Midweek Mugging: Brew Canoe launching craft beer delivery in Ottawa

By Drew May

Have you ever fantasized about local craft beer showing up at your doorstep? Well, Brew Canoe has you covered.

The new subscription service will deliver a curated monthly selection of craft beer brewed in Ottawa right to your door. Subscribers can choose between receiving a six or 12 pack of beer per month for three months, six months or a full year.  

The new business was started by Chris Goodrich, Krista Forward and JP Davis, and will send out the first box of beer on August 1. All three co-founders have a love of beer, Forward said, and started the business to give beer drinkers a chance to try different brews from what the LCBO or The Beer Store has in-stock. Brew Canoe has partnered with eight Ottawa craft breweries so far, including Dominion City Brewing, Cartwright Springs Brewery and Nita Beer Company.

“You visit a microbrewer or a craft brewery and they’ve got ten to 12 diff kinds of beers, two are listed at the LCBO,” Davis said. “It’s a shame that the guy in Toronto that’s really into craft beer can’t get to try it because it’s a seasonal or it’ll just never be listed.”

Brew Canoe is for people who like trying different craft beers and want to be surprised every month. Some months might highlight a single brewery that makes 12 different beers, but other ones will a feature a few cans each from smaller craft breweries.

Forward said she herself gets a variety of monthly subscriptions and the business model also works for beer.

“I would never go to the LCBO and just pick something random off the shelf, so it’s nice to get that in a box, and you’re forced to try it. You might find your favourite new beer,” she said.

The three partners first had the idea for the business last September and have been working on it since. Davis said people are receptive to the idea of getting alcohol in the mail, but some craft breweries have been sceptical of the new idea. Davis said Brew Canoe is the only beer subscription currently in Ottawa and will focus on sending out beers made in the Ottawa Valley. The company sends 500 ml cans as opposed to glass bottles, which weigh more and cost more to ship.

“We can focus on the ones we really like and present the best,” Davis said. “As opposed to just people picking what they want or what they think they want, they get a variety and they try something new.”

All three members of the team have different tastes, which ensures each box from Brew Canoe will have a wide selection. While Davis said he prefers stouts, Forward said her favourites are wheat beers.

“It’s completely different ends of the spectrum, which I think is part of the fun because I still like trying stouts but I’ll never order one in a restaurant,” Forward said.

The actual experience of drinking craft beer is different from mass-produced beer like Molson Canadian or Alexander Keith’s, she said. Mainstream beers are all similar in taste but smaller breweries have room to experiment with tastes and flavour profiles. People might not like all 12 different beers in a particular month, but Forward said part of the fun is inviting people over to sample them all.

“Part of craft beer is the experience and whether or not you’re unboxing that in your house and trying it with a bunch of your friends or you’re venturing out, it’s an experience.”


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