A Note from the Chris’
Ninety Six Employees but a Team of Thousands
How does a business that started with three unpaid river bums get to a point where that team is now 96 employees strong? Damned if we know but that team is in reality actually many thousands strong! James, Chris and I started this adventure nearly 5 years ago, brewing in what would later be the bathroom for the Riverside brew pub. We chose that location for 3 reasons.
- Our brew system was small enough to fit in it
- It was easy to heat during the winter
- It had very good ventilation
On any given brew day in the Summer it would reach temperatures of 60C. Walking into the room almost felt like physically walking into a wall of heat. A typical day involved brewing from 6am to 1pm and then going out and doing deliveries while someone else did the reverse. Ryan would have been our first employee. He was a high school co-op student and fit in well as he also wasn’t being paid. He later became an employee and entered the brewers program in Niagara (one of the highlights of our five years). From there it was a slow growth of the brew team who also acted as sales reps, delivery drivers, handyman/women, etc.
The next department to grow was our sales department. The other Chris and I continued to act as sales reps (or beer pimps as I preferred to call myself) as we hired our first and second sales reps. It is only recently (as we have grown capacity wise) that we have grown this team to 11 employees out on the front lines. Despite the pub(s) we are a brewery first and foremost.
When our pub at Riverside opened this is when our family really grew. The number of cooks and servers needed to run even a modest pub the size of Riverside is impressive. 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, means a lot of people have to be ready to jump into the fray sometimes with only a moment’s notice. Add the fact the we source local ingredients and cook from scratch and you might begin to see their importance.
The opening of the Lakeside Brew Pub at the end of October 2016 did not really affect things much as many of those staff from Riverside just came over to the Lakeside location. However, it was at this time that we decided to bring our deliveries in-house and move away from third party delivery companies. This was to improve quality of service and allow us another touch point to interact with our bar clients. We deliver to bars as far south as Windsor/Sarnia and as north as Thunder Bay. These boys move thousands of litres every day and need to do it with a smile as they represent the brewery more often than even the sales reps.
In March, we started brewing at the Lakeside location which was when we had to develop a packaging team. 7000L is a lot of kegs and cans to fill but first you have to clean them all. Add into this the Riverside Brew Pub and retail getting ready to open for the summer and before you know it you now have 96 employees.
Three river bums have done a lot of fun and great things over the last five years. However, the one I’m most proud of is having a team of 96 people spreading the Whitewater love. And none of this could have been without the support of the people and restaurants of the area. Thank you, and take a moment to reflect on what you’ve done in just five years. You’ve done great things but we have greater things to do.
Chris Thompson & Chris Thompson
We’re taking a day for ourselves
Every year, after the Labour Day long weekend we decide its time to reward ourselves after a long Summer of steamy brewing days and loud and busy nights. Tuesday, September 5th both Lakeside and Riverside will be fully closed so we can have a staff trip down the Ottawa River and another loud night. We will be open for regular business on Wednesday, September 6th.
Riverside Closing for the Season
Have you ever noticed that our Riverside location is actually in an old dairy barn? Well its not just for show, and because of this it is actually quite difficult to heat when the temperature goes down. For this and other reasons we will be closing our Forester’s Falls Brew Pub for the season but will open back up in April of 2018. It’s been a great Summer folks and we will see you when the snow has melted. Or in Cobden whenever you want.
Hop on the New Crop
By Head Brewer Sean
It’s that time of year again when the new gorgeous hop cones will be picked and processed. For brewers, this is our Christmas as we get to use up our prior crop of hops and get the super fresh hops. Here at WBC we get 95% of our hops from Houblonniere Lupuline across the river on L’Isle-aux-Allumettes in Quebec. They supply us with all of our hops for Farmer’s Daughter, Whistling Paddler, Class V and Midnight Stout. These varieties are Cascade, Centennial, Magnum and Willamette. We also get some other varieties from them for our seasonal beers like Jacked Rabbit and Triple Eh’. We have found working with this local company to be the best decision we have ever had. They have the nicest staff and are very helpful with whatever needs occur.
Hops are the flowers that come from the hop plant. Hop plants are vine plants that grow long and tall. They can grow up to 20’ during the season. They grow like any vine plant twisting around ropes strung up on poles. As you can see in the picture above they grow very tall. Once the flowers are mature and the lupuline oils are in line with the needs from brewers, they are chopped down and picked. At this point they dry them and either package as whole cone or process through a pelletizer. Most breweries use pellet hops because they last long and you get better utilization from them. Here at WBC we use both whole cone and pellet hops. I’m sure if you have any other questions the fine people at Lupuline Hopyards would be happy to answer them. Either way we should all be happy it’s almost harvest time. Fresh hops for all!
*Photographs from houblonlupuline.com
Cooking with Beer
KLR93 Oriental Duck Sauce
By Head Chef Sarah
Best Paired with KLR93
1 cup plum sauce
1 tbsp. chili powder
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
4 tbsp. KLR93
1 tbsp. soy sauce
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.
Heat in sauce pan until reduced by a third.
Drizzle over pan seared duck breast or use as a dipping sauce for homemade spring rolls.
Kingston Ribfest & Craft Beer Fest
Live entertainment, ribs, craft beer, and a kids fun zone. Fun for the whole family and free admission. And did I mention ribs? For more information look here.
Head for the Hills
Welcome to Georgetown, home of the Head for the Hills Craft Beer Festival. This isn’t just any craft beer festival though. This one day event is entirely volunteer run and benefits local charities. For more information and tickets look here.
Canada Army Run
This military inspired run is everything Canadian Armed Forces. 5k, 10k and Half Marathon are all still available to register for and when you hit the finish line, you’ll receive not only cheers, but one of our beers as well. Check it out here.
Questions from Friends
Is KLR93 available in the LCBO?
Hi Barry. While KLR93 is not yet available in the LCBO we will be applying in the next application window. It is likely you will see it in The Beer Store or select grocery stores as early as this autumn. Cheers.
We want to answer your questions about anything from the beer, the brewery, the boys or whatever else is on your mind. Due to the high volume of questions though, we won’t be able to post every one, but keep your eyes peeled in case yours makes it to the front page.
If your question does get picked you will become the proud owner of a swag bag full of WBC goodies. So ask away!
*Questions from Friends is for general questions in the areas listed above. For personal inquiries please use firstname.lastname@example.org