Here at Cottage Life, we are highlighting the stories of different businesses in cottage country. This week, we spoke with Fenelon Falls Brewing Co. out of Fenelon Falls, Ont.
What is Fenelon Falls Brewing Co.?
We’re an Ontario craft brewery creating quality, hand-crafted beer. Our brewing philosophy is to keep our ingredients and our processes simple so as to create beer that allows its flavours and aromas to shine through. All our beer is brewed without additives or preservatives.
The brewery is housed in an 1800s stone building in Fenelon Falls with two floors overlooking the Trent-Severn canal at lock 34. Both floors are 1,000 square feet with the first floor serving as the brewing area and the taproom/bottling shop, and the second floor for special events and tastings.
How did the business get started?
The brewery released its flagship beers in 2017 with the assistance of our partner brewer. Since then, we opened our bricks and mortar in 2019 and had a fantastic summer before COVID came and slowed the entire world down. But as of summer 2021, the brewery is back and going strong.
Since first opening, we’ve released more than 30 new beers, some of which were partnerships with international causes (All Together Beer), local brewery collaborations (Sawdust City Brewery), and charities (Kawartha Conservation, Ross Memorial Hospital, and Canadian Vets).
What inspired the name?
We’re proud of the town where we brew and wanted to represent Fenelon Falls as a premium craft brewery destination in our own province.
What are your most popular products?
Popular products are our flagship lineup, which can be found in LCBOs and grocery stores across Ontario. They are the Fenelon Vienna Lager, Fenelon West Coast Red Ale, and the Fenelon Italian Pilsner. We also have quite a few exclusive releases. Our Belgium Tripel, for example, sold out fairly quickly. We plan to release the 2020 vintage this upcoming season.
How do you choose which types of beer to brew?
Our brewing vision is to make beer styles very approachable, catering to the laid-back style found in the Kawarthas. Whether it’s our flagship brands, such as our Vienna Lager and West Coast Red Ale, or our award-winning Belgian Farmhouse Saison, we’re committed to creating unique flavour profiles that let the natural ingredients shine through. We enjoy creating a variety of styles that appeal to everyone from simple, straightforward beer lovers, to seasoned craft beer aficionados.
Do the two of you have a favourite beer?
We both enjoy our double IPAs and sours. But our head brewer enjoys his classic European lagers, which is one of our flagship favourites.
What other services does the brewery offer?
We provide tasting rooms across our two floors, upstairs and downstairs. We have a fully functional corporate kitchen to provide food and beer pairings. And since our brewery is housed in a spacious, 200-year old building, part of it has been converted into a brewhouse and the other part has been renovated into a corporate event space where we entertain weddings, private events, corporate functions, and more.
How has the pandemic affected the business?
The pandemic forced us to innovate faster than we thought we could. Expanding our online deliveries was paramount during the pandemic. We had to transform our business model to handle online deliveries very quickly. Then when our taprooms and patio reopened, we were able to add that back to our operations.
What does the future look like for Fenelon Falls Brewing Co.?
We won a bronze medal at the 2020 Ontario Brewing Awards, which was a great first step towards increasing awareness about Fenelon Falls Brewing Co. among the wider brewing community. Our goal is to continue that momentum. Expanding our online deliveries is also crucial to our growth, both in the Kawarthas and Ontario-wide. We want to continue to build our business so that it’s known as one of the top destination breweries in the Kawarthas and eventually Ontario.
And with our restaurant open, especially during the summer when it’s a major draw, balancing the needs of the brewery and the kitchen will be another important act that we’ll need to focus on. As other licensees open up, we also want to expand our keg delivery program.
Do you have a local business in cottage country? Fill out this survey for your chance to be featured.