Presented x Mondial de la Bière [June 14-18, 2017 - Montréal]
Who are you:
We are Stray Dog Brewing Company – Marc Plante, Justin MacNeill, and Genevieve Benay
Your current job:
Owners/brewers/creators and suppliers of fine craft beer
In which city are you located?
Orléans, ON (a suburb of Ottawa)
A word to define what kind of worker you are:
What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..):
Our brewhouse (equipment), and reliable brewing software
What does your office space look like?
Contemporary rustic industrial, lol
How large is the brewery? Square feet?
Approx. 2300 sq ft (we utilize every inch of the space). The brewhouse is 15 bbl with the capacity to double our output.
The reason you started brewing?
It started out as a passionate hobby for both Justin and Marc. We love beer, and in particular, trying the many styles, flavors, and experimental craft beers available. There are just so many great breweries pushing the boundaries of style and taste, and that is very inspiring. We started to perfect our own style as well as push our own boundaries. But ultimately, our dream was to share our passion with the craft beer loving world. The best way to do that? Open our own brewery!
What was the inspiration behind your brewery? The Stray Dog Brewing Company is more than just craft beer; it represents the spirit of adventure and the courage to pursue the passions that enrich our lives. Many people choose to give up on their dreams because of fear of failure but yearn for something more. Metaphorically, a lot of us feel chained up or held back in one form or another. These chains can be the result of external forces or they can be self-imposed. Justin, Marc, and Gen had the will to break free from these chains and venture out into the unknown. The Stray Dog Brewing Company is about freedom to do what feels right, the defiance of a life of confinement, and taking the risk to do something great, even if it means leaving the security your current life offers. It’s also the way we approach our beer and beer making. While we respect and enjoy many styles, we will enjoy the freedom to not be constrained by a particular beer ‘style’, but rather concentrate on just making the best damn beer we can.
What are the biggest challenges for you as a brewer in Ontario?
So far the biggest challenges as a brewer in Ontario is the license locations that cater to the big macro breweries and not allow any provincial craft brewers on their taps, and in some instances, in their restaurant/pub at all! It’s all very frustrating when you want to expose your brand but you don’t have the marketing budget like a Labatt or Molson to compete with. I call it beer-payola, and it makes for an unfair playing field for small community businesses like ours. So we need to work twice as hard to get our name and brand out there.
What kind of music do you listen to when you are working?
Pretty much anything that makes us happy and upbeat. We have a wide range of musical interests, from 80s punk to modern hip-hop, Americana and folk rock, blues but no country!
Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work?
What tips would you give to improve productivity?
Write things down, plan ahead, know what everyone is doing and don’t duplicate efforts.
What is the best advice anyone has given you?
Find your passion, your hobby, the thing you love to do. If you can do that for the rest of your life and get paid for it, that’s success!
What is your routine start and end of the day?
There is never any routine other than getting kids ready for school. After that, it’s a real crapshoot.
Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
For brewing, it’s my Thermapen.
3 Ontario craft beers that we must try?
Sawdust City, Tooth and Nail, Half Hours on Earth
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?
Don’t get into it thinking you’ll get rich. Don’t do it if you’re not passionate about beer (all styles). It’s so much more than just making an alcoholic beverage – it’s about making people happy, bringing them together. It’s about building a brand and a name and a product that the local community can believe in, rally around, and support. Most of all, it should put a smile on your face every morning and be thankful for doing it for a living.