The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – May 21, 2014
Three new shops help with your hops
The craft beer trend hit Windsor hard with multiple new breweries launching in the city and it’s moving to the consumer level with the introduction of the city’s first craft homebrewing supply shops.
Hop Shoppe, Homebrew Hut and Innovation Homebrewing have all opened their doors to service the growing craft brewing community’s needs.
Ryan Hughes is a beer enthusiast who launched a Windsor craft brewing Facebook page to educate local beer drinkers. He recently organized a craft homebrewing event at Walkerville Brewery to educate beer drinkers and to provide the new suppliers with a forum to showcase their businesses.
“I’m doing different things like this [for] people that are interested in homebrewing and craft beer… there are a lot of local guys opening shops and carrying goods and services that we haven’t seen prior to this in Windsor,” said Hughes.
Dave Smith, owner of Jake’s Windsor Brew Factory, recently launched Jake’s Hop Shop- pe as a separate business to service the very different demographic.
“We’ve been noticing a lot of growth in people coming into the store looking for homebrewing supplies, noticing it’s a younger crowd,” said Smith, explaining that the average age of these customers is between 20 to 35. “I attribute it to places like Walkerville Brewery… the bigger the craft beer industry gets, the more interest there is for people to make good craft beers at home.”
Craft homebrewers can design their brew- ing equipment to be simple or complicated and basic equipment ranges from $70 to a couple hundred depending on the complexity.
“There’s such a rainbow of different ingredients, hops and grains, you can cater a beer to your own particular taste,” said Smith. “Because of the wider range of craft beers that are on the market, you can nar- row it down to a similar style or almost an identical recipe that you want to duplicate.”
John Alvarez, co-owner of Homebrew Hut, said the motivation to open his store came from friends who were tired of not being able to access brewing supplies locally.
“We’re tired of going over to Michigan, of paying duty and the conversion rate, to buy a pound of grain. If there was something that we were missing or other people aren’t open or available for pick up, we just wanted to be able to supply that for ourselves,” said Alvarez. “How can we get around going to Michigan and spending an hour or three trying to buy some hops?”
Alvarez plans to host craft brewing classes at Gourmet Emporium. “Our goal is to shake hands, meet some other local home- brewers, and for people who want to start out brewing beers, we want to make sure that they can do it to the best potential.”
“We want everybody to make good beer,” said Alvarez.
Michael Beaudoin helped to organize the event and he expressed that Windsor has a “surprisingly large” homebrewing community.
“The more we can do to help them to get this underground community really out into the limelight [the better].”
JON LIEDTKE – May 21, 2014
Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.