New brewery to celebrate Canada Day with a few cold ones

Groundbreaking ceremony at Red Barn Brewing Company in Blenheim on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Photo by Allanah Wills)

The owners of a new brewery in Blenheim are getting ready to open to the public in a way they didn’t quite expect just months ago.

Red Barn Brewing Company has received a temporary licence from the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to open a take-out style retail store out of their Brew Room.

The Brew Room Store will launch on July 1 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

“We are finally going to be able to sell our first product!” said co-owner Denny Vervaet.

“We never expected that we would be launching out of our Brew Room but we have had to deal with [COVID-19 restrictions] just like everyone else,” he said. “It’s still exciting for us that we get to have our product out there. It’s not how we dreamed this would happen but it has given us a little more time to get the whole building ready.”

Vervaet along with his wife Sandy and brother-in-law Dan English are the co-owners of the establishment. They received the excise licence in February, nearly a year after officially breaking ground at the brewery’s location on Lagoon Road in April 2019.

Vervaet said the overall process of obtaining a temporary licence for the Brew Room Store went pretty well.

“We had all of the paperwork for the retail side firmed up maybe a couple of months ago, we just had to amend a few things,” he said. “We were able to do a virtual walkthrough with [AGCO representatives] as they weren’t allowed to come on-site. They were really flexible and good to work with and we’re happy that we can at least get to this point. Who knows where we can go from there in terms of opening our patio.”

In the meantime, as the three co-owners get their Brew Room Store ready to open, Vervaet said they’re also finishing the Tasting Room.

“Right now the tough part is, we’re finishing the Tasting Room while we’re in production mode too so it’s double the work and even less sleep but we’re thriving on adrenaline,” laughed Vervaet.

Due to the size of the Brew Room Store and current COVID-19 restrictions in place, only a few customers will be allowed in at one time. Vervaet said customers will be asked to maintain physical distance, however, face masks will not be made mandatory.

“We’re just asking people to be patient with us because this all new to us at the same time… but we’re pretty excited to see the public,” he said.

Vervaet said the brewery will have a few beers available from their “Farm Four” in cans. They will also have their first batch ever brewed called “Batch 1″ available in growlers.

The Brew Room Store is expected to be open on weekends following the Canada Day launch but Vervaet said details are still being worked out.

“We thank the community for all the support they have given us,” said co-owner Sandy Vervaet in a statement. “It’s still unbelievable when we are approached by different people that want to buy our merchandise and then to see it worn around town is really cool.”

Red Barn Brewing Company will be the first farm brewery in Chatham-Kent and has been promoted as a family-friendly, agri-tourism destination.

Vervaet said although they can opt to have their products on LCBO shelves, the three have wanted to keep their beverages exclusive to the brewery and local restaurants. The company has also made a point to use locally sourced ingredients.