A Note from the Chris’
At Risk of Poking the Bear…
2017 is behind us and 2018 has started with a lot of controversy. What has surprised me about this isn’t the fact that the minimum wage increase has become a prominent topic of debate, it’s the fact that it didn’t become so prominent until the wage increase was actually implemented.
I find it so surprising because this has at least been lightly covered in mainstream media for at least 4 months prior. I actually found it disconcerting that not many people were talking about the major increase because for us, it was extremely concerning.
At any one time we employ anywhere between 70 and 100 employees (due to seasonality) and while the majority are paid above minimum wage, a significant amount were either below $14 or in close proximity to the $14 dollar mark.
I should point out that I am not against people working lower wage jobs earning more money. I am equally not against the minimum wage being raised to $14 if that is what is deemed to be the lowest livable wage. Our staff are our strongest asset and I want them to be able to work as part of our team, and be able to afford to pay rent, bills etc.
My concern however is because in one giant leap, our yearly wages/salaries rose by over a quarter of a million dollars which comes directly off our bottom line. Now, many supporters of the minimum wage increase have very bluntly stated that the wealthy and greedy business owners need to eat the cost of this increase in their profits, not pay themselves as much and make savings elsewhere. The trouble with this very general and unspecific statement is that there is a clear lack of understanding of who this is really going to effect. The large businesses with vast profits are not my concern. They will eat the cost to some extent, continue to control industry prices as well as increase them if necessary and ultimately consumers will continue to shop with them. The vast and sudden increase will really hurt the small businesses most. Businesses whose owners pay themselves only enough to live on. Businesses that already operate on small margins and struggle to get by on a month to month basis.
I’ve read many derogatory comments about small businesses and how if they can’t be run profitably with a decent livable wage then they shouldn’t be in business at all. Many of these comments are far more rude than that. The issue with that is that so many businesses and small business owners operate on small margins and there is nothing wrong with that. I completely agree that if you are going to commit to employing someone, you need to be able to pay them a livable wage. That being said, the issue that I see is that the wage increase was introduced in a very irresponsible way (too rapidly) that is harmful to the “backbone of the Canadian economy” and was possibly done in this method for an ulterior motive.
I’m sad to say that I have already seen the knock on negative affects of this increase with the closure of multiple businesses that we work with. Those that are still operating have been increasing prices to help cope with wage increase, others have been cutting hours and forcing business owners to work more.
Increasing prices can certainly help businesses cope with the increase in wages however I see one major problem with that. The wage increase has impact on so many industries that if the general decision is to increase prices then I fear that the increased wage becomes irrelevant. Many argue that in the past, increases in wages haven’t resulted in price increases. This however directly conflicts with what I am seeing on a daily basis. I can only hope that the price increases are not in line with the wage increases.
I think the largest challenge that we faced was that employees that already earned above minimum wage wanted to keep the same gap between their wage and the new minimum wage. I found it most challenging because to some extent, their job was still worth the same dollar value, but I can understand how they could feel undervalued. We decided to go back to square one and value each job in our business and set a dollar range for that job role based on performance. Everyone starts at the bottom of that range for the job and can move up with good performance and longevity. Once you have reached the max, the only way for further increases is to get a promotion to a new job. I’m not sure if this solution is the best, but so far it is well received and it has the backing of all our managers which is very important. Ultimately, if you want to be paid more, create value in your role and make a reason to be paid more.
As I stated above, I strongly believe that the minimum wage should be set at a level that provides those income earners with enough earnings to pay bills, eat and get buy on a day to day basis (livable wage). I do however strongly believe that the increase was too much over too short a period of time and was for a hidden political agenda. I feel fortunate that I was aware of the increase well ahead of the implementation date and that I devoted the time to run a forecasts with our accountants to see how it would affect our business. I feel sorry for those that are still struggling with this change and maybe don’t have the same resources to deal with this task and I happily offer my time to assist in anyway that I can. Please feel free to reach out.
I could continue writing on this topic for a long time and I have only touched the surface of a few points that are up for debate in my first attempt at writing an opinion piece. What I have written is by no means correct, however it is absolutely my opinion at this point in time based on what I know. I would happily have continued debate in person or over email if anyone would like to talk more about this however I ask that you please keep it respectful in contrast to so many social media posts that I have seen.
