of age, unfortunately that isn’t something as easy to accomplish. What they will ensure is that the person to whom they deliver the alcohol is of age. Chris also assured me that they would be trying their best to comply with all laws and regulations.

While I admit the convenience Shrugging Doctor offers is very appealing – and potentially the base of a lucrative business model – I am not sure if the pros outweigh the concerns. While I’m not in their target market, they’re likely to appeal to a younger demographic who could still be learning their limits. It’s my hope these young entrepreneurs factor safety into their business plans even as they enthusiastically fill an obvious service gap.

 

 

 

Barn Hammer- Barn Raising

 

Barn Hammer

The beer scene in Winnipeg is starting to reach maturity. Barn Hammer has been open for a while with Torque and Peg Beer Co now joining the fray with their own beer. I expect we will see others join the market in short order. While each is taking a different approach to their production of beer, what seems to be a common thread is giving back to community. This is something that is almost a trademark of craft breweries: not just making beer, but being a part of the community in which you live and serve.

For Barn Hammer, this type of community support comes out through their “Barn Raising” initiative. Drawing on the historical action of a community coming together to literally raise a barn, Barn Hammer hopes to help bring Winnipeggers together to help build up charities. One non-profit is chosen by staff each month and on the third Wednesday of that month, partial proceeds from every regular 16oz, 10oz glass and every growler fill (32oz & 64oz) sold in the taproom will be directly donated to the chosen non-profit organization.

I touched base with Barn Hammer’s Sable Birch for more details about where this idea came from and what the goal is. Sable made it clear it’s important all employees be involved in choosing causes that mean something to them.

“Everyone at Barn Hammer has the opportunity to participate and by changing the chosen charity each month, we are able to spread the funds out to various causes in the community. There are so many worthy causes out there so it’s nice to be able to reach as many as we can.”

Another aspect the team really likes about this program is that there is no middle-man. It’s Barn Hammer writing the cheque and sending it directly to the cause. This is a way for them to know the money is all going to the cause they are supporting. It’s really all about bringing community to join together in their taproom and help raise money for a worthy cause. Not only is it fun – bringing friends out for a pint of beer and conversation – but you get the opportunity to really do something and support something you care about.

Sable said that it’s not just about raising funds, but:

 “we are also helping to raise awareness for the causes. Increase traffic flow to their website or add followers to their social media accounts. Perhaps this way the non-profit also receives more volunteers, donations and attention outside of our Barn Raising Night.”

Obviously this fundraising won’t happen unless there are patrons who step up to support it. If you haven’t had the opportunity to get out to Barn Hammer’s taproom yet, make a plan to go there on the third Wednesday of the month to help raise funds and awareness for community causes.

PEG has beer

For those who haven’t been following PEG Beer Co on twitter (what’s wrong with you!) the time has finally arrived. Yesterday, October 11, PEG Beer officially launched their beers and they are now ready for consumption.

It has been a long time coming. I’ve followed their progress since before their first soft opening. The delays have been numerous and some have anxiously wondered about this day. I can’t speak to the cause of those delays and I think it’s best we set them aside. While many, including the PEG team, had hoped for beer much sooner, let’s focus on celebrating: we can now finally enjoy a pint of PEG beer at the bar!

The beers that are now available include their Lifecoach ISA, Soundtrack IPA, Marlyn Red Rye Ale and the Countess Stout, (they have on their own blog, too) and now that I’ve had my first taste, I’ll be providing some notes in the near future. I hope that all of you will take the opportunity to get down and to give the beers a try.

Winnipeg has clamored for more craft beer and we’ve done a fantastic job of supporting the breweries who have opened so far. As another begins to produce beer, they also will require our support, feedback and comments. It’s through engagement that breweries thrive, grow and learn – and that requires the local beer community to come to the table if we truly want better beer in Winnipeg.

Congratulations once again to the patience, tenacity and effort of all those working at PEG Beer Co. Glad to have your beer.