Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Meet Milos Kral: Chancey Smith's - London, ON

Milos Kral - Chancey Smith's
Meet Milos Kral, the General Manager of the popular Chancey Smith's in London, ON. I had the pleasure of meeting Kral for the first time this summer, when he was in town to pick up with Editor's Circle award during the Golden Tap Awards, and he is a great person to talk beer with.

Known in the beer circles as an extremely passionate craft beer supporter, Kral spends his days off traveling to breweries and other pubs, soaking in as much beer information as possible. He also takes advantage of Twitter where he posts frequent messages about what's new at Chancey's, which is great for fans of the establishment as they know what to expect when they walk in the front door.

How long have you operated your establishment?
Just over two years

How did you get into the hospitality industry?
At age of 15 entered three-year waiter apprenticeship program in Prague at the airport just to be closer to my love: flying machines and everything connected to it. Soon airplanes and hospitality had to share big part of my mind and heart.

What is the best part of operating a pub?
Where do I begin? The social aspect. Every day you get to meet new people, see your friends; celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, new jobs and everything else. I love coming to work. Each day is different and unique, just like all the people that come in. Having conversations with regulars and strangers alike is an incredible experience. I feel privileged to be part of so many lives. This is the greatest job I could ask for!

What is the worst?
Meeting creatures that forgot that they are human beings just like everybody else. Fortunately, there are not too many of them.

How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?
I am very lucky to be surrounded by a group of great individuals who are just as passionate about beer as I am. Our aim is to find every good beer in Ontario (and rest of the world) and bring it to London. Some of them make it only once, some of them become a part (regular of occasional) of our beer list. If needed we are willing to drive to pick up beer directly from the source, if brewery does not deliver to London. The boys in Bracebridge sure looked surprised when we pulled up in old Buick and told them we traveled 388km to buy their beer!

Where did the name of your establishment come from?
Mike Smith named the place after an ancestor who was food vendor in Covent Garden Market in late 1800’s.

What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
The Most Negative: The manic drive of big brewers over past few decades to become even bigger, constant mergers and “responsibility to shareholders” resulted in endless array of bland indistinguishable beers with different names and labels pushed by million dollar marketing budgets. Nobody remembers last year’s biggest hit because there is new one coming this season. Pride in product was replaced by bragging about how many gazillions of liters was sold. Just like Big Mac. When you ask them, the answer sound just like those from The Big Three in Michigan: We make it this way because that’s what people want. REALLY?

The Most Positive: People got fed up with “Big Mac Beers”. The number of small breweries is rising and beer drinkers are supporting small local brewers.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
Scrap government monopoly on selling alcohol, re-write the liquor act, and support small business.

What do you get up to when you’re not at your establishment?
Quite often traveling around, visiting breweries and other establishments, buying beer, getting to know people making it.

If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
Until recently, it was not an easy task because there really was not much of a beer scene in London since Alex P. Keaton closed few years back. Now there are few places: The Morrissey House and Black Shire are the two most notable.

Name the last beer you consumed?
The most memorable is hands down Adil’s Chaos Theory Imperial Wheat Stout that our own Adil Ahmed crafted together with Peter Chiodo and his staff at Flying Monkeys in Barrie.

Chancey Smith’s
130 King Street
Covent Garden Market
London, ON N6A 1C5
Phone 519 672 0384

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