For the longest time this page was simply Who am I. Well now that my partner has officially been added to the team, the question now becomes Who are We? More importantly, how the heck have we ended up at this point where we are starting a brewery in Vancouver!
Officially we are Iain Hill and Aaron Jonckheere, but that doesn’t necessarily mean much to you. What really matters is what has transpired in our lives to risk our own money and time to follow a passion? Well like most people who follow a dream, it started from an early age for both of us.
For Aaron it is pretty simple. He loves beer, as he was raised on beer, and it runs in his family. His grandfather came to Canada from Belgium in the 1950’s, and was immediately struck by the lack of quality beer. As such, he wrangled up all the pieces necessary to be a home brewer, and started making his very own beer. Aaron can remember seeing all his grandpas brewing equipment and being strangely interested in what was happening. Eventually his grandpa taught his father to brew beer, and then his Dad eventually taught Aaron to brew when he was barely 16. Aaron would help his father with various stages of the brewing process (depending on his attention span at the time), and they still brew together to this day. So opening a brewery is really the culmination of a lifelong genetic and habitual passion for beer.
As for Iain, he has been part of the craft beer scene in Vancouver for about 20 years. Iain first fell in love with the idea of brewing at University, where he was trying to decide what he was going to do with his degree in Biochemistry. A career in a lab seemed boring, and life working for a big company seemed strangely wrong. So Iain ended up landing a job at the independent brewer Shaftebury, where his passion for beer really became entrenched. Within a couple years, he started working at Yaletown Brewing Co. where he has spent the past 18 years of his life, refining and plying his trade as a Brewmaster. Iain has always enjoyed the interaction and intimacy a brewpub provides, as he was able to engage with consumers. This connection with craft beer drinkers motivated Iain to brew a wide variety of beer styles, resulting in a deepening passion for both Old World and West Coast beers.
It was about 2-1/2 years ago that Aaron and Iain met, and discussed their passion and their interest in beer. Friends first, the 2 talked about what they loved and what was next in their lives. Eventually this friendship turned into what you are reading and seeing today. The start of a brewery and the fulfilment of a dream that both have long waited for.
I hope you like the information you find here and I look forward to hearing from you. If you prefer, you can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is something you want written about, or other information want us to discuss, please send us a note and we will put our thoughts on paper. Thanks for checking in and I hope we can share a beer sometime.
I am a southern neighbor in the good ole USA and I too am not impressed with beer selections we have available down here. There are tons of craft breweries but they are few and far between given the size of the United States. The farther away from a brewery you get, the more expensive the beer becomes. I can relate to passion for beer and while my family are not brewers (moonshiners), I have had to start making my own beer to fill my need for quality beer. I homebrew right now and have had some pretty great compliments from the beer I make so we will see what my brewing future has in in store.
Just go with it, and one day you will have a great choice to make. With a military pension, you will have nothing to loose. Good luck and I hope that my blog is at least a little bit of a help.
Good luck Aaron. Always follow your passion & you will always be on purpose.
Hey Nicole, How are you doing my friend! I love what you have said, and it has been my guiding light for the past 7 or 8 years. Hopefully your family is doing great and all is well in your life. If you are ever on the West Coast, you have to call me. AJ
I am reading this from sunny Singapore and I am thinking of starting a micro here. I am right at stage 2 at the moment and was wondering on your advice on the business plan. Any particular format/website on writing business plans you would recommend?
Also, I’m still pretty far off from that stage, but regarding the equipment to space point, shouldn’t your equipment you are thinking of procuring determine the space you rent as well?
Wow, you are a lucky man to be in Singapore.
I am not sure how the government is to deal with in Singapore, but that will be the biggest concern you should have. As far as equipment, you need to rent a space first, and then order the equipment in Vancouver, as warehouse space is at such a premium. In your neck of the woods it may be a different scenario. With regards to business plan, I have no specific advice, only that it will be a lot of work but worth it in the end.
Is Singapore ready for craft beer? Have you raised your money? I am sure you will do great, just make sure whatever you make fits with the marketplace and expectations. In other words, if the market isn’t as evolved as others maybe a more transition type beer will suit the local taste buds. Best of luck.
Just stumbled across your blog and look forward to the release of your product. I live in Langley and am astounded at how craft beer is ‘blowing up’ locally. Love your story and believe that knowledge, experience and passion will pour nicely into my glassware.
Thanks for the support. We hope you are able to make the long drive in and share a pint with us. We also know of a bunch of craft breweries starting in your neck of the woods, so your reality may change significantly in the very near future.
Ahhhh Aaron this is so amazing I am so delighted for you! I know you will be successful – all the right ingredients are there-passion, enthusiasm, charisma! Love it! and btw I LOVE the name 🙂
Hope you plan on exporting to Ontario!