Thursday, October 24, 2013


It's been a few weeks since I've really given you all a full update on our business development process and where we are at on getting this dream into a full reality. So, here's the update as of today.

Re: Location
As most of you probably know, we had been going through the development process with a particular location in mind. Unfortunately, that site fell through despite our best efforts. Since then, we had identified another solid location, but due to the property owner's concerns regarding utility demands, we decided not to proceed.

At this stage, we are fortunate enough to be working very closely with the Business Development office, the Planning Department (and the rest of City Hall), a prominent local property management firm and a couple of great commercial agents. These folks seem to be as committed and enthusiastic in the cause as we are. In fact, I will be visiting multiple potential sites tomorrow with the intent of making some strong and decisive moves.

Re: Licensing
As I mentioned in a previous post, our bond has been approved for CRA and the full submission package is sitting on the corner of my desk ready for delivery...just waiting on an address. Although we could submit it early with revisions pending, I have been advised to wait, as we are SO close to having a fixed address.

Re: Marketing
One of the things that is really blowing my mind right now is the great local response to our concept. I launched a very casual social media presence a couple of weeks ago, more to announce the business to family and friends than anything else. However, the response from the Ontario Craft scene and the beer fans in Cobourg has been overwhelming. We are months away from brewing and I already have preorders for draft accounts. This is a great thing.

Re: What's Next?
Well...assuming that we can shake hands on an available location in the days to come, there will be an unprecedented flurry of activity. Firstly, the quick editing and delivery of CRA and AGCO packages. Next, green light the delivery of the brewhouse equipment. All hands will be on deck for construction and set up to ensure that we are ready to open for business as early in 2014 as humanly possible.

Re: The Name???
The big question that I'm getting is in regards to the name. If, by chance, your location is not on William Street, what will you be called? Hmmm... I've gotten pretty attached to this logo, and the name has come off my tongue so many times that it would seem a shame to change it. What do you all think. Does the William Street Beer Company HAVE to be on William Street?

Thanks for you ongoing interest and support,



Monday, October 21, 2013

Cask Days 2013

It continues to completely inspire me how vibrant and exciting the craft beer scene is here in Ontario. I had the opportunity to attend the Cask Days event at the Evergreen Brick works this past weekend and it was great. The event really does rely on the imagination and creativity of the brewers, and I can't think of another comparable event where you can enjoy such a broad spectrum of beer. All of the attending breweries seem to really rise to the occasion and provided a really fun and exciting experience.

I was also once again humbled by the level of support and enthusiasm that The William Street Beer Co. is getting from this awesome community. Thanks for that.

Congratulations to the Cask Days organizers. It was a great afternoon. We look forward to being a part of the event in the future!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

This little entry is going to seem a little bit more personal than the rest, but there is something just wonderfully reflective about Thanksgiving. This little Thanksgiving post is being written in my backyard during a particularly warm and sunny period of holiday Monday afternoon. I am enjoying a Mill Street Oktoberfest Beer and giving thanks for what will likely be the most busy and exciting fall/winter seasons of my life.

Opening a Craft Brewery is the culmination of a long and often difficult professional evolution. The time is right for great change and there is no question that onward will certainly be upward.

Today I want to give very public thanks to my friends and family who are enthusiastically indulging my endeavours, I want to thank my new friends in Cobourg who have made me feel more welcome than the 416 ever could, and I want to thank my beautiful wife, Karen, without whom I could not have conceived of any of this.

No one ever had an easy time starting a new business, but with all of this support I feel like we can't help but be successful. Thanks to you all.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Gypsy Brewer, Looking for a Home

Friday was a a busy one. We really don't want to lose any ground in our timeline, so we're approaching the search for our new location with a level of intensity.

The first thank you of the day goes to the absolutely lovely Julie of the Cobourg Business Development Office who provided me with an updated property availability list on very short notice. We also had the pleasure of meeting with her at her office to go through the listings. Thanks, Julie!

The second big thank you that I have is for Craft Beer Lover and City Planner, Rob. We walked into his office on a Friday after lunch with no appointment and he enthusiastically sat down with us to clarify the answers to some zoning questions and with his help, our options are fairly clear. Thanks, Rob! we sit...with a town that is excited to have their own brewery, people who are excited to buy beer, a gorgeous brewhouse on order and nowhere to set up shop. Bummer. However, we have found some great potential options and I'm hoping that a decision can be made quickly and we can get possession ASAP. I am JONESING to start the brick and mortar reality of this dream.

BTW - I am also in the process of learning a new design platform. See attached image. A) I think I need more practice and, B) Who's the creep in the background?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Our First Little Setback...

Well. Due to an estate agent who was a little less than forthcoming, we seem to no longer have a location for the brewery. Bummer. However, I'm very glad that this has happened now and that we can move forward with the full support of our friends in Cobourg in finding our new home.

It does beg the question, what about the name of the brewery? Isn't it pretty location specific? Umm. Maybe. Let's see what the next week or so holds and we'll get it figured out.

At the end of the day, we are still several weeks away from taking delivery of our brewing equipment, so there really isn't a huge panic and it shouldn't do too much to derail the time lines.

Wish me luck as I head east to scour the town for a new and better home for Cobourg's Nano.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Logo Design

We started going full speed forward on some of the design elements for The William Street Beer Co. branding. First up; logo.

Logos are always a bit of a tough situation, as they are crucial to ALL of your brand imaging and communications, you don't want to change them drastically once they're launched, and it's really hard to decide what I like!

Logo's are like furniture. If you invest in something too outrageous, half the people will hate it and you'll end up wanting to change it after a year. My philosophy is, put your money into something traditional and simple for your core imaging and be more adventurous at other times, like with labels and event marketing. I always reference Muskoka Brewery for this. Their muskoka chair logo could not be more simple. It looks great on a t-shirt and no one will ever get sick of it. However, when they design labels for seasonals, they can be as outrageous as they wish.

So, with no further ado. Here is a brief sampling of what we're looking at for our logo. We wanted to reference the town of Cobourg and the marine association in a very traditional and simple context. Comments would always be appreciated, either here or email me at