Project: Black Lab Brewing Company

"We worked with Gorman & Smith to get our brewhouse up and running after encountering roadblocks in opening Black Lab. We would not have gotten open on time, and possibly not at all, if it weren't for Kyle and his ability to work through any problem. Since then, we have worked with Kyle on an expansion that was completed smoothly and on schedule and for a variety of other brewhouse needs along the way. He is fantastic to work with and his customer service is stellar."
Anne Madden
Co-Owner & Co-Founder
Black Lab Brewing
Toronto, Ontario 

 

Project:

Billy & Anne Madden had a business plan to start up a small neighborhood brewery. Billy was looking for a change of scenery in terms of a career and their frequent trips to Vermont in search for new IPAs gave a direction on what type of business they should start.

After about a year of inspecting commercial spaces, they had their ideal location: an old iron and woodworking warehouse at 818 Eastern Avenue in Leslieville. 

Taking the name from their loyal and trusty Black Labrador mix, Snoopy, they decided on the appropriately named "Black Lab Brewing Company." Since they wanted to be able to bring Snoopy to the brewery, they determined a way for their customers' four-legged friends to enjoy the space as well.  

Challenges:

Shortly after signing the contract to the original brewery equipment supplier and paying all their deposits, a lawsuit forced the manufacturer to go into bankruptcy. Kyle was now out of a job and it was one of Anne's largest anxieties come true. The closure of the supplier meant that they couldn't restart the same amount of work with a new company as their deposits were now held in limbo. Billy, Anne, and Kyle met for lunch to determine what sort of options they could do. There weren't many. 

Kyle started Gorman & Smith in order to help Billy & Anne pull through their massive hurdle. The goal? To keep the brewery near the same budget for the project, with much less of the budget. 

Results:

Kyle contacted many of the former warehouses and shops that had the many pieces to build a brewery. They were scattered across North America and Asia. Some were not willing to help out, but many were. 

The brewery started to get assembled in July & August of 2018, with Connor Deuchars starting to brew in September. They were ready to open the doors in October, only six months after the initial construction plan fell apart. 

Black Lab Brewing Company has gone forward to become one of Toronto's favourite breweries, their openness to canines really helped to connect with their new neighbours. Connor's skills in the brewhouse would result in several "Best New Brewery" awards. Billy and Anne had to hire Kyle again to get more fermenters within the first six months since they consistently had problems keeping their retail beer fridge full of product. 

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