Beer Meets Community Spirit at Old Flame Brewing Company
Story by Katherine Ryalen
Can a craft brewery be more than just a purveyor of quality libations and good times? Can it also be a pillar of community support, pulling local businesses together for the success of the whole town?
One of the most well-known attractions in Port Perry is the Old Flame Brewing Company. Its award-winning beers can be found not only at the brewery itself, but on tap in many restaurants and establishments in Durham Region and even in select LCBOs. Despite the phenomenal success it has enjoyed since opening its doors five years ago, Old Flame remains committed to attracting visitors to Port Perry for an experience that showcases not just the brewery, but the entire community.
Owner and visionary Jack Doak proudly admits to being a serial entrepreneur. He says, “I’m a branding and marketing kind of guy, and my expertise is in business development and start-up.” When he opened the doors to Old Flame, it was important to him that the brewery be vigorously immersed in the community. “As a marketing guy, it has always been a philosophy of mine,” he says. “Of course, we want people to come to Old Flame. But really it’s more about bringing people to the town.”
Visitors to the Old Flame Brewing Company are welcomed to a warm and friendly atmosphere in the charmingly restored 1884 Ontario Carriage Works building. Tours of the brewery are free, and can be booked online. The tour is where you will learn all about Old Flame’s initiatives with other businesses in Port Perry in depth, and visitors are encouraged to walk the town to make their own discoveries.
Here is a high-level overview of how it works. To start with, Old Flame has a partnership with nearby Yellowlees Family Farm, where spent grain is collected and provided as feed to the lambs and pigs raised there. The lamb meat then makes its way back to Port Perry, to Herrington’s Quality Butchers, which prepares a fabulous Lamb and Lager pie simmered in an Old Flame Brunette (Munich Dunkel-style lager) gravy.
Other businesses in Port Perry that proudly use Old Flame products in their offerings include: Jester’s Court restaurant which sells Old Flame barbecue sauce; The Pantry Shelf which sells Old Flame-infused butter tarts; Marwan’s Global Bistro which sells Old Flame and Cheddar Soup; Hank’s Pastries which makes specialty bread from Old Flame’s spent grain; and The Nutty Chocolatier which makes Old Flame-infused beer nuts and peanut brittle.
In a day and age where our urban centres in Durham Region are becoming more metropolis-like, and our highways are expanding to meet a growing demand, it is no longer infeasible to travel from places like Toronto to Port Perry. For the idyllic small-town experience, the trip is certainly worth it. “We’re a place where tradition meets cool,” Jack says. “When you come to the town it’s like you’re getting a big hug from all of us. You’ll see that the butcher, the baker, the bistro—they all have a relationship with the brewery.”
“Business needs to be a collaborative effort within its community,” he adds. “We all benefit from that collaborative effort. Because as great a job as we do here, as much fun as we have here, people are not going to come to Port Perry and only visit our brewery. We want people to do some shopping, watch the boats come into the marina, experience our restaurants or have a picnic on the lake. There has to be more than just a singular entity that’s going to draw people to our town.”
Come to Port Perry to discover The Old Flame Brewing Company, and all of our wonderful local businesses. Old Flame is located at 135 Perry St. For more information, find Jack Doak and his staff online at www.oldflamebrewingco.ca, or call 289-485-BREW (2739).