Category Archives: Uncategorized

Good Things Update

An update to let you know how our second quarter fundraising efforts went for the Help Us Help Ukraine organization and our third quarter charity choice.

Between April and June, we raised $1,240 through tasting room glass sales that will be donated to Help Us Help Ukraine. Thanks for helping us support this important organization.

For our next quarter, we’re choosing a local organization that provides vital support to multiple Lower Mainland communities.

Between July and September, we will be raising funds for The Purpose Society, a non-profit based in New Westminster who provide a variety of social, health and educational programs together with a continuum of other services.

Sincere thanks to our patrons for their continued support that helps us give back to this wonderful community we share.

Much love,

Team S&O

PS: You may have seen a heart with an S&O in middle adorn a piece of merchandise, a beer label, or a sign at the brewery. This heart signifies Good Things, an initiative that we have started at Steel & Oak to give back to the community we love. When you see anything with the Good Things logo on it you know that proceeds from that item are going to a local charity.

Expansion Disruptions

It seemed impossible. A day that would never come. But here we are, approved permits in hand, ready to get to work!

What’s the plan, you ask? Excellent question!

We’re expanding the tasting room and washrooms so we can accommodate more guests and hopefully reduce our weekend wait-time.

Constructions begins Monday, April 4th.

The plan is to temporarily operate on reduced hours during the week, opening at 4pm. On weekends, we’ll operate normal hours.

The goal is to minimize disruptions and be done within 4 weeks but, well, best laid plans and all that.

We will keep our social media up to date with any updates as they come and do our best to keep you in the loop as we adapt to whatever may arise in the next month.

Thanks, in advance, for you patience and understanding. It’s appreciated!

Temporary Hours

  • Mon – Fri : 4 -10pm
  • Sat : 12 – 10pm
  • Sun : 12 – 9pm

Construction will start Monday, April 4th and we will continue to update the progress and any service disruptions on Instagram and Facebook.

The Commute Collab

Studio Brewing and Steel & Oak collab logo

When our friends at Studio Brewing decided to open their doors, we started the countdown to our first collab with our new neighbours.
What better way to celebrate the short commute between us than with a home and away collaboration brew? But what to make? A lager, obviously. But what kind?

It so happens that in Germany, Cologne (Köln), home of the Kölsch and Dusseldorf, where Altbier reigns supreme, are just a short commute away from each other; 40 mins down the Autobahn.

And that’s called inspiration: An S&O Kölsch and a Studio Brewing Altbier, just a short Commute away. 

We brewed The Commute Kölsch with Heidelberg Pilsner malt for a crisp, clean taste. We added German nobel hops (Perle, Spalter Select and Hersbrucker) to bring a floral, herbal and pleasingly spicy aroma to the table. Fermented cold with a traditional Kölsch yeast, subtle fruity esters linger on the finish before disappearing before the next sip.

On Sunday October 3rd we will be launching The Commute Kolsch at S&O and Studio will launch The Commute Altbier at their brewery. We encourage you to take the commute between our two breweries as both will have food trucks, beer, music and some little bonus swag items to go with your Commute cans.

At Studio:

  • The Commute Altbier Cans
  • Both beers on tap
  • S&O x Studio Buttons
  • Live Music
  • Taps And Tacos Food Truck

At S&O:

  • The Commute Kolsch Cans
  • Both beers on tap
  • Studio x S&O Stickers
  • Vinyl Always
  • Burgerholic Food Truck

We’ve created a handy map to show you how to either, walk, bike, transit, or drive between Studio and Steel & Oak so that you can commute on Sunday, or any other day of the week!

Get Wet with S&O and ABC

Water balloons hitting people in the face

UPDATE: AUGUST 25TH // EVENT POSTPONED

Hey folks with the Thursday looking like it’s going to be cold and wet (and not the fun kind of wet) we’ve decided to postpone the Water Frolic until a sunnier time.

Thanks for understanding.

