Kitchener-Waterloo

Guelph breweries team up to promote their suds

Guelph's commercial breweries are collaborating to promote the city's beer culture.

'We have a unique story to tell,' Wellington Brewery's Brad McInerney says of city's beer history

Guelph.Beer is a new group started by the five commercial breweries in the Royal City to promote their product and also collaborate on education and events. (Radio-Canada)

Five Guelph commercial brewers have created Guelph.Beer, an initiative to promote their product.

"This unique association includes brewers of all sizes, ranging from brew pubs to brewers with national distribution who have joined forces to promote Guelph's beer culture," said a press release from the group.

"Together these brewers will be hosting a series of unique events and collaborative marketing initiatives."

The collaboration includes Wellington Brewery, Fixed Gear Brewing, Brothers Brewing, Royal City Brewing and Sleeman Brewing.

The name of the group is also its website. The website lays out a vision that includes supporting each other and the community, drinking responsibly, conservation efforts and being inclusive of race, sexuality, gender and beer style preference.

The group is unique, but Brad McInerney, the marketing manager for Wellington Brewery, said craft brewers are known to collaborate and generally get along.

"We have the Ontario Craft Brewers Association that we work with … but this is an opportunity to focus in on just Guelph and an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of different approaches to brewing beer in this city," he said.

'We all really like beer'

Cam Fryer of Royal City Brewing said other industries don't work together the same way craft brewers do, which can raise some eyebrows.

"People from outside kind of look at us all the time and go, 'you guys do what with each other?'" he said.

"Everyone's in beer and brewing because we all really like beer," he added with a laugh.

"The chance to kind of make things and see how different people do things differently or the same things differently is really beneficial to how we operate and how we run our business as well."

Guelph is also unique, Fryer said, in that it has all sizes of breweries: Sleeman is sold on an international level, Wellington is a big regional brewery, Royal City is a smaller operation and then Fixed Gear and Brothers are are two brew pubs.

"I think we're one of the only places around that has that depth of the industry covered," he said.

Museum exhibit sparked idea

Guelph has a long history of brewing and "we have a unique story to tell," McInerney said, noting it dates back to 1834 — when Sleeman Brewery opened — and 1985 — when Wellington Brewery became one of the first microbreweries in the province.

The Guelph Civic Museum currently has an exhibit detailing the history of beer in Guelph and notes the story began with early independent innkeepers and entrepreneurs, but stopped abruptly in 1930 when there wasn't any brewery in Guelph. That remained the case for nearly 50 years.

"That exhibition sort of put a little bit of inspiration behind this to get together, talk more about how beer is brewed in Guelph and how we can work together to do something a bit more," McInerney said.

"Part of that is giving back to the community through the various charitable initiatives and community events that we take part in."

'Wonderful and collaborative friends'

The breweries are already promoting the collaboration on their social media channels.

Fixed Gear, the newest brewery in Guelph, posted a photo to Instagram saying they feel "really lucky to live and brew in a town with such wonderful and collaborative friends."

The breweries will do some collaborative work when it comes to marketing Guelph as a beer destination, as well as brewing together for some unique beers.

They also plan to host some events together, starting with a launch event on Nov. 24.

Each brewery will run its own event in its taproom and the events include:

  • A Beer Plus! Pop-up Market at Royal City Brewing.
  • Live music at Brothers Brewing.
  • Launch of the UVB-76 stout and live music at Wellington Brewery.
  • A long-distance biking event hosted by Fixed Gear Brewing.
  • Sleeman Brewery will offer samples and will open its historical artifacts room.

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