1. What was behind BTP’s inspiration to open a craft brewery? What is your story?
We (Rob and Shane) have been drinking buddies since grade school, and following a trial separation for their mini-adventures, the pair once more met up in Ottawa roughly 11 years ago. Rob tried out Shane’s homebrew during a house party, and soon an idea started to form between the pair.
We saw a lack of well made craft beer that we had enjoyed drinking during our travels (especially when visiting the states) and believed a market opportunity existed to grow a small brewery business here in Ottawa. Beyond the Pale was born using Shane’s Brewing experience and Rob’s business experience.
2. What part of BTP are you most excited and passionate about? How do you communicate this through your brand?
The part that most excites the team is making beers we want to drink. Once we have that in place, we start to have fun naming, designing, promoting and getting feedback about the final product. This is where we get to be fun and silly and show off the company's personality.
As we reach our 10th birthday and continue to grow, we are becoming more passionate about the business aspect and how to continue growing in a fun way while supporting our team and the wider community. This is achieved through the staff we hire, who are unique and quirky, like our beers and help us continue to be passionate about our products.
3. Craft beer has seen a massive explosion in popularity over the past decade. With so many craft breweries, how do you ensure your products stand out in a market saturated with the competition?
We had a lot of early luck, being the 5th craft brewery in the area to open. This allowed us the time to experiment with recipes within a community that was a lot more forgiving—allowing us to master our core line of craft beers.
Now with our core line mastered, we can let our beer speak for itself. We don’t seek to make clones of other beers but instead seek to create beers in a way we want them to taste; we want to have a unique product that you know is ours when tasted, give it that BTP twist.
As for standing out in the market, we are lucky to have a varied team who helps create names, designs, and social media ideas that allow us to keep most of the promotions in-house and grow through organic word of mouth. Many of our final label designs are created by friends of the brewery, which has helped strengthen our bonds with the community.
4. What can you tell us about BTP’s commitment to improving the community through initiatives like “All Hands on Deck”?
We always wanted BTP to be a neighbourhood brewery. We grew up in the area, work there, and want to support our community. We have partnered with various charities and groups over the years, and All Hands on Deck is among our favourites; we support a great cause and show off the talented artists in the Ottawa area. We also get to have epic artwork up on the taproom walls just as spring ramps up into summer, and it is a great reason to visit us and enjoy our massive patio while you are here.
5. Why do you think community initiatives are important for businesses to undertake?
From early on, we knew we wanted to support the wider community and, over the years, have partnered with great groups like the Parkdale Food Bank, Dalhousie Food Cupboard, Ausome Ottawa & the Santa Parade. We guided our customers to these great causes while growing our brand's recognition and trust within the community. It has become a symbiosis of sorts. Through these partnerships, we have earned the support of our local buyers to the point where our most prominent offsite sales location is the LCBO in Hintonburg, located moments away from the brewery. And as we grow through this support, we can now help more charities yearly with fundraising events.
6. What has been your greatest challenge so far while growing your brand and business?
As a business, our biggest challenge has been handling growth; we have gone from a team of three to 60+ staff members. We have had to learn effective systems to help progress the development while ensuring our foundations stay strong. This is something that we continue to learn, and we find the challenge thrilling.
Industry-wise, our biggest challenge has been attempting to convert the 90% of beer-drinkers into the 10% of craft beer drinkers. With such a wide range of amazing breweries out there, it is essential that we can push into that 90% and get the numbers moving over to local craft beer products. It allows us to grow and support our local community, but it also helps create a new wave of excitement about businesses that are so unique and interesting.
7. What kind of brand personality does BTP strive to project to their customers?
At BTP, we believe in fun. Beer should be fun to make, fun to drink, and fun to share. We hope our customers will see this in our product and work style and want to join in the fun. We sure love a party and who better to party with than our regular customers!
8. How do you want your customers to feel when they purchase and consume your products?
Happier than they were before. Beer is meant to be enjoyed. If a customer walks away having enjoyed our beer, our job is accomplished.
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