Team S&O and ABC

Our friends at ABC have challenged us to a friendly duel of water prowess and we want you to join us!

Bring your friends and family (yes this is family friendly) to Hume Park on Thursday, August 26th for what we’re hoping will be the largest Water Fight Frolic New West has ever seen!

Details:

Time: 5PM-Dusk

Date: Thursday August 26th

Location: Hume Park

Bring: Water spraying devices, sponges, picnic blanket, picnic dinner, beverages, swim suit.

A reminder that Hume Park is licensed so you can bring a couple ABC or S&O beers with you. We have also set up a “Park Delivery” option on our online store so you can order beer directly to the Water Fight Frolic.

How to?

  • Order beer like normal
  • Enter in your address
  • Click “ship”
  • Select Hume Park!

Boom, your beer will be delivered for free and cold to Hume Park for 5PM on August 26th! Just look for the S&O tent for pick up.

For now, mark your calendar, contact your friends, wrangle up the kids, and join us for a family friendly evening of beer, laughter, and getting wet.

The S&O Guide to Licensed Parks in New West

We made a digital guide of licensed parks in New West for you to enjoy a beer in this summer!

The City of New Westminster has licensed specific areas in 7 parks around the Royal City. We’ve created a handy digital map and beer pairing guide for you to download below!

Just click the images and save them to your phone.

Remember to tag us in your #NWParkBeers photos @steelandoak to be featured and automatically entered to win some sweet prizes!

If you need to re up on your New West Park Beers, you can always order at neatstuff.steelandoak.ca!

Licensed Parks in New West Map
Licensed Parks in New West Beer Pairing Guide

#NWParkBeers can be enjoyed until dusk at the 7 designated parks.

The City of New Westminster will be displaying signage around the parks so that you can easily identify if you are in the proper area for public beer enjoyment!

Please enjoy responsibly and fingers crossed that licensed parks in New West could be come a permanent fixture in our city!

Sustainable Fish Now Available at Steel & Oak

Skipper Otto at Steel & Oak

We’re super excited to partner with a rad company called Skipper Otto.

Skipper Otto is transforming the seafood industry. They cut out the “middle person” to provide members with complete transparency around what their fishing families are catching, where, and how.

They’re keeping independent small-scale fishing alive in BC’s coastal and Indigenous communities, protecting our valuable ocean resources, and ensuring customers have direct access to wild, sustainable, totally traceable seafood.

Here is how it works!

  1. Members sign up and pay before the fishing season starts to secure a share of the catch and to support small-scale fishing families.
  2. Skipper Otto works with independent fishing families, who hit the seas knowing they’ve got a guaranteed market for their catch, and are fully supported by fair, living wages. They catch only what is abundant and sustainable that fishing season.
  3. Members take their pick of the catch by placing an order online, choosing from Skipper Otto’s selection of sustainable, 100% traceable seafood.
  4. Members pick up their order from Community Partner locations across Canada, like Steel & Oak!

Sign up here so that you can conveniently pick up your seafood with your beer at S&O!

What is ZOIGL? Look for the Zoiglstern to find out!

What is a Zoigl? Well, it’s a historical experience.

The name Zoigl is from the Franconian vernacular for “sign.”

In Franconian home brewing, a Zoigl was a six-pointed blue-white star, shaped from two triangles similar to a Star of David. 

In northeastern Bavaria during medieval times every landowner had the right to brew their own beer at home. Zoigl would often be brewed in a communal brewhouse and each brewer would then take some home to ferment in their own cellar.

When the beer was ready they would put up that 6 pointed star which they referred to as a Zoiglstern. This signified to neighbours and passers by that the beer was ready to drink and folks would just walk into these homes and enjoy Zoiglbier until it was gone.

Zoigl is a form of Kellerbier but with highly kilned malt, giving it an amber colour and a malt forward flavour. It’s less hop forward than a traditional Bavarian Kellerbier but still has a refreshing bitterness on the finish.

We invite you to our living room (at the brewery) to try our version of Zoigl while it lasts!

