BY ERIN FAWCETT
A local brewery has won two national awards.
Blindman Brewing recently received two silver awards for their Kettle Sour and their Blindman River Session Ale at the Canadian Brewery Awards held in Vancouver last month.
“It feels wonderful. It is humbling as well as really exciting,” said Hans Doef, an owner at Blindman Brewing. “To not be even a year old yet and to have this kind of recognition is amazing.”
Blindman Brewing opened their doors in Lacombe last October but for Doef, a love of home brew began a long time ago.
“I’ve been home brewing for a while,” he said.
Doef and his business partner Dave Vander Plaat have been home brewing for a number of years. “In our heads we were playing around with ideas and the potential about opening a brewery. As we were thinking about it and creating a business plan, four guys from Edmonton joined us,” said Doef.
Matt Willerton, Kirk Zembal and Shane Groendahl came on board as well as Adam Campbell who is the head brewer at Blindman Brewing.
“Dave and I had a business plan in mind and we had some of our ducks in a row, but they helped up us increase our starting capacity and passion and experience,” said Doef. “We ordered our equipment in February 2015 and we received the equipment in August. Prior to that we took the building, which is a double bay wide building and started getting it all ready. We had a really positive start. A lot of start up breweries in our position have a lot of delays and from their initial projections to their actual start up they have about six months of delay time. We only had one month.”
As for their recent awards, Doef said they got a phone call in April from officials after they submitted eight different styles of beer in various categories notifying them that they should be at the awards.
“They said we can’t tell you what happened, but wink, wink, nudge, nudge, you should be at the awards show and you should bring your Kettle Sour and your Blindman River Session Ale,” said Doef.
In addition, Doef said the community of Lacombe has been supportive of the brewery since its inception.
“We have had great support from the top down. City council and the mayor have been super supportive. Kudos to them to have the vision and foresight to know what we are bringing to the City. We are bringing another aspect of tourism to Lacombe and another niche industry that people want to search out. That is a huge positive from council,” said Doef. “And then from the business community and our customers – they have been super supportive and really value what we’re doing. It’s an awesome community to be part of.”