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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Meet Mike Laba: Cameron's Brewing, Oakville, ON

Meet Mike Laba - Marketing and Promotions for Cameron's Brewing Company in Oakville, ON.

"Brewed by a connoisseur...not an accountant" is the moniker Cameron's abides by and takes to heart. They currently brew an Auburn Ale (great session brew), a Cream Ale and a Lager that are all available in nine packs at select LCBO's and six packs of Dark 266 Lager. They operate a fun brewery, doing unique things with their beer, sponsoring different events and even operate their own on-line blog. So sit back, grab an Auburn Ale and get to know Mike Laba, he says HI!

What are the best aspects of working for a brewery in sales, marketing and promotions?
The camaraderie - among loyal craft beer supporters, curious newcomers to the craft movement and our colleagues and friends in the industry. Good beer brings good people together.

How long have you been with the brewery? Did you work for a brewery before?
I've been with Cameron's for just over a year, but a supporter of the brand long before. I've been in the craft beer world for almost 6 years - 5 years with another craft brewer before Cameron's.

Describe your passion for the beer industry?
Passion in this industry is contagious - we all (breweries within the OCB) believe that we have a strong message and premium products to back it up. Given the close and co-operative relationship Ontario breweries have with each other, I am always dealing with another brewery with something exciting going on - new products, big events, brewery events...etc. The constant successes pump you up and pushes you to further contribute to this craft movement that we are all driving in Ontario. We make (and sell) a fantastic product and I think we all believe that if we can get the product and message into everyone's hands, everyone would buy in to the concept and further develop the movement. That is what drives me.

What are Cameron's plans for summer? Any seasonal beers, continuing cask nights, events etc…..
Cameron's is aggressively pursuing unique trial. To us, unique trial means someone trying a Cameron's outside of traditional vehicles (pubs, beers shows). We want someone to try a Cameron's in a unique setting at a unique event. These range from beer and food events, educated craft beer sessions, partnerships with high end gala's and events and partnerships with loyal organizations.

We want to intertwine our beer with memorable experiences. We will also continue to do our Cask Nights on the last Thursday of every month. The Cask Nights are growing at a good rate and it is a unique event for people who like unique beer and like visiting breweries. We have met a lot of great people through our Cask Nights and in turn, a lot a loyal supporters.

What's new at the brewery? New hires, increase in sales, etc…..
The brewery is in top form. The addition of Head Brewer Jason Britton has been huge for us and he and Adam have made a great team. Volumes are up, packaging run total units are up, production is being managed very efficiently and the brewery looks great.

Our presence in the licensee channel is on a steady rise, LCBO's listings continue to increase. Jon (who handles Toronto) is blazing the Cameron's trail.


Now we're just waiting for The Beer Store to ask us to come on board as a partner, offer us to swap shelf space with Coors Light, and present us with a plan to push out the mainstream brands and only sell Ontario Craft Beer. Stay tuned...

How successful have your cask nights been?
Considering Cask Nights started as a night for only brewery staff, it has been a huge success. We originally made a cask for only us to enjoy. We told some friends and some local supporters and there ended up being roughly 12 people enjoying the first cask.

Cask Night has grown to 60 people every month. We decided early on to cap the event at 60 to keep it intimate. We want to be sure that we have an opportunity to talk to everyone in attendance every month. As I mentioned earlier, we get a great people out for Cask Night.

What is your ideal food and beer pairing? – Using Cameron's products of course.
Lager: I love Jamaican food - I love the heat of it. I really enjoy Cameron's Lager with a spicy jerk chicken because the beer doesn't overpower the spice...it simply cuts it down a bit.

Cream Ale: Whenever I know I'll be eating fish, I bring home a box (or two) of Cream Ale. Prep a lighter fish (Tilapia) with some butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh coriander and the juice of half a lemon. Throw it on the grill until it just starts to flake.
Pour your bottle of Cream Ale into a pint glass and enjoy. This is heaven for me
.

Auburn: This is my favorite beer because I love how it pairs with food...more specifically, how it pairs with meat. I make some pretty legendary ribs with a nice bite to them and no beverage in the world goes better with them than our Auburn. Check out my Rib Recipe

1 comment:

Jer said...

He is a pretty cool guy. I saw the Cameron's guys at the Dogfish dinner and thought they looked like a cool bunch.

Jer

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