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André Rieux, Brewmaster and Owner at Cartwright Springs Brewery

André Rieux, Brewmaster and Owner at Cartwright Springs Brewery

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Presented x Mondial de la Bière [June 14-18, 2017 – Montréal]

Who are you: 

André Rieux

Your current job: 

Brewmaster and Owner at Cartwright Springs Brewery

In which city are you located? 

Pakenham. Small town just west of Ottawa

A word to define what kind of worker you are: 

People say I’m very passionate about brewing. So Passionate I guess.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..) 

I find that social media is a huge asset to the brewery. My customers can know what’s going on through Twitter and Facebook. 

What does your office space look like? 

It has a tap wall 🙂 Awesome! Our boardroom is outside by the pond. The sound of rustling water flowing down Cartwrights Creek is the perfect environment for creative thinking.

How large is the brewery? 

Our brewery floor space is 1500 sq/ft

The reason you started brewing?

 I found an artesian spring. It was a duty to do something great with that. 

What was the inspiration behind your brewery?

 Since the brewery is located only meters away from the springs the most important thing for us was to be extremely environment-friendly. It is why we chose not to use any chemicals or harsh detergents to clean and sanitize our equipment. The use of OZone and elbow grease does the trick. We also invested heavily in a state of the art effluent treatment system and we are proud to be the 1st in Ontario to implement this solution.

What are the biggest challenges for you as a brewer in Ontario?

Our neighbors in Quebec ask us how we do it. Aside from our complex tax structure we also need to deal with limited distribution methods. We can’t cater to a few “Depanneur” corner stores for selling our beer. Our retail is basically limited to what we can sell out of the brewery.

What kind of music do you listen to when you are working? 

HAHA… depends if my dad is working with me or if Eduardo is. It’s either 70s / 80s or Latino music. Both are easy to work to.

Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work? 

I’ve actually managed to organize myself enough to take a day off once in a while. That’s typically my keg delivery day.

What tips would you give to improve productivity? 

Many people ask me if I ever sleep because it seems that so much gets done. I guess my best tip is not to wait till tomorrow when you can do it today.

What is the best advice anyone has given you? 

Don’t worry. It will all work out in the end.  

YUP… it does… always.

What is your routine start and end of the day? 

I typically start my day on the computer with my cup of coffee.

Then… after the sun is up, I head down to the brewery and fire up the burners to heat up the water. Mill the grain and clean and fill a few bottles while I wait for the water to get to temp. Mash and fill more bottles. Transfer to the boil, measure out my hops… customers typically start and other distractions… but I have my trusty phone alarm to keep me on track for the hop schedule.

Sanitize the hoses and FV then start the wort chilling. We are lucky because we have unlimited cold spring water. At the end of the day we close up and I clean out the brewhouse.  

Ah… I forgot… I can now enjoy a nice pint then head up to the house. Lucky for me the commute is on my own property so I don’t drive after a beer.

Back at the house I typically have a ton of e-mails to reply to while my lovely wife prepares dinner.  

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without? 

My tractor…. I couldn’t live without that gadget. It’s not only a big toy but it allows me to dig myself out of all the snow we got this winter, it helped me excavate the site for the brewery, it helped me do the landscaping around the brewery, it dragged the trees out for us to mill and use in making everything from our tap handles to the bar in the tasting room, it helped me make trails to lead to the maple trees to collect the sweet nectar that we make our Maple Porter with… yeah… pretty much “can not go without”!

3 Ontario craft beers that we must try?

Well.. I’d say there are more than 3… but just in our little valley West of Ottawa, there are 3 you can do in a quick afternoon. Crooked Mile is in Almonte, Stalwart is in Carleton Place and Perth Brewery in Perth… 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?

Come chat with us and spend a few days in our shoes…. and… don’t expect to have any time or money for the first few years. If people like your beer you will need to make more… and more beer requires bigger and more expensive equipment.