…. and just plain great.
Over the holidays I purchased a “mix pack” containing four different bottles of beers representing “The Best of Beau’s” Brewing Company in 2013, a local company I can’t say enough good things about.
I love the “buy-local” movement. I love local foods, craftsman, artisans, and producers. Having said that, I won’t blindly give them my business “just-because.” I’ll give them preferential treatment with my mind, but if they want my loyalty and wallet, they have to match heart with product.
Beau’s brewery is a company I’m proud to call local and very proud to give my repeat business. As previously reviewed, they started with one beer, Beau’s Lugtread Lager and the promise to make a beer of exceptional quality, something they delivered and continue to deliver. Buoyed on by their success, they are now a full-out craft and artisanal brewery producing many different beers, and more all the time. They have given some of their staff free rein to experiment and invent – indeed, Beau’s has dubbed February as “FeBREWary” and they have plans to produce and release a new brew every week next month. They know that every new brew cannot be great or worth bottling — but they also know that without experimentation, without risk, success will also allude them. Perhaps that is why I’ve yet to crack a new bottle from them and not go “wow.”
Truthfully, they are already a very successful company and are increasingly gaining recognition not just for their products but for the corporate philosophy and community mindedness. Indeed, last fall they were awarded and recognized as a “Benefit Corporation” (aka “B Corp”) for their commitment to their community and the environment through their commitment to “sustainability.” It is the first brewery in Canada to receive this recognition and only one of three breweries worldwide to be receive the certificate.
This is a company I admire as much for their commitment to innovation as to their craft … and it’s that innovation that is allowing them to be a leader and set new benchmarks for corporate leadership. If you’ve seen the phenomenal movie The Corporation, you’ll know what I mean when I say that Beau’s is not example of one of those sociopathic companies. On the contrary, this is a company that cares about the way they do business and how their business impacts their community and environment. These values and their innovation, like their experimentation with beer itself, makes an impression. For those that have been drinking it Lugtread since it first appeared in the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) in 2008, you may recall that for the first few years, Beau’s distributed it in a completely ceramic 750mL bottle with a mason stopper. These reusable, distinct, and environmentally friendly bottles then suddenly stopped when Ontario’s Beer Store, which also functions as a bottle depot in the province, exercised its power as a monopoly to refuse to collect and return the bottles to the brewery. Beau’s then tried to incent consumers to return them to the brewery directly where they could be redeemed for Beau’s merchandise (it was quite the offer). The LCBO put the kibosh on that because, as reported, Beau’s was circumventing pricing regulations which amounted to “discounting.” Again, in 2011, Beau’s ran afoul of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission when Beau’s innovatively ushered in a delivery service for their beer which had them partner with a local charity, Operation Come Home, whose mission is to assist “at risk youth.” Beau’s thought that through the partnership they could give employment opportunities for these youth and keep them off the streets and out of trouble and funnel the proceeds of the delivery service to the charity itself. While I don’t have all the facts, my understanding is that since many of the youth were between 16-19, they weren’t allowed to “serve” (or transport) alcohol. It was also the Commission’s way of controlling distribution through its own channels (the LCBO) which didn’t support what amounted to the brewery’s direct distribution. Our former premier Dalton McGuinty, to his credit, personally intervened on behalf of Beau’s and said that the spirit of the law was preventing a community-minded company of being innovative in how it did good, and the liquor act was reviewed so that Beau’s was allowed to continue.
These stories, for me, speak of a company that lives its values … and it because this company is taking these great values and matching them with a great product that Beau’s is really starting to turn heads. This is a company that prides itself on being local and using local ingredients; it is family run and, by all accounts, even those that aren’t “family” are treated like they are; it was founded in 2006 on the chutzpah of a man and his son that wanted to make their own beer, independently, and everything they’ve done has been “do it yourself”; and they are organic, privileging the quality of their ingredients in making high-quality products. In sum, Beau’s is the story of Tim Beauchesne and his son, Steve, two men with a vision to create great beer, who have succeeded because they have never lost sight of that vision – and because they know that to be truly successful, not just on the bottom line, it takes the support of a family, the environment, and their community to sustain it.
Therefore, for the next four days, I’m going to uncharacteristically post a review of each of the beers in this “mix pack” as I celebrate some of that love and devotion. I hope you enjoy …. See you tomorrow with the first review.
1. Screamin’ Beaver – Double IPA
2. Doc’s Feet – Dubbel
3. Burnt Rock – Vanilla Porter
4. Rudolphus VI – Belgian IPA