Steel & Oak COVID-19 Safety Plan

We are committed to follow all the guidelines mandated by WorkSafeBC and the official Public Health Order. The plan includes our increased safety protocols and required usage of PPE.

https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

Our goal is to create a workplace that is aware and responsive to changing needs as a result of COVID-19. Our awareness and diligence will help reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission. 

  1. Reducing the number of people in the business at one time and creating more space between customers and staff.
  2. Adding physical barriers where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing. Providing PPE and training staff on proper usage.
  3. Establishing the new guidelines, rules and cleaning regiments and train staff accordingly.

     PHYSICAL DISTANCING

To reduce the risk of person to person transmission we will:

  • reduce the number of customers to maintain 6ft distancing at all times
  • provide sanitization stations for customers and staff to use before service and after using washroom
  • wear Personal Protective Equipment (mask, visor, gloves)
  • not hug, shake hands or any other physical contact
  • place markers on floor for safe distancing
  • post directions to inform customers of proper procedures
  • assign tables to customers and seat based on first come, first served
  • seat customers when all guests in the party have arrived
  • enforce all limitations in a respectful manner
  • Serve tables instead of bar self-service
  • have a dedicated service spot at every table
  • stand back at least 3 feet from table when speaking to guests
  • touch only the bottom third of the glass when serving
  • place drinks on dedicated service space at table and guests will reach for their drinks after server steps away.
  • have 2m distance markers for take home counter
  • have marker on floor for 1 person only to wait for washroom
  • keep doors and windows open when possible to allow fresh air into our space
  • clean and sanitize every table, seat and menu between guests

    CLEANING AND SANITIZING 

Routine cleaning and sanitizing will be integral to prevent further infections. To ensure our commitment to the safety of our staff and customers we are only using Health Canada approved chemicals for cleaning and sanitizing. Our glasswasher has been calibrated to dispense the required amount of chemicals to properly neutralize any potential viruses or bacteria. Our promise for continued safety is that we will:

  • sanitize credit/debit pin pads after each use
  • sanitize the fridge door handle after each use
  • sanitize POS system, tap handles, music equipment and common use items regularly and particularly when staff change positions
  • clean and sanitize each table, chair and menu after customer use
  • clean and sanitize washroom every 30 minutes
  • regularly sanitize common areas throughout the workday
  • thoroughly clean and sanitize every surface at the end of each day

STAFFING PROTOCOLS

We have educated all our staff on proper hygiene, sneeze and cough etiquette as well as knowing the signs and symptoms of Covid-19. To ensure staff is healthy and able to create a pleasant experience, they will:

  • stay home if they have experienced any symptoms of Covid-19 or signs of illness and self-isolate
  • inform us immediately and stay home if they have had close exposure to any person positively diagnosed with Covid-19
  • self-isolate after travelling
  • wash and sanitize after arriving to work, taking a break, using the washroom, handle garbage, touching personal phone, eat, smoke, cough, sneeze, blow nose or touching shared equipment or any surface that may be contaminated. Proper hand washing techniques are posted at each available sink.
  • avoid scratching or touching hair, eyes, nose, mouth and face with unwashed hands
  • wear required PPE and ensure that they will not touch face because of discomfort or heat and will keep their PPE clean and sanitized
  • not share any PPE items
  • take care if wearing gloves to not touch face with gloved hands, change them regularly, remove them carefully, dispose of them immediately and wash hands afterwards

To ensure our staff is healthy and happy, we will:

  • have regular conversations regarding health and safety with them to address all concerns so we can improve our Covid-19 response where needed
  • have resource information on Covid-19, bullying and mental health and wellness accessible
  • make sure all visitors for deliveries and service are recorded to assist with tracking in our delivery log
  • actively monitor our social media and guest feedback online and in person to ensure we are not experiencing any backlash or negative engagement with customers
  • manage any difficult situations that may arise accordingly and support the staff during this transition time

