October 2014

Local Support Brews New Economic Generator


Jordan Duff, Economic Development Consultant
Email: Jordan@mcsweeney.ca
LinkedIn: Jordan Duff

Below, Jordan shares an example of a local business and community working together to mutual benefit.

In 2006, Vankleek Hill, a small town in Eastern Ontario, became the home to an independent and family-run brewery: Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company. The journey from concept to business began a couple years previous, as so many brilliant ideas do, over beers. Father and son, Tim and Steve Beauchesne, were discussing their employment future over pints when the idea started brewing. Tim had run a local textile factory in Vankleek Hill for years and the factory was closing down. Both had experience as entrepreneurs and decided to make the brewery their next venture.The beer was initially brewed off-site until the textile factory was transformed into a brewery. Soon, Beau’s flagship beer Lugtread Lager began appearing in Ottawa-area restaurants and bars and within two years, unique ceramic 750ml bottles of the golden goodness was on the shelves of select LCBOs. Presently, Beau’s ships all over Ontario and has recently made headway into Quebec and New York state. The business that once employed 6 people has expanded to 120 employees and is one of the largest employers in town. Through it all, the company has remained fiercely loyal to their hometown and the town has reciprocated.

Take, for example, Beau’s annual Oktoberfest event, started in 2008. The Bavarian beer event began as a small gathering in brewery’s yard before seeing steady growth year after year. This October, the 2-day event raised $95,000 for charity, attracted 14,000 visitors and featured 8 bands, 28 restaurants and nearly 100 varieties of beer. The company spent over $350,000 on local suppliers and services to put on the event. For a town hovering around 2,000 residents, this is massive. And for this festival to work, it requires the support of the community. Volunteers handle ticket lines, beer sales and game booths. The local fire department directs traffic and parking.

This tourism event has become an economic driver for the community. Accommodations are packed, restaurants are full and people are discovering this picturesque small town between Montreal and Ottawa. It is not often that one home-grown business makes such an impact in a community but, as Beau’s and Vankleek Hill have shown, it can happen. This mutual support is crucial as it’s a symbiotic relationship between business and community that is too often taken for granted by either side. This fun event is an excellent example of getting it right.


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fazeel baig 4 years ago
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