The Napanee Beer Story
It was 2011 that Geordan Saunders, the founder and head brewer of The Napanee Beer Company first discovered brewing; standing over a boiling pot on the stove of his tiny Toronto kitchen, he fell in love. "I remember looking up at my wife," Geordan says, "and telling her 'I'm going to do this for the rest of my life!'" From that moment on, Geordan was obsessed with one thing: making the very best beer possible.
What followed was years of experimental brewing, voracious reading and never-ending research on the art and science of brewing. Soon Geordan was entering amateur brewing competitions across Canada, and winning medals for style after style; within a year, Geordan was among the top ranked amateur brewers in Canada.
Like many Toronto-dwelling couples, Geordan and his wife decided they wanted to escape the city for the quieter life of Geordan's hometown of Napanee, Ontario. After months of planning, the move home was complete, and work on The Napanee Beer Company began in earnest.
For two years Geordan criss-crossed Ontario, talking to brewers, collecting market data, and meticulously planning to get The Napanee Beer Company off the page and into reality. Then, in the fall of 2015, the pieces fell into place, and with financing and the location established, construction began.
Throughout the quiet, snowy early months of 2016, the walls went up, the equipment arrived, and a team of professionals and volunteers worked to get the brewery ready to open. The May 2016 long weekend saw the "soft opening" of the brewery, with just two beers -- DEADLINE and BLACKLIST -- with the doors open only on weekends. Later that summer the brewery officially opened with the releases of MAYDAY and EXTREMIST, and the current full hours were established.
Spring of 2017 saw a number of important milestones: an official full year of operation, the launch of BLACKLIST in LCBO stores across Ontario, and Napanee Beer being award New Brewery of the Year, along with multiple gold medals, at the Ontario Brewing Awards.
Taking The Napanee Beer Company from a tiny Toronto kitchen to being an award-winning brewery was a long road. When asked whether he'd do it again, Geordan says "Of course I would -- no matter how hard things get, knowing that you're creating something that just makes someone's day is awesome -- it makes it all worth it."