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Brewer Interview – Turkey Shoot Brewing Co.

Our April 2021 newsletter featured Kyle Stewart from Turkey Shoot Brewing.

OHGA:  When did you open the brewery?

Kyle Stewart: Currently (as of this interview 3/31) we’re still awaiting final inspections and AGCO approval, so we’re in the final stages with a late April target opening.  We will be starting with a soft retail open and then follow up with the opening of our taproom.  Permits are in the works for our patio as well; which we hope to have open by the May long weekend.

OHGA:  Why did you decide to launch a brewery?

Kyle Stewart: Since my time in B.C. I was always a fan of the craft scene, following a few local breweries near where I was living.  Eventually I decided to try my hand a brewing which further developed my knowledge and passion.  It wasn’t long before my then girlfriend, now fiancé, (Jaclyn DiPietro) and I started discussing the idea of opening our own brewery.  Naturally things grew and took off from there.  It was at a Jays game with a University friend, Brennan Roy, that I mentioned the plan to open a brewery.  Brennan was immediately on board to join in on the venture.  Brennan is great with numbers, while Jaclyn is the social media and inhouse marketing guru.

OHGA:  How did you come up with brewery name?

Kyle Stewart: A “turkey shoot” is an opportunity that is easily taken advantage of – a sure shot thing. Despite all our hard work, passion, dedication and planning it turns out that opening a brewery is nothing like a turkey shoot. Our name is a constant reminder to stay humble, patient and be optimistic.  Our logo is a Turkey in early pilgrim attire shooting a hop out of a gun – he comes with some attitude.  We didn’t just want to be Georgina Brewing, Keswick Brewing or anything like that, we wanted a name and logo that would stand out among our peers. 

OHGA:  What’s the cool factor/unique about your brewery?

Kyle Stewart: Georgina located on the Southern shores of Lake Simcoe is a touristy area without any existing breweries.  Our brewery is going to feature rustic décor, live edge wood and really fit in with the local scene – we hope it becomes the local hangout for the folks in that area.  We want to bring a brewery that the residents and community will be proud to call their own – a welcome addition to the community.  A lot of our beers will pay homage to the geographic area in their names, and our goal is to create clean, approachable craft beer that appeals to those not accustomed to craft beer.  My father was a Labatt Blue guy, but now he’s taken with our Lagered ale and has made the switch to craft.

OHGA:  Which brews are selling best?

Kyle Stewart: Pefferlaw Pale Ale and the Lake Simcoe Lagered Ale are our first offerings

OHGA:  How do you decide which recipes to offer?

Kyle Stewart: We don’t take recipe development lightly, we complete many small batches studying our recipes, considering water chemistry, grain bills, yeast and hop selection in great detail before scaling up for a commercial run.  Many variations are trialed before we land on a final recipe, there’s a lot of trial and error 

OHGA:  Where do you sell your beer?

Kyle Stewart: We’re currently in most of the area restaurants which offer our cans for take-out and delivery.

OHGA:  What is your favourite part of being with the brewery?

Kyle Stewart: I love the idea of opening a brewery with my fiancé.  It’ll be a great experience to work alongside one another, doing something we’re both passionate about.  I love the opportunity to grow learn and be challenged.  I’m also excited to keep brewing new beers and watching the folks in the community enjoy what we produce.  I know the town is anxious and excited for us to open shop.

OHGA:  What part of your job do you not like?

Kyle Stewart: Cleaning tanks, the least glamourous part of brewing, as many brewers can attest, it is the most labour intensive and time-consuming part of the process.

OHGA:  Do you buy Ontario Hops?

Kyle Stewart: Absolutely, in fact we buy exclusively Ontario Hops and are always keen to try new hops being grown in the province.  We believe strongly that there’s absolutely no reason you can’t use exclusively Ontario Hops.  We use varietals like Mount Hood, Hallertauer, Triple Pearl and Cascade right now but are excited to try any hops that are grown in this province.  We look forward to meeting the different growers big and small and bringing their hops onto the market through our beers.

OHGA:  What factors do you consider when you are buying hops?

Kyle Stewart: I like talking to the growers, farmers tend to be salt of the earth people that are like minded.  We’re willing to try any hop as long as it’s grown in Ontario. 

OHGA:  What advice would you have for Ontario Hop Growers?

Kyle Stewart: Just fuckin’ hang in there, breweries that start pushing for local ingredients are going to stand apart from ones who aren’t.  Like we said, there’s no reason beers can’t be made with 100% Ontario Hops.  We’d like to see a lot of collaboration with growers, even including logo recognition on our cans.  I think this shows commitment to the growers as we’re partners in this venture.  One thing we’d like to work on is doing season mixer packs of Thanksgiving collabs with different breweries and hop farms featured.  We think this would be a great way to “give thanks” to the growers that produce our ingredients.

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