CUSTOMER PROTOCOLS

We are so pleased to have our guests join us again and have a few guidelines to make your visit pleasant and safe. To ensure your safety and physical distancing we ask that you are aware of these changes:

  • hand sanitizing stations have been provided on the patio, by the door, the washroom and the to go counter for you to sanitize upon entering and leaving the area
  • groups will be limited to a maximum of 6
  • a host/hostess will greet you and assign a table for your group
  • a server will come and take your order once you are settled
  • please stay seated unless you need to use the washroom
  • only one person may wait in the designated spot for washroom
  • customers required to wait must keep the appropriate 2m distancing
  • customers purchasing to go items will wait in a separate location to those waiting to be seated
  • to minimize contact we ask that you dispose of your own trash in the bins provided
  • one person in your group to be a health contact and register with first, last name and phone number
  • practice safe physical distancing at all times

We are confident that with all of us following these safety precautions, we will all be able to ensure a pleasant experience every visit. Thank you for being patient and considerate of our staff and other guests as we navigate these un-certain times together. We appreciate you and wish you the very best.

Steel & Oak Brewing Co.

Next Steps

At Steel & Oak, we’ve always been proud to be an open and inclusive company and space. A place that all people can be comfortable regardless of the colour of your skin. In taking some time to think since #blackouttuesday I’ve realized that we’ve become complacent. As soon as you think the problem doesn’t apply to you or your business because you’re “not a racist”, you’ve already lost the plot. We recognize this and will change.

This isn’t a short process. It’s a committed journey to education and taking actionable steps to ensure that Black Lives Matter and that our company and we as human beings never stop working towards the society we want to live in.

Steel & Oak Brewing Co. may have Company at the end of its name, but the reality is we are a small group of people who want to contribute and improve our community. We are making the commitment to do better and encourage our fellow members in the craft beer industry to do the same.

What good are words, or social media posts, without action? Action that we as a company and community advocates need to be held accountable to. We have started a company BIPOC Action Group. This group will put yearly and quarterly action items in place to ensure that our company is working towards constant learning and improvement and we will share those steps and action items with you here.

Here are our first steps:

  • Create an internal BIPOC Action Group to create yearly and quarterly goals each year that our company needs to achieve.
  • Review our hiring policies and procedures to ensure that they are inclusive and encourage BIPOC to apply.
  • Staff training on how to confront unconscious bias and how to be an active ally to all BIPOC.
  • Continue to donate to BIPOC organizations as we recognize that action and progress need financial support.
  • Commit to updating this page on what our next goals and action items are and keep you looped in so that you can feel confident you’re supporting a company that walks the walk.

This is just our first step. We understand it is our responsibility to do the work and continually educate ourselves and our team. We also welcome any information, dialogue or resources that you may feel are helpful to improving the lives and opportunities of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Thank you in advance.

Please continue to donate to and support your local charities, initiatives and businesses run by the BIPOC in your community to the best of your means.

Black Lives Matter. Let’s change.

-Jorden

Eleven Boroughs

Okay so this one may cause some debate. Not because of the beer, but because of the name.

First, the beer. Eleven Boroughs is an India Pale Ale. Which I’m told from a couple sources is a very popular style of beer these days. We’re going to make more of these. It’s time. We’ve waited long enough and to be honest I’d like something hoppy that I can take home out of the work fridge.

Eleven Boroughs is hopped with Mosaic, Equanot, Simcoe and Citra for a bright citrus aroma and a juicy tropical fruit flavour. We threw in some pilsner, oat and wheat malt and it swings in at an easy going 5.5% and 44 IBU.

Second, the name. This is where I’ll take the most heat from New West residents. We named this beer after the Eleven Boroughs of New West. Well, at least what I feel are the eleven true neighbourhoods of the Royal City.

