Located in Northwest New Brunswick, Grand Falls is home to the CCNB Biorefinery Technology Scale-Up Centre, known to many in the region as a resource when looking to open a brewery, distillery, malthouse, or hop farm, thanks to the great R&D happening there. But the town has never been the home to a brewery… until now! Grand Falls Brewing Company has opened their doors this week at 651 Main Street, and currently has four beers available for purchase in their retail shop. We caught up with Marco Ouellette, who is a co-owner along with Denis Gervais, Louis McClure, and Jamie Savoie (also the Head Brewer), to learn more about GFBC, their beers, and plans for the future.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? How did you get into the world of beer?
It all started with a few buddies talking about the possibility of opening a Microbrewery in the Grand Falls area. It was a combination of both a business opportunity and also a fun project among friends. We all had a similar vision in providing an environment where locals could meet, socialize and enjoy freshly made craft beer. We were confident that this would be a place we would all be proud of having in our backyard.
After a bit of homework, we realized the importance of having a good brewer on our team. It was the most important piece of advice we gathered. And we were so lucky to find Jamie. He has 11 years of beer-making experience on his own and his passion and knowledge made him a perfect fit on our team. It didn’t take long to decide that we four would partner up in creating Grand Falls Brewing Co.
What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?
We were off to the races with no finish line in sight. We learned as we went, met weekly, came up with ideas, looked for locales, discussed our vision, talked about product, considered exportation, etc. Every meeting was interesting, knowledgeable and engaging. Every partner had a fair say, an equal opportunity to give his thoughts and ideas and we left no stone unturned. We covered as much ground as we could, or at least as we knew; or more accurately, what we thought we knew. We are very conscious that we are not experts, but we came up with a plan that we all agreed with and we are so proud of the way it is shaping up.
What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
We want to create a variety of quality beers that will appeal to many taste buds: from the newly introduced to the more experienced craft beer enthusiast.
Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next few years?
We hope that three years down the road we are able to look each other in the eye and say “cheers”, and “job well done”. We hope our commitment to quality stands out!
Have you had any assistance from other breweries and people during your road to opening?
We are very fortunate to have Mike Doucette with CCNB-Innov in our backyard. Mike is a mentor for Jamie and a friend to all 4 partners. His knowledge in the craft beer industry and his help with our launch is priceless to us.
Can you tell us about the beers you have available now?
Our Initial offerings consist of 4 beers. Our first one is called Take it Easy, it’s a 4.3% Grisette made with Pilsner malt, wheat and some rye, then late-hopped with Hallertau-Blanc and fermented with a Saison yeast. Hop Dam is a 6.5% IPA hopped with Simcoe and Mosaic, low in bitterness and lots of juicy hops flavour and aroma wrapped in a pillowy body. Next is Knight Rye’der, a 6% Rye Stout made with English malts and fermented with a clean American yeast, resulting flavors include chocolate, mild coffee, cookies and toffee in a creamy mouthfeel. Our final offering is a Gose named Holé, a 4.3% sour beer typically made with coriander and salt but in this one we added loads of lime juice and zest, lending a beer reminiscent of a lime Margarita.
Beside those 4 initials beers we plan to make lots of one-offs and seasonal beers. Variety is the spice of life!
What are your plans for distribution: How can folks drink your beer?
We are focused on building the most beautiful taproom we can for our area. Our number one goal is to have our very own locals proud to come to GFBC. Once that is established, we want to branch out and bring our knowledge of beer diversity to our beautiful province of NB, then to the Maritimes. We are committed to bringing a quality product to the table and will continue to grow from there. We will be selling in traditional pours of glasses, pints, and samplers in our 175 seat taproom, which we will be opening soon, when the final touches are complete. In the meantime, our retail shop is open for can sales, which will be complemented with growlers and kegs in the future.
We have received lots of interest from restaurant owners to serve our beer in our region and we will definitely visit those opportunities in the near future.
Let’s get nerdy, and chat with Jamie Savoie! Tell us about your brewhouse and capacity.
Our brewhouse was manufactured by Criveller and it’s a three vessels 10BBL (1200 litre) system along with four 20BBL (2400 litre) fermenting vessels.
For our first year, we are aiming to produce around 100,000L. Year 2 we aim to double what we did the previous year.
Care to share some info on your history with beer?
I’ve been homebrewing all-grain for more than 10 years now. Both Jason from Les Brasseux d’la Côte and Mike Doucette from CCNB-Innov have been great tutors, helping me transitioning from small scale to large scale.
Do you have a favourite style of beer to brew or ingredient to brew with?
I like incorporating a local or a wild ingredient in some of my beers. I also love just trying a new hop variety or a new yeast strain.
How about a favourite style or category of beer to enjoy at the end of a long brewday?
I do love a wide variety of beer styles. On draft at home I always have an array of either: a saison or something light, hoppy beer, malt focused beer or something sour. In between I also enjoy bottles of big beer like imperial stouts, mix fermentation or barrel aged beers.
Thank you and congratulations to Marco, Denis, Louis, and Jamie on their launch this week! If you are in the area, we highly recommend visiting the brewery to grab their beer, in order to support them in these unprecedented times. They are open 2 – 8 PM Monday to Saturday at 651 Main Street in Grand Falls. Keep on eye on their Facebook and Instagram for the latest news on new beers, taproom opening, and availability at licensees in the region. Here’s some insider info, their Hop Dam IPA won’t last until the weekend, so if you were interested, head there today! Cheers!