Who are you and what is your background?
My name is Mathew Renda. Running a successful beer blog for years, I have developed a keen taste for all things beer. Over the years I have gained extensive and valuable insight along my journey, bringing a wealth of beer knowledge and a true passion for this industry.
Your job and current title?
General Manager of Fenelon Falls Brewing Co.
In what city?
Fenelon Falls, Ontario
A word to define what type of worker you are:
Where does your interest in microbrewery come from?
When my journey started in beer it has always been a dream of mine to operate a brewery.
What makes your beer unique? Why?
Our beers are unique because of our attachment to our area. The styles of beers we have chosen reflect both the people who live and cottage in the area and the history of our town. Located somewhat in the middle of Ontario, we have longtime locals, cottagers from Toronto to Ottawa, and many tourists visiting or passing through. They have a wide range of tastes and preferences of beer and we’re offering familiar classics and modern twists.
What is the size of the brewery (number of barrels per year, etc.)?
We have a 15BBL brewhouse and can scale up to meet demand.
What tools are essential to your life (app, software)?
Google suite and Adobe Illustrator are a big part of my workday.
What does your office space look like?
My office space takes on two different looks depending on where I am working from. When I am working from my home office, my space is surrounded by my dogs and all of my Toronto FC memorabilia. When I am working from the brewery, you’ll find me lockside at my favorite picnic table or anywhere I can find a spot in the brewery from the brewhouse to the back office to either of our taprooms.
Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work?
My calendar keeps my day in order. Once I know what my day looks like, I create my To-do list to keep myself organized.
Any "tips" to improve productivity?
Something that keeps me productive is working item by item on my to-do list. I try not to start a new task until I finish the one in progress.
Can you give us a tour of your local craft beer brewery scene?
The Kawarthas is a booming craft beer destination. We are seeing continued growth in the number of breweries in our area. This growth has helped boost tourism not only in our busy summer season but also in the Fall and Winter.
How do you control the growth of your microbrewery?
We want to ensure we support our community first. This is very important to us as our community keeps us going year-round. Supporting our local area first, allows us to control how far our reach is. Like all growing business, we do not want to rush growth. We want to make sure it is calculated and planned.
What is your strategy for making your beer known? (tastings, festival, etc.) Why this strategy?
We try to get our brand out in front of our customers as often as we can. We do this by attending local festivals, doing tastings with our community and supporting as many events as we can. We also use social media to keep our supporters informed of what’s new at the brewery and what we have planned.
About design, what does your brand represent/reflect? (Can you tell us about the message and reflection behind the design?)
Our brand design originates from our historic building-- a 1800s stone building that housed a hotel (for vacationing families) and a carriage house. The carriage house continued well into the 1970s before it transformed into the building it is today. Our brand represents this pedigree and heritage lineage.
Design: how was it designed? By who?
The brand was designed by the company owners who feel passionate about Fenelon and strive to make the design reflective of its history.
What inspires you and motivates you to go to work every day?
My inspiration for anything I do is my fiance, Deb, and our 3 dogs, Hunny, Roxy, and Bradley. My motivation is the passion I have for this industry, As the saying goes, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I’m fortunate that this saying rings true for me.
What is the best advice given to you?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
What are your end and start routines?
I start and end every day in the same way. Starts by letting our dogs out and a pot of espresso and ends with a cup of tea and some records playing in the background.
What were your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?
Financing is the biggest concern the owners have met--balancing the demands of operating a brewery (without a brick and mortars) to meet demand and building a brick and mortars brewery space to meet future demand. This can drain the pocketbook pretty fast.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a brewery?
We would suggest you 4x the initial budget to properly set expectations. Surround yourself with passionate people, who align to your values and goals, and execute and push hard to the finish line.
Apart from your computer and your phone, what gadget cannot you do without?
My stereo - to be able to listen to my vinyl collection.
Any new projects coming soon? (eg products, etc.)
We will constantly be expanding our brand to bring new styles to our lineup. With the expansion of our brand we will be having weekly and monthly events at our brewery and taproom. With the ability to host great live performers in our event space, we plan on having a constant flow of live music to bring some entertainment to our loyal supporters.
At the end of the day, what kind of beer do you drink to relax?
A stout paired with a fine cigar.