Bud­ding am­bi­tion?

Co-founder of Beau’s brew­ery says firm isn’t rul­ing out a move into recre­ational cannabis once pot is le­gal­ized.

Ottawa Business Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY PETER KOVESSY pkovessy@obj.ca

With leg­is­la­tion to le­gal­ize mar­i­juana ex­pected in the spring, Eastern On­tario’s largest craft brew­ery is rolling around the idea of ex­pand­ing into the recre­ational cannabis in­dus­try, its chief ex­ec­u­tive said re­cently.

Beau’s CEO Steve Beauch­esne made the re­marks in re­sponse to an au­di­ence mem­ber’s ques­tion fol­low­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion to mem­bers of Ot­tawa’s busi­ness com­mu­nity on Oct. 5.

“I don’t want to say cat­e­gor­i­cally no and I don’t want to say cat­e­gor­i­cally yes,” Mr. Beauch­esne said dur­ing the CEO Talk event at Craft Beer Mar­ket. “If there is a way to do it in a way that’s re­spon­si­ble and fun – be­cause for us, if it’s not fun, we just don’t bother – then maybe.”

He added that the com­pany has spo­ken to officials from Tweed, a Smiths Falls mar­i­juana pro­ducer that cur­rently sup­plies pot to li­censed med­i­cal pa­tients but plans to “ag­gres­sively” pur­sue the recre­ational mar­ket once the plant is le­gal­ized.

Mr. Beauch­esne said Tweed is led by “awe­some peo­ple” and said he per­son­ally favoured “free­dom of choice.” How­ever, he said he also had so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity con­cerns about the prospect of ex­pand­ing into mar­i­juana.

“(I) don’t think Beau’s wants to be stand­ing at the fore­front go­ing, ‘Hey, we’ve got a bunch of weed in our beer and now we can get you messed up both ways,’” he said.

“If there is a way to do it in a way that’s re­spon­si­ble and fun – be­cause for us, if it’s not fun, we just don’t bother – then maybe.”


Beau’s is based in Van­kleek Hill east of Ot­tawa and was started in 2006 by Mr. Beauch­esne and his fa­ther, Tim. It’s grown to be­come the re­gion’s largest craft brew­ery, ac­cord­ing to OBJ’s Book of Lists.

It turns out some five mil­lion litres an­nu­ally, and sells its prod­ucts in seven prov­inces as well as New York state, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s web­site.

The com­pany’s beer is brewed with or­ganic in­gre­di­ents and Beau’s it­self is a cer­ti­fied B-Corp, a des­ig­na­tion for firms that meet stan­dards for so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance, ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency.

“If we do the right things for the right rea­sons, growth will be the symp­tom,” Mr. Beauch­esne, a past Forty Un­der 40 award re­cip­i­ent, said.

To help mark the com­pany’s 10-year an­niver­sary, Beau’s started to sell shares in the busi­ness to its em­ploy­ees ear­lier this year. The move is in­tended to al­low the com­pany to keep ex­pand­ing while pre­serv­ing its in­de­pen­dence.

Beau’s is the of­fi­cial beer part­ner of the Ot­tawa 2017 cel­e­bra­tions and, last month, said it was help­ing a Rwan­dan en­trepreneur open a craft brew­ery in her home coun­try.

Josephine “Fina” Uwineza was in Ot­tawa Wed­nes­day evening and said Rwanda has a favourable in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment, par­tic­u­larly for busi­nesses in­ter­ested in pro­duc­ing goods within the African coun­try.


Beau’s co-founder and CEO Steve Beauch­esne.


En­joy­ing Beau’s beer.

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