The are as follows:

  1. Queensborough
  2. Connaught Heights
  3. West End
  4. Brow of the Hill
  5. Uptown
  6. Downtown
  7. Glenbrook
  8. Queens Park
  9. Victory Heights
  10. Sapperton
  11. Quayside

This can has caused much debate at the brewery about which neighbourhoods are on this list, which ones are lumped together in a larger neighbourhood, and which ones are left off, but we all agree it’s a great tasting beer.

Eleven Boroughs will be available in the Eleventh Borough today! (And yes, that means available at the brewery)

Cheers,

Jorden

 

New Brewers Series Launch

One of the things we’ve always wanted to do was start a bottle conditioned series of beers. Brew some really unique styles on a small scale and put them in a fancy 500ml bottle.

So we did just that.

Our Brewers Series launches with Terra. A bottle conditioned Saison with turmeric, ginger, white peppercorn, and star anise. It’s savoury while still being refreshing and we think you’re really going to dig it.

The Brewers Series beers will be released when the beer inside tells us it’s ready, so they will appear sporadically throughout the year. They aren’t on a schedule, they are brewed when ideas come to us, and they will definitely be a vehicle for our brewers to experiment with new ingredients.

Terra is available now in the Tasting Room and a few cases have gone to select local liquor stores around Metro Vancouver. You can enjoy Terra now or sit one down for a while to enjoy later.

Next up in our Brewers Series will be Secretariat. A Saison conditioned on guava and refermented with Brettanomyces claussenii. You can look for that early in the new year.

Our Farmhouse Fest list is going to be straight fire next year!

-Jorden

 

Analog: After Dark

It’s back! Analog Pop Up Vinyl Shop is on Saturday, November 18th from 6:30-11:00 pm at the River Market in New West!
Record labels, collectors, and vinyl lovers from across Metro Vancouver will gather in our rad city for an evening of music, beer, food, and of course crate digging.
We first launched Analog with our friends from the Arts Council of New West in the fall of 2016. This 3rd “After Dark” Volume will take place in the Food Hall at River Market, 810 Quayside Drive. Easy access from New West Skytrain Station.
Our last event was a huge success and we’ve managed to build a community of vinyl enthusiasts eager to support local labels, shops and collectors. The vibe in the spring was electric and people loved spending an afternoon browsing for records, while also enjoying some amazing music, good food and beer. I think you’re definitely going to like what we’re doing with the “after dark” concept.
Adding to the evening of vinyl shopping and sipping beer, the Arts Council of New West is collaborating with local electronic music outfit Social Medium to program a lineup of DJs playing a range of hip-hop and electro through to house and techno with live video mixing and visuals from local artist and DJ Mutes Ito.
In addition to popular returning vendors Scrape Records, Music Madhouse & Northern Electric are a handful of collectors, new recruits Highlife Records, and internationally recognized electronic music labels Hybridity Music, Pacific Rhythm and Mood Hut.
Also new for this event is a limited edition beer we’ll be launching called High Fidelity!
Analog: Pop Up Vinyl Shop hits River Market at 810 Quayside Drive, November 18th 6:30-11pm. You can pre register here.
-Jorden

Red Pilsner in Cans

One of the biggest requests we get is to put Red Pilsner in cans. Today that wish has been granted. You will now be able to get our best selling Flagship beer in 4x473ml cans.

So a little background on this as some of you may be asking why we didn’t start canning Red Pilsner earlier. Well truth be told, we couldn’t. We just didn’t have the tank capacity to brew enough beer to satisfy the craft beer can enthusiasts. Red Pilsner takes a full 6 weeks for us to make, because of this, we only get 8.666 brews per tank each year. So we could have technically canned earlier but at the expense of new brews that we wanted to make. So we thought we’d wait.

This summer we received two new 10,000L fermentation tanks which will now allow us to not only can Red Pilsner but make more of your other S&O favourites. Plus a few new ones.

So this is really the first step in what will become the new way of doing things at S&O. 473ml Cans, 650ml bottles, 500ml bottles, and maybe even a 355ml 6 pack 😉

You’ll start to see Red Pilsner 4 packs pop up on shelves across BC and you’ll still be able to get the 650ml bomber size for a limited time as well.

