Presented x Mondial de la Bière [June 14-18, 2017 - Montréal]
Who are you:
Our company is called Longslice Brewery. We are a small craft brewing company based out of west-end Toronto. The company was founded by myself (Jimmy Peat), my brother John Peat, and longtime friend Sebastian Lesch. The three of us (plus my brother's wife) live together in a house which doubles as our company headquarters.
Your current job:
We all kind of share responsibilities here at Longslice since there is only the three of us. That being said, I typically head up the marketing efforts, John generally takes on the daily operations, while Seb has the responsibility of managing the financial operations of the company.
In which city are you located?
We're located in Toronto, Ontario.
What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
Seb comes from a web development background, so he's made a few little tools for the company that is wrapped up in a back end website that we can access. We use the tools every day. Basically, the app tracks our deliveries, tracks where our kegs are at any given time, monitors inventory levels at our cold storage facility... It's pretty sweet. Other than that we basically communicate through Facebook Messenger.
What does your office space look like?
Our office is in the basement of our house in west end Toronto. We have a couple of desks up against the wall where Seb and I work. We also have our 'living room' down here in the basement which is great because we use the television during our Monday planning meetings to pull up spreadsheets, and emails etc.
The other half of the basement is where we store all of our empty kegs after we retrieve them from the bar.
How large is the brewery?
We are what is called a contract brewing company (for the time being). We produce our beer out of existing brewing facilities in Ontario. We have our own recipes which we essentially pass on to the brewers at the brewing facility, then we go in and work with them on the brew days to make sure everything is going to spec. They are very talented brewers that we work with, which is great!
Currently, we're on track to be producing 200hL per month (or 20,000L). Our goal is to have our own brewing facility up and running in 2018. It would allow us to produce a wider variety of seasonal beers which we're all itching to brew!
The reason you started brewing?
Originally we started brewing in high school to get around the 19-year-old drinking age. There is no legal minimum for buying malt or yeast as it would turn out so we started bootlegging to our friends in high school, haha. But over the years it became a much more serious hobby. Both John and I had produced medals for some home brew competitions. Finally, we decided to take the dive and make beer for a living and launched Longslice Brewery with our Hopsta La Vista IPA in 2014.
What was the inspiration behind your brewery?
Longslice was just a nickname that I had from way back. When I was home brewing at my apartment on College Street in Toronto a few years back, I jokingly labeled my beer 'Longslice Brewery". It was only really meant as a joke at first, but it stuck around. John and Seb both liked the ring of it so we went with it.
We try not to take things too seriously as a company which can be reflected through our marketing efforts. I recommend checking out our Hopsta La Vista mini-series. Episode 1 and Episode 2 are up on YouTube and Episode 3 is coming out on Wednesday!
What are the biggest challenges for you as a brewer in Ontario?
Sales calls are definitely one of the bigger hurdles that we have as such a small company. There's only the three of us, so finding time to go out and do sales calls can be challenging. There are also limited venues to sell your beer in Ontario. There is the LCBO (similar to the SAQ in Quebec), The Brewers' Retail (which is owned by InBev, Molson's, and Sapporo), bars and restaurants, and as of this year select grocery stores. I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth... The LCBO is great! They sell a ton of our beer. It is just something to consider here in Ontario though, that there are no off-sales liquor stores.
What kind of music do you listen to when you are working?
Jeez. We're kind of all over the map. Right now we have a Vaporwave playlist on, before that we were listening to Jethro Tull. Before that, we were listening to Skepta. Sometimes we put on the best Sega Genesis game soundtracks on (Streets of Rage II is pretty dope). I don't know. We listen to everything from hard rock to electronic, to hip hop, to jazz... It really just depends on the day, and what projects we're working on.
John listens to CBC Radio One in the van while he does deliveries. They have some pretty good programming during the day.
Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work?
Well, every Monday we have our weekly planning meeting and go over any upcoming tasks. It helps us stay on track. Then we call the LCBO's if they are running low on our beer. Tuesday's is delivery day for LCBO's, Wednesday's are delivery days for bars, and the rest of the week we use to do other things like sales calls, or catching up on stuff we've been meaning on getting done.
What tips would you give to improve productivity?
Seb is a certified Scrum master. Just breaking big jobs down into smaller manageable tasks is how we've managed to stay on track for so long.
What is the best advice anyone has given you?
Do no harm, but take no shit.
What is your routine start and end of the day?
It different from week to week, we often have different side projects on the go. Like making tap handles, or putting together a short commercial series, or getting ready for an event. But, our usual week includes checking in with and restocking places that currently carry us... and bookkeeping, the paperwork never ends!
Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
The deep fryer we have here at the house. So many tasty trans-fats!
3 Ontario craft beers that we must try?
Hopsta La Vista, by Longslice Brewery
Loose Lips Lager, by Longslice Brewery
Haha... seriously, though, there are so many good things out there right now!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?
It's not all about brewing beer. There's a lot that goes into it that people don't see, and may not be ready for.