Ottawa West will be home to yet another new brewery this weekend with Nita Beer Company opening their doors on Saturday January 31st at 11am.
We recently interviewed Andy Nita, Chief Beer Officer and Bridget Carey, Chief Financial Officer on what's in store for Ottawa beer fans from Nita Beer Company.
Ottawa Beer Events: How did you get interested in brewing and where did you learn how to brew?
Nita Beer Co: Andy has been interested in brewing ever since he became interested in beer. When deciding what college or university to go to, he got accepted into a brewery school in Scotland but timing and circumstances weren’t quite right for the move. Andy never lost his passion and about 6 years ago, began immersing himself in every bit of beer knowledge he could (other brewers, literature). Andy’s first brew was in 2010 and it was definitely an experience to reflect on for learning. Although Andy has developed a solid beer making process since that first day, Andy still soaks up knowledge from anywhere he can.
What made you decide to open a brewery?
Three things: 1) passion for beer 2) putting together the business plan that says we can make a go of this and 3) more passion for beer.
When do you anticipate opening your doors? Which beers do you anticipate having in your lineup when you open?
January 31, 2015 will be our opening day. Our flagship beer “Ten12” will definitely be available. Our IPA style beer “OPA” may be available but Andy won’t let it go out the door unless it represents a beer that he is proud to serve. You can find out more about our beer styles offered on our website at http://nitabeer.com/pages/our-beer
How much beer will your system be able to produce? Which size of growler do you plan on offering?
We will be able to produce about 70,000L to 100,000L of beer annually with our current system depending on the types of beer that we make … that’s about 200,000 to 300,000 cans of beer. We won’t be offering cans initially (hopefully we will get there sometime this year). Our initial growler offerings are 32 oz (0.95L) and 64 oz (1.89L)
There have been a lot of articles published lately on how there’s a “boom” in the craft beer market – how do you plan to stand out or carve your niche in this expanding market?
Andy used to work in the steel and pulp/paper industries as an industrial electrician. He knows that the more you can control the manufacturing process, the higher the quality of product made. Andy has specifically invested in processing equipment that others may have forgone to enable more control of the beer-making process. Although somewhat unattainable in craft beer, he is striving for beer perfection!
We are also creating relationships for local food. One of our investors has started a hop farm not far from Ottawa. We will using his harvest hopefully starting in the fall of 2015.
We want to make sure our customers have not only great beer but also great beer experiences – for both craft beer lovers and those that are wanting to venture into craft beer but are unsure where to start. We have invested significantly in our storefront at 190 Colonnade Rd to create welcoming space. We will also be creating ways for our customers to know what beer products are available through our website before they make the trek to the retail location to pick up their beer (we want to avoid the we’re “sold out” disappointment). As we solidify our operations and mature, we will start to introduce events like “home brewer night” and other opportunities for people to get together and share.
Finally, we want to make it easy to choose a beer … especially for those people that don’t speak “craft” using terms such as IBUs, malt flavour, etc. Because Andy is a mountain biker and skier, we have created our beer legend using the green dot to double black diamond rating. New skiers know that they generally should not attempt a double black diamond hill on their first venture. Check out the legend on our beer page and look for it in our store to help you make your selection.
Do you plan on requesting a “by the glass” license, allowing you to serve full glasses of beer to patrons?
Yes, our by the glass license will be issued with our retail license.
If you could describe Nita Beer Company in 3 words – how would you describe your brewery?
Great life! Great beer!