Brasseur de Montréal have experienced astounding growth since their creation nearly 10 years ago. Now with close to 20 beers under their belts and two locations in Montréal, the small company that could is unstoppable. We met with Marc-André Gauvreau, co-owner of the company to discuss everything from success to beer recipes.
"I've been in the brewing world for over 30 years" says Mr Gauvreau during a telephone interview. "I've always worked for specialty products, first in importing, then for first-generation microbreweries.” But it wasn’t until Gauvreau met his wife Denise Mérineau and made some fortuitous contacts in the industry that both of them decided to take the leap into entrepreneurship: Brasseur de Montréal were born. “We decided on this on a whim; we just rolled the dice and went for it!”.
They soon discovered their future business space in the Quartier de l’innovation (QI), a neighbourhood that was once almost deserted. "What we liked about it was the industrial zoning, its proximity to downtown and to Old Montreal," explains Mr Gauvreau.
Brewing on site
During summertime, hundreds of people visit their terrace to sip a good local beer and eat some delicious chicken wings, pizza, squid, fish and chips, etc. The Ottawa location, the first and original Brasseurs de Montréal is indeed a restaurant, a pub and a microbrewery. Les Brasseurs produce up to twenty different kinds of beers everyday. “In the microbrewery world, people expect to taste new products regularly.” That's why Marc-André and his team strive to continuously offer new products to their customers.
First time at Brasseur de Montréal?
Be sure to try La Griffintown, their star beer. "It's an affordable, 100% natural beer with no added sugar and no preservatives. It’s very good.", confesses Mr. Gauvreau.
" Since the beginning our philosophy has not been – as some other microbrewers would – to make stronger and more alcoholic beers. Rather it’s to make as many people as possible discover our beers – to create beers for the people. “
The space is also a good reason to visit Brasseur de Montréal. With its minimalist and modern style, high ceilings and abundant natural light it will make you want to stay for a few pints for sure! The solarium, added in 2012, with its concrete floor, large windows and galvanized steel, is also a wonderful space. And so is the green terrace, which boasts “a dozen trees, plants and herbs.", says Mr. Gauvreau.
The menu itself is simple, but truly effective. "Over time, we realized that we were getting more and more business customers, so we updated our menu by offering, for example, duck legs and other finer products.", adds Mr. Gauvreau.
Sustainable development, a main concern
Very involved in innovation and sustainable development, Mr. Gauvreau is certain that being part of the QI will be a benefit to Les Brasseurs. It should be noted that since 2013, Brasseur de Montréal have been the first brewery in North America to receive carbon neutral certification. For Gauvreau, it is essential that the industry rethinks its production methods and innovates in this direction.
And in the future?
In full expansion mode, the company has just acquired three new locals and plans on investing 6 millions over 5 years to support its growth objectives. "This year, we have already bought 7 new fermentation tanks, with the goal of having about thirty of them over the next four years. We have also invested in a new glycol cooling system, a new cane machine, and new floors. We also invested about $1 million to improve health and safety at work to protect our employees”, explains M. Gauvreau. The company expects to triple his production within the next two years.