Last week, the Blasters sat down with Paige Cutland, Co-Founder of Hogsback Brewery, to introduce them to the Blasters Fans and talk about the success of their business, their upcoming 2nd Year Anniversary Birthday Bash featuring Barry & the Blasters and why it is important for them to support local charity, like Christie Lake Kids. Naturally we helped ourselves to a cool pint of their Vintage Lager, which did not disappoint. The beer has a nice sweet crispiness to it, slightly bitter and was refreshing on a hot spring day in Ottawa…did I mention that it is also delicious. Here’s what Paige had say.

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[Q]Hogsback breweries was founded by four of your work friends. Tell us how you met and how far back your friendships go?

[A]I knew two of the other three guys from my airforce days, going back to the 80s and 90’s and then I met the third guy when we all started together in high tech. After working together for about 5 years we knew that wanted to do something else other than that type of job, some initiative, some sort of entrepreneurial thing together. Then it was only a matter of figuring out what that was going to be.

Had you had any other ideas other than beer?

I don’t think we did (laughs). I think it was just one of those “we gotta get out of the grind”, and “stop working for the man” sort of thing. The idea came from three of the four of us being at a trade show in Orlando, at some small scale Orlando brew pub. I don’t know who but someone said “you know, there aren’t many of these breweries in Ottawa”. It seemed like that was something maybe worth investigating.

When you’re drinking you tend to solve world hunger and world peace and then the next day you can’t remember how you did it but you know that it seemed like a good idea at the time. Well luckily, we actually remembered the idea the next day! That was the crucial difference of all other great ideas. From that point it took us about 18 months from idea to serving beer. Currently our primary beer is brewed in Toronto but our seasonal beers are brewed locally in Ashton just outside of Ottawa.

Your 2nd year anniversary is coming up and this will be the first time you will be releasing a line of seasonal beers. Can you tell us about the different types and when can we expect to see them on menus?

Sure, there will be one beer about every three months that will come out for a limited period of time, about 4 – 6 weeks. The first one is a Scottish Ale which will be released a week before the Barry and the Blasters event. The next one will be coming out in July, and then November and then probably January or February. We are not yet sure what they will be so stay tuned.

I’d like to talk a little about Christie Lake Kids. Being a young company, why have you decided to support local charity this soon in the game?

Well honestly, that is one of the very cool things about having an endeavour like this. Part of is just the regulations, it is very hard for us to give beer away. For example we are allowed to give away a six-pack sample but we can’t give away a keg of beer to anybody…but if you are a charity, we can. A keg of beer costs us “X” but the money you can raise by selling a keg of beer at normal prices can be ten times that. So, it is very rewarding to support charity by supplying the beer because to us it doesn’t cost very much and the amount of money it can generate for a charity is a lot…it’s a win win and has been one of the really nice, unexpected spin offs of running the business.

Finally, one of the main programs that Christie Lake Kids offers is providing a summer camp experience to underprivileged youth. We wanted to know your favourite summer camp memory.

Well, maybe more recently, my kids have always been lucky enough to go to summer camp and have always loved the experience. I didn’t get to go to summer camps as a kid but being able to send my kids to camp and seeing how much they love it, it really strikes close to home to help provide that experience to other kids.

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Barry & the Blasters will be playing at Hogsback’s 2nd Year Anniversary Birthday Bash on April 21, 2012 at The Elmdale Tavern at 8:00. Tickets are limited and will be sold for $20 by Hogsback Brewery, Barry & the Blasters and Christie Lake Kids.

Hogsback Vintage Lager is a great local beer and the Blasters support their efforts. Check out their website www.hogsback.ca for a complete list of establishments that carry it and try a pint (or two) next time you are out, you’ll be glad you did. Or, pick up a six pack on game night at the LCBO to share with friends.

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