|Jamieson Kerr on left - Queen & Beaver Public House|
Kerr was the founder and former owner of Crush Wine Bar, a well known restaurant that is now owned and operated by Vintage Hotels, but his true passion led to the creation of the downtown pub. Kerr always has cask conditioned ale available, along with a good selection of other craft beers and great locally prepared food. It wouldn't surprise me if Kerr were to expand his vision and create more like-minded pubs within the city of Toronto in the near future.
How long have you operated your establishment?
We opened on June 15th, 2009
How did you get into the hospitality industry?
I started as a bellhop in a hotel in London, England in 1981. I moved to Canada in 1984 and graduated from Ryerson's Hospitality and Tourism Management Degree programme in 1989. I then moved to Paris and worked at the famous Willi's Wine Bar for a year, before moving back to London to gain knowledge in the wine industry. After 5 years working for Layton's Wine Merchants, I returned to Canada in 1995 and was the sommelier at Prego Della Piazza. I then worked for Steve Campbell at Lifford Wine Agency, before setting up a wine consulting business where I oversaw the opening wine programme at the Harbour 60 Steakhouse. I was the sommelier there for 4 years. In 2002 I opened Crush Wine Bar and owned in for 8 years, selling it to Vintage Hotels in January 2010.
What is the best part of operating a pub?
For me I love the traditions of a pub. The expectations are far lower than fine dining, and people are in a much more convivial mood. I am also a massive soccer fan, and it allows me to watch all of the games with like minded people. All in all I love being here.
What is the worst?
Fortunately we are very busy, and I seem to be working more hours than I did in my last restaurant, which is hard on the family. We recently had our Beaver mascot stolen (although it is coming back). That was upsetting.
How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?
I am a detail oriented person and I love craftmanship, whether it is in shoes or in wine. For me, selecting the finest beer the province has to offer is paramount. It is also important to know the passionate producers.
Where did the name of your establishment come from?
Wy wife came up with the name. It is a marriage of Britain and Canada. The 5 cent coin. There is also a photograph at the Centenary of Winnipeg where the Queen is given 2 black Beavers in a cage (we have yet to get a copy). It is also a bit naughty!
What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
Cask Ale has become incredibly popular. Wish we had room for another.
If you could change one thing about the industry (pub/bar/restaurant), what would it be?
I wish customers understood that we need to turn tables to make money. No shows should be charged. Restaurant owners and employees should be more respected by our Government. We are a massively valuable industry to this economy and we always seem to get the rough end of the stick (G20 anyone!?).
If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
C'est What (for the cask ale).
Harbourd House (John Oakes is a good friend and he has an excellent beer selection).
My local - House on Parliament (although only for the Guinness).
Name the last beer you consumed?
Duggan's Stout (not that impressed)
The Queen and Beaver Public House
35 Elm Street