Finally you’ll be able to take this beer to the beach, camping, hiking, or on any other outdoor adventure without the worry of carrying around glass.

Hope you enjoy Red Pilsner in cans as much as I will!

-Jorden

Over on Instagram

First, if you aren’t following us on Instagram… c’mon! That’s where the real action is. Here is our feed in an easy to click link.

Now that you’re following us on Instagram I’m super excited to let you know that we are in the process of hosting our first ever Instagram Takeover with local New West resident, Pamela Saunders.

Now I met Pam through the magic of Instagram. When she’d swing by S&O (always with her camera) I’d see incredibly well framed photos pop up on IG afterwards. Pamela would always tag us in them or use our #sobeer hashtag and I’d find myself obsessing over how she seemed to see the world through her camera lens. It was the exact same way that I’d see the world if I was a better photographer. Pam shoots the world the way I see it. Which is freaky… but in a good way…

So I ask Pamela if she wouldn’t mind taking over our account for a week and show New West through her eyes (and lens), with a light sprinkling of Steel & Oak in there so that I can still pretend I’m marketing our brewery.

If you follow our feed this week I think you’ll enjoy the break from my regular banter and see our amazing city through the personality of another.

I really hope you enjoy Pamela’s #sostory this week and I want to thank her for agreeing to take the time to shoot and edit a bunch of photos in a way that I’ll never know how to do. A shoutout to her talented husband Jeremy as well who took the photos that Pam is featured in. They are obviously a New West Photo Power Couple.

Enjoy!

-Jorden

International Women’s Day

I’m sitting here at 8PM on International Women’s Day trying to figure out what to write. Truth be told I was sitting at 8PM last night and 10AM this morning and then again at 6PM trying to figure out how to put on paper (or internet fake paper) how much I appreciate the women in my life.

So although disjointed and likely grammatically incorrect I’m going to start at the beginning and just let it flow…

Steel & Oak wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for my Mom.

I was born in 1983 and growing up as an only child in our household I only knew one thing about women. They were bad ass. My Mom Karen was the epitome of an ass kicking women in the 80s and to be entirely honest through the 90s, 2000s and as I write this she still kicks ass on a daily basis.

Karen didn’t break through a glass ceiling or two, she destroyed them all.

My reality growing up was that all the women in my life (which was basically just my Mom) were at the top. Her hard work, tenacity, and kindness helped her become who she was in business and in life. With those traits she became a top executive and eventually the President of the largest magazine publishing agency in Western Canada. That was Karen’s reality, that was my reality. I understand this was unique in the grand scheme of things, but probably didn’t appreciate it enough until later in life.

Steel & Oak wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Karen’s ability to not only make sure she raised an empathetic, honest and (I like to think) kind kid while still showing that kid what hard work and not taking no for an answer can get you in life.

She’s my hero. I look up to her, and I look for her advice daily as I try and chart my own journey at 33.

Steel & Oak wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for my wife Alissa and my partner’s wife Diana.

In 2012 my business partner Jamie and I had a silly idea to open a brewery in our hometown. If it failed it would strip us of everything we had, it would eliminate the comfortable lifestyle that we had both come accustomed to, and more importantly, it would affect the lives of the two women we loved the most.

When you look into opening your own business it’s hard not to think of the worse case scenario. You plan for success, you prepare for failure.

I’d lay in bed at night talking out loud about “what ifs”. What if this goes wrong, what if this fails, what if no one shows up, what if no one drinks the beer? Alissa would lay beside me and say, “This isn’t going to fail. The four of us will succeed. We have what it takes. You have what it takes.”

If it wasn’t for Alissa’s encouragement, practical thinking and ability to put things in perspective, I would have quit the beer biz before we even started. I know Jamie would share the same sentiment about Diana if he was writing this post. (He’s likely hiking with the dogs while I write this).

