Could “Badger Brown” or “Alphie’s Stout” be next on tap for Niagara’s newest craft brewery? After all, there is a strong connection between Brock and Colton Proveau, founder and one half of Brothers Brewing Company.
Colton is a third-year BBA co-op student at the Goodman School of Business who, along with his brother Asa Proveau, has followed his passion for craft beer and started Brothers Brewing Company. And evidence shows that they are really, really good at making beer. At their April 19 beer release party, their Tandam Pale Ale sold out in three hours.
Their recipe for success includes a passion for beer combined with a large dose of long-term planning. After graduating from Pelham’s E.L. Crossley Secondary School five years ago, the twin brothers realized that there were two things they needed to know how to do well: make beer and start a business. With Ontario’s best beer making and business programs right in their backyard, the only decision left was who went where: Colton was to go to Goodman, and Asa was to study at Niagara College’s brewmaster and brewery management program.
“It wasn’t much of an argument,” said Colton, who is currently studying entrepreneurship. “The skills decided (it).”
As part of his Goodman experience, Colton was committed to getting co-op placement at a brewery. Although it was an unusual request from a business student, the Co-op Programs Office recognized the potential in the promising entrepreneur. It began to send out personalized introductions to breweries large and small that highlighted Colton’s commitment and dedication to gaining relevant experience in the industry.
As Colton built his network in the industry, a chance connection forwarded his resume to Sawdust City Brewing Company in Gravenhurst. The co-op interview was a success. Instead of working at a large brewery as he expected, Colton was going to spend his 12-month co-op term helping to open a craft brewery. And, with four months still remaining of his co-op placement, he is loving every minute of it.
“Sawdust City really helped train me in every aspect (of opening a craft brewery),” Colton said. “And while I know they want to keep me on, they’ve been very supportive about our dreams for our own brewery.”
Colton will be taking most of his entrepreneurship courses when he returns to campus in the fall, but the courses he has taken so far have already made a difference to Brothers Brewing Company.
“We’re starting to work on our business plan,” Colton adds with a laugh. “I often refer back to my notes.”
While the keg is empty for now, it won’t be for long. The Brothers Brewing Company is releasing Rams Wool Oatmeal Stout this weekend - just in time to celebrate the end of exams. Brothers Brewing Company is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $25,000 to help start its craft brewery. Pledge rewards include the opportunity to have a beer named after you. The campaign runs until May 13.
You can also visit Brothers’ Facebook page for more information about the company. Every few weeks a new beer will be on tap at Iggy’s Pub and Grub in Fonthill.