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Uncommon Quality Goal of Common Crown

Common_Crown-common_sizeWho in heaven’s name would give up a successful career in film to open a brewery? Hanging out with the likes of Ang Lee, Anne Hathaway and (my favourite in the list) Allan Hawco of Republic of Doyle fame.

Twin brothers Damon and Andrew Moreau for two. Both were involved in the film industry, Damon as a camera operator and Andrew in art production before moving to run a construction company. But a few years ago the two were ready for a different kind of adventure, and being entrepreneurial types and beer lovers, found their attentions drawn to beer.

The end result is Common Crown Brewing in Calgary, which will start brewing beer in a couple of weeks and should have product available in October. I had a chance to talk with their Head of Sales and Social, Brock Stuart, about where the brewery is at and what their plans are.

“They were looking for a new avenue. both brothers are entrepreneurial,” says Stuart. He notes that they had been homebrewing for a few years and had totally caught the beer bug, so opening a brewery was in their imaginations. “They looked at new legislation and decided to give it a shot. They wanted to take their garage beer and take it to the masses.”

The two brothers, along with a silent third partner, are setting up Common Crown to be about “local and social”. “The whole concept is to bring high quality craft beer to everyday Albertans,” says Stuart. “We aim to bring high quality at affordable prices. We want the stigma around our brewery to be that we are trying to do as many things as local as possible and that we are bringing the social together.”

Part of their vision of social is people putting down their technology and talking face-to-face. “When the  taproom opens, we want it to be a gathering space like we used to have before technology. We will showcase local agriculture, local music, local art. We want to create events and support local charities.”

Stuart sums up their mission. “We want when people think of Common Crown they think of a fun place to go, to meet people, and a place to be yourself and have a pint with somebody.”

The brewery is located in northeast Calgary, just a block from Tool Shed. They envision the 60-70 seat tasting room to be a gathering point and an anchor for their business.They have a 24hl brewhouse with three fermenters to start. The plan is to package the beer in cans and offer crowler (canned growlers) fills at the brewery, as well as the usual kegging. The hope to start with three mainstay beer and add in rotating seasonals, some of which will be canned and others a keg-only product. Despite the brothers’ homebrewing skill they have hired a professional brewer, Olds College grad Tyler Rose.

“We are trying to bring quality to everyday Albertans, so we want to try new styles and push the envelope with styles we don’t normally see in Alberta,” says Stuart. “We are trying to push the envelope to advance craft beer scene, so that people can experience these styles that they might not even know of.” While their mainstays will be fairly standard, they are looking to their seasonals to try something new. “Some of our current ideas include ESB, Scottish Wee Heavy, and Doppelbock. More European styles not readily available yet around here, but you can find elsewhere.”

The first three beer are Brewmaster Blonde Ale, Journeyman IPA, and Coppersmith Brown Ale. The names reflect the brewery’s philosophy. “The are named for who are skilled, who work with their hands, who are not afraid of work but also stress quality and are proud of their work at end of day,” says Stuart.

Speaking of names, the name Common Crown comes out of a personal habit of one of the brothers. “Damon was known in the industry for wearing a plain black baseball cap.” Through some research he discovered that hats were traditionally called “common crowns” to reflect the working class nature of wearing a hat. “The name is about anyone willing to put in a hard day’s work,” says Stuart. “They are not royalty, but they wear a hat in everyday life. The work with their hands.”

Calgary, obviously, is their initial focus, but Stuart notes the brothers “want to get out there as fast as possible, and bring our beer to as many people as possible.” There will be some limited distribution to Edmonton and other locations, but within a couple years they hope to have Alberta-wide distribution, although they don’t want to get much bigger than that. But ultimately the main focus is Calgary and building that community connection. “We want to bolster the community in Calgary,” observes Stuart. “When they think of Common Crown we want them to think of a fun place to go and meet people, a place to be yourself and have a pint with somebody.”

As I say, they hope to have beer ready within a month or so. Keep a lookout for Common Crown at a Calgary pub near you. Or better yet, drop by the tasting room (and stop by Tool Shed since you are up there!).





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