Every day I relay ideas and situations that have happened to Alissa and she advises me on the correct way to handle things. She gets paid nothing, but she’s the real brains behind how I operate day to day. If it wasn’t for her I would have fucked this up a long time ago.

Steel & Oak wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Agata, Kat, Heather, Jamie, Rosa, Kristina, Natalie, Enry and Lizz.

If you ask any brewery owner I’m sure they’ll tell you that the most important part of their business is the Tasting Room. It’s the first impression. It can be the last impression. You don’t get any “do overs”.

We are so incredibly lucky to have a team of strong women who run the most important part of our brewery. Your beer can be great, but none of that is relevant if someone has a shitty time while drinking it. Not only is our team of women well versed in beer but they make sure that every experience of a Steel & Oak customer is a great one.

Alissa always reminds me of how incredible the women of Steel & Oak are. I’m sure I don’t tell them near enough. I hope they know how much I appreciate them and how much they are valued. I’m definitely going to tell them after I finish this post.

As a white, 30 something male I sometimes struggle with writing things like this. Who the fuck am I? I literally fit the exact demographic of who (statistically speaking) has it the easiest in life. What I do know is that when I travel to the Craft Brewers Conferences around the United States it’s a bunch of heavy set white dudes with a sprinkling of women. A light sprinkle. In BC it’s a bit better but still not good enough. This is our industry and it needs to change. We know it does. So let’s do better.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the amazing women in our lives. Now let’s act like we do today for the remaining 364.

Cheers,

Jorden

 

Camaraderie and Kindness in Beer

Anytime I do an interview the same question always gets asked. “You guys all seem like friends in the beer industry, even though you are technically in competing businesses. What’s that all about?”

As I’m writing this it’s been just 20 hours since I received the news that our Head Brewer Eric was hit by a semi truck while cycling in Portland with his girlfriend.  Eric is okay (as is his girlfriend Andrea). I always hate writing a lead in sentence like that knowing that people’s hearts might sink a touch before realizing that the worst case scenario didn’t happen, but I really didn’t know how else to put it. Apologies.

Eric was airlifted to a hospital in Portland (I’m not sure which one) but never lost consciousness. From chatting with Andrea (I haven’t spoked to Eric yet) he has “messy breaks in his leg” and will need multiple surgeries as well as skin grafts.  But he’s okay. He’s alive. Which is something you don’t get to say a lot when you hear “semi truck” and “bicycle” in the same sentence.

Luckily we have 2 incredibly well trained and talented brewers that will pick up the slack. For those of you not in the biz a Head Brewer’s job is less hands on and more management; ingredient ordering, scheduling, budgeting and other long term items rather than the day to day process of making the beer. On the outside you won’t notice a difference, Steel & Oak’s beers won’t change while Eric recovers. My admin workload is now a lot heavier but hey that’s what owning a small business is all about.

But back to the original point of this post. Since Eric’s accident I’ve received numerous emails from craft breweries around the lower mainland asking how they can help. “Can we send you a brewer to take some of the workload off?” “Do you want me to swing by on the weekend and clean your kegs so your brewers don’t have to work 6 days a week?” “How can we support you?” I bet there isn’t one craft brewery in BC that wouldn’t offer up help of some sort when another brewery is in need.

And that’s what I love the most about this industry. We are all running small businesses where little things have a larger impact on us than at Molson or Labatts. There is a camaraderie around that. We want to see our friends succeed. We hurt when they hurt, we feel joy when they do. That’s what it’s like when you are part of something bigger than a bunch of small businesses working independently. That’s what it’s like when you are part of a family.  And that’s one thing the macro breweries will never have on us. They spend time trying to figure out how to beat each other while we spend time helping and encouraging each other so that we can grow our industry collectively.

I want to thank all the breweries that have already offered us their support. I’m so happy to be in an industry with such fantastic and kind people who would work an 80 hour week (at another business!) if it meant helping a friend in need, and I’m thankful that our Head Brewer will eventually get to create beer again.

Hug a brewer today.

-Jorden