Valentine’s Day is on the Way
But so is Anti-Valentine’s. Come on in and feel the love…or don’t. We will be hosting two separate evenings of Valentine’s festivities for both those who don’t want to celebrate and those who do. Have a look at the events section to see the details. In addition we will be having in store and online retail specials including one we built especially for our blog readers. Order your V-Day gifts for yourself or someone special, online starting February 1st to 14th and use discount code FEELTHELOVE for 14% off your merchandise purchase.
Legion Lager in the LCBO
That’s right! Our Legion Lager is now available in select LCBO locations. If it isn’t in yours yet you can always request that it be brought in. And remember that 5% of every can purchased goes back to the Royal Canadian Legion for Veteran’s programs across the country.
Baby on the Way
For those of you that have been into the Lakeside Brew Pub in the last few months, you may have noticed a growing belly in the kitchen. And no we aren’t talking about the beer bellies. We are talking about our very own Head Chef Sarah who has now left for maternity leave and we wish her well in the coming months. While she is away, Sous Chef Ben will be taking over as Head Chef and we hope you are as excited as we are to see what he can do.
Let’s Raise a Glass to These Two
By Head Brewer Sean
As we grow year by year so does our brew team. This past year was just outstanding with the love and support we got from all of you, but because of this growth I have had a hard time running this brewery on my own. Because of this, we have added some new roles to our brew team. We have added an Assistant Brewer and Head Cellarman and I’d like to take the time to give them a warm welcome and acknowledge their hard work.
Matt Haycock will be stepping into the Assistant Brewer position at WBC. Matt joined our team as a Brewhand in 2017 and has become one of our strongest brewers day after day. Matt came from the wine industry working at reputable wineries like Inniskillin and when he moved back to the Valley he had actually come in for an interview for our logistics department. I sat in on that interview and I’m thankful I did. I scooped him up for the brewery right away and as the months went by his hard-working nature and happy attitude helped him quickly learn the ropes. Now Matt is part of every batch of beer we brew here at WBC. He will be taking over our Riverside pilot brewery as well as working closely with me on all the Lakeside brewing. I can’t wait to see what he can do in the coming years and hear more of his ideas for new seasonals. You can thank Matt for the delicious Cookies and Cream Stout from our 12 Beers of Christmas this past year.
Adam Wilson will be taking over our cellar as Head Cellarman. If you don’t know what the “Cellar” is, it is the cold side of our brewery. This encompasses all the processes and packaging of the cold beer. From fermentors to packaging, Adam will be working hard with me to get the best quality packaged products for you all to drink. Adam came to the Valley and again was looking to work anywhere in our company. With 4 years of cellar experience at Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, he comes with big shoes to fill, and he didn’t disappoint. With in days he had changed some of our tank cleaning procedures and has been instrumental in all of our packaging. With his keen eye to detail and ever growing knowledge of the brewing industry he will help us to grow the cellar into a world class production facility.
In closing, I really am happy with this growth in our team. These two will help WBC to continue to grow and raise the quality of our product even more. If you are ever at either of our locations and have a chance to chat with these 2 passionate individuals you’ll get to see a small glimpse of what makes our team great. I wish them all the best in their new roles and can’t wait to see what new ideas they can come up with. Let’s all raise a glass to these two… a glass of Whitewater beer of course.
Cooking with Beer
Class V Bison Chili
By Head Chef Ben
Best Paired with Class V
2 lbs Ground Bison
10 Tomatoes, cored and diced
2 large red onions, halved and sliced
2 large white onions, halved and sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
2 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 cup Chili powder
1/4 cup Cumin
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 cup water
1 cup Class V IPA
Cook ground Bison. Drain fat.
Add onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook until veggies have softened.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer on medium to low heat for 1 hour. Stir often to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Serve with fresh bread and dollop of sour cream.
One of our annual traditions is to host an Anti-Valentine’s night for those that may not be “feeling the love”. This evening will be full of some not-so-romantic food items, loud music, and definitely no red and pink hearts plastered to the wall. Call 613 646 0101 to make your reservation.
Love is in the air over here at WBC and you can be a part of it this V-Day. Come out for a romantic evening with that special someone in your life. Join us for some lovely specials and romantic music. Call 613 646 0101 to make your reservation.
Questions From Friends
We’ve been to both your pubs before and love the atmosphere for our rehearsal dinner/wedding. Do you ever rent it out?
Hi Tanya, we absolutely do. We hope to host many weddings and private functions in the upcoming season and if you are looking to book something we would be happy to help. All you need to do is contact our General Manager, Steve, to set up the details. Email email@example.com to get in touch.
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