Friday, November 27, 2009

BottleWorks Update

I received this update on our collaborative effort with Operation Come Home today, and thought I would share it:

Since launching in November 2008, the Bottleworks social enterprise has greatly increased its client list and now services more than 45+ restaurants, hotels and condominiums as well as operating 6 Beau’s All Natural Brewery depots around the City of Ottawa. The enterprise is making some significant money with bottle collections and will have the ability to sustain the enterprise for many more years to come. To date the program has hired 14 youth to participate on a full time basis. This opportunity has allowed participants to gain on the job training skills leading to future employment or returning to school. In addition, many of the youth that have worked for BottleWorks have found safe, affordable housing.

Thank you to all the restaurants, hotels, condominiums and individuals who have donated their bottles to us! Your on-going bottle donations and support are very much appreciated.

BottleWorks is continually seeking additional establishments who require bottle collection as well as potential Beau’s drop off depots. Please call 613-860-2323 if you have any suggestions or ideas for our social enterprise.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Free George Wendt! (books, that is)

Hey There,

George Wendt's publisher was kind enough to give us 10 copies of his new book to give away through our blog!

So you will have until November 30 to send in your entry to win a free book, just in time to avoid buying a Christmas gift for somebody.

Here are the rules:

1. Send in something cool.

-This can be a picture, drawing, joke, live performance, a bottle of homebrew, or a receipt for a donation to a charity, or something completely different. It has to be cool, original and awesome. Depending on what it is you can email it to or mail it to

Free George Wendt attn. Steve Beauchesne
Beau's All Natural Brewing Co.
10 Terry Fox Dr., box 279
Vankleek Hill ON
K0B 1R0

2. I will completely arbitrarily and with no official point system award 10 books for the coolest stuff I receive. If I get anything that totally blows my mind, I'll throw in a Beau's hockey jersey (retail price $99) to the coolest, coolest thing I get.

3. You can't work at the brewery or be a relative of someone at the brewery, cause you guys are already pretty cool.

4. Make sure you leave me contact info to send your winnings to you.

George-A-Palooza (a.k.a. Oktoberfest 2009)

So this blog entry is a bit late, but worthwhile nonetheless. We had our first ever Oktoberfest on October 3rd of this year. Technically, last year we had a little shin-dig at the brewery, very low key, but still fun. All year afterwards we had this ongoing debate…are we ready to do a bigger version, or should we wait a year. With 6 weeks to go, on a trip to Toronto with Rob, we had a moment of intense optimism and decided the time was right.

In retrospect, it probably wasn’t, but once you commit, you have to deliver. 6 weeks is not a lot of time to put together a large scale event; but on the other hand, we work a lot harder than average folk, so maybe it was just right. At any rate, we had to find a location, food, entertainment, costumes, work out transportation logistics, print tickets, signs, posters and figure out how to get the word out.

Food wasn’t too hard. We’ve got great relationships with amazing restaurants and chefs, so we started calling them up. Entertainment was kindof tough, but we got lucky that some of the better oompah music wasn’t booked that night, and through other personal relationships we worked out a really cool homebrewing demonstration, kids activities, a keg tapping ceremony and obviously brewery tours and haywagon rides.

Then came the stoke of great luck. My friend George Eaglesmith said he would be coming. George is about the most enthusiastic brewer in the planet and if he was coming then certainly the stars and the moons had aligned and things would be good. Next I heard from Alan McKay of the Members of Barleyment that the other George (Wendt, that is) was doing a promo tour of his upcoming book Drinking With George. Better yet, Alan had been in contact with George’s PR firm about an interview for his Bodensatz website and had actual contact info.

This is where I came in. After about 300 emails and a dozen phone calls, I convinced George and his manager and his PR firm that he should attend our Oktoberfest. His schedule was pretty tight – Cincinnati Oktoberfest with ½ million people, Great American Beer Festival (awesome event if you are lucky enough to get tix before it sells out), and then the Colbert Report. The next morning a flight into Ottawa and boom – this is really happening, George Wendt came to Vankleek Hill.
Oktoberfest itself is a non-stop blur of work and excitement. We were pretty overwhelmed by the numbers of people that came out – we had expected 1,000, hoped for 1,500 and publicly said as many as 2,000 might show up. When 5,000 people arrived we couldn’t believe it.

While the food lasted it was fantastic. The bands were great. George Wendt stayed for an extra 2 hours to make sure everyone got an autograph. And all the homebrewers were excited that a professional brewer named George was so enthusiastic about their set up.


Well, in truth, the beer line ups got out of control for a couple hours and we did run out of food (until the pizza shops in town could start delivering), but 99% of the people who came told me afterwards they had the time of their lives. 1% of the people were very clear that they did not (see comments of long lineups and running out of food).