There’s a term in the business world that I love – Bootstrappin’. It’s technically called bootstrapping, but I dropped the “G” for a little street cred. Basically, it’s a business model that requires slow growth from proof of your model to building a solid customer base and growing incrementally from there. This is White Rock Beach Beer Company in a nutshell. It started out with a bunch of teachers who had a passion for beer and decided to give a brewery a go. Thank dog (yes I said dog) they did.
A brewery could not have been received by a neighborhood better. In a relatively sleepy part of town, a ragtag band of misfits, outsiders, and neer do wells frequented this hole in the wall brewery until they reached the point they could open their very own tasting room – a big jump from where they were before.
Where you once saw wire racks filled with growlers, vinyl, and merchandise, you now see a gorgeous bar and tasting room that screams White Rock. If you know the area, you’ll know what I mean. A surfboard hangs above the bar serving as a light fixture; some classic Adirondack beach chairs sit in the corner for an easy pint; even the drink rail along the back wall is fabricated to look like the railing along the White Rock Pier complete with the landmark light fixtures.
Spend five minutes in this place and you’ll feel like you’re home. The owners, Peter and Bill, are some of the more genuine people you’ll find in the industry and take the time to chat to you and learn your story. Over your conversation, they’ll stop and yell out the name of the regulars as they barge through the door. Think cheers, without the dusty dive bar. They’ve quickly become a much-needed watering hole in the middle of a quickly growing community. They may not be the biggest brewery around, they may not make the best beer in the industry, but they certainly treat everyone who walks through the door like an old friend, and that’s the heart that the industry could use more of. I have no doubt in my mind that over the years, White Rock Beach Beer Company will become bigger than they ever thought they’d be- all due to the fundamentals of business: treating your customers like champions…sexy, sexy champions.
If only they had enough beer for flights! White Rock Beach Brewing borders on being a nano-brewery; they really only offer two or three beer at a time. Since the opening of their tasting room this year, they’ve been rolling with two of their own beer, plus a sprinkle of an occasional seasonal- and a guest tap from another brewery around town. The two mainstays are perfect for the market, nothing too intense, one light, one dark; easy to drink and great gateway beers for the community to get hooked on craft:
West Beach Pale Ale – 5% ABV
A very sessionable Pale. It’s perfect for the market, a good balance of hop and malt that one could drink in great succession. I have done it many times, so I should know. My spidey senses give me a feeling this recipe will grow over time and will eventually lean on the more hoppy side of the tracks as the local market develops a taste for craft beer.
East Beach Brown Ale – 5% ABV
This is my go to every time I’m here. You don’t often find brown ales around. Mainly because people tend to shy away from them in general. As the darker beer on tap here, I’m willing to bet they move a lot of it. Like the Pale Ale, it is very sessionable and has this really soothing malty/bready backbone that ale drinkers live for. The flavour is a bit nutty, a bit chocolatey and finish the right level of sweet.
The usual pepperoni and beer jerky fare that you’d find in most tasting rooms are readily available if you’re looking for a snack. For more substantial items… They don’t have the room for a kitchen, nor do they want one. Being smart business guys, they took advantage of their surroundings. Two businesses down, there’s a wicked little restaurant called “the Wooden Spoon”. White Rock Beach Beer has worked out an agreement with the Wooden Spoon that once their lounge license kicks in (sometime in March hopefully), they’ll have a simple menu for the tasting room patrons that the Wooden Spoon will bring right over. That one’s a little stroke of genius, and a great way to dive further into the local community.
This is a great little haunt that keeps growing at a controlled pace. Every time I stop in, there is a growing number of people filling the room. I’ve been following these guys since they opened their doors, at first because they are a brewery 5 minutes from home, but now because it’s an awesome place to go for a casual pint and conversation with one of the wacky locals.
If you’re interested in some my reviews of them, check these links out:
While you’re at it why not check out their website here: White Rock Beach Beer Company