Co-founder of Beau’s brewery says firm isn’t ruling out a move into recreational cannabis once pot is legalized.
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 CO-FOUNDER STEVE BEAUCHESNE, ON THE POSSIBILITY OF EXPANDING INTO THE RECREATIONAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY
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.