Tapping into the growing popularity of craft beer

Kevin Blondin
By Kevin Blondin June 6, 2017 16:54

Tapping into the growing popularity of craft beer

Michael Beaudoin brewing a batch of beer at Walkerville Brewery on Monday April 17, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Blondin)

Michael Beaudoin brewing a batch of beer at Walkerville Brewery on Monday April 17, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Blondin)

By Kevin Blondin

Are you looking for things to do and new ways of supporting local businesses? Breweries are teaming up with local organizations and artists to provide the community with more special events and collaborative efforts than ever before.

The craft beer trend continues to gain momentum across the country and Windsor is beginning to see the benefits of this growing industry.

“The industry is still booming, especially right here in Windsor,” said Michael Beaudoin, a 41-year-old brewer from Windsor. “We see more and more breweries popping up throughout the city and an increase of bars, restaurants and retail outlets providing more of a selection of local craft beers.”

Beaudoin has been a brewer at Walkerville Brewery for more than four years and said they support the local arts community by hosting events featuring local artists on a regular basis. They believe it is important to build the community and work hard to promote local initiatives.

“By working closely with local artists it helps us reach new markets and share our creative side,” said Beaudoin. “The collaboration potential between the arts and craft beer are endless.”

He said the relationships between artists and breweries are mutually beneficial to each other through cross-promotion. The artists promote the brewery while the brewery promotes the artists. A larger audience can be reached which benefits everyone.

In Windsor, breweries have launched specialty brews and small batches dedicated to local artists such as Walkerville Brewery’s Mixtape and Indie Pale Ale, a beer and digital album tribute to all independent artists. There is also the collaboration between Craft Heads Brewing Co. and indie bands such as Gypsy Chief Goliath and Huttch which produced small batches of Black Samurai (IPA), Gimme S’more Stout and Huttched Up Pilsner, to name a few.

Sebastian Abt, 23-year-old front man of the band Huttch admits that most of their fans are beer drinkers and explains that breweries and musicians are a perfect promotional team.

“Walkerville Brewery has sponsored many events that we’ve performed at and was interested in having us perform in their space,” said Abt about their recent brewery tour. “We’re hoping to come back and set up an even bigger tour to keep this idea going for future events.”

Abt said he feels people take pride and find excitement in trying new beers and finding their personal favourite and tasting new beers from different areas. Whether it is in Ontario or anywhere else, it brings a sense of togetherness and brings communities closer.

Beaudoin thinks beer and music are both fun and complement each other.

“After all, brewing beer is a form of art,” said Beaudoin. “It’s all about the passion! We as independent breweries share the same set of ideals and creative freedom as independent musicians.”

Abt feels beer and music complement each other as well, mainly because beer is a social drink and music is a universal language.

“Together I feel they get people engaged in many ways,” said Abt. “And talking about music over some beers or seeing a performance creates connections in people.”

Crystal Van Lare is a 34-year-old waitress and co-founder of the local organization BrewGals, a one-year-old collective of women that meet once a month to celebrate craft beer. Together, BrewGals gather at different establishments around the city in an effort to raise money for various charities.

“Both are forms of self-expression and labours of love,” says Van Lare.

Van Lare has been working in the service industry for nearly 20 years and believes people are valuing quality and community more now than ever before.

“People want better and their expectations are higher,” said Van Lare. “Not only in beer but in food and music too.”

Van Lare thinks the demand is growing because the craft beer scene is mostly male dominated, but women love great beer as well. BrewGals has helped raise money for Hiatus House, Welcome Centre Shelters for Women, House of Sophrosyne and more. These events provide a place where women can share their passions with like-minded women while contributing to the betterment of the community.

Van Lare believes that local breweries offer hope to young artists.

“Hope- that the little guys can make it in a sea of big fish,” said Van Lare. In return, artists provide inspiration for the breweries. “Keep being who you are and showing the world your passion and creativity.”

In a final note she added that Windsor-Essex is a unique location, with thriving scenes both here and in Detroit. She says this is a very special area we live in and for our collective and continued community improvement – she strongly urges people to go out and support local breweries and artists.

“Whenever we can all work together, something great will always come out of it,” said Van Lare.


Kevin Blondin
By Kevin Blondin June 6, 2017 16:54

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