|Brock Shepherd - Burger Bar CASK! Social|
Since turning Burger Bar into a craft beer hangout, Shepherd has talked about turning the back area of his establishment into a working brewhouse to create his own beer, giving Toronto another brewpub in the future. He has also become one of the most recent pub owners to catch the 'cask ale flu', offering customers real ale at all times.
How long have you operated your establishment?
I have owned BB for 1 1/4 years now.
How did you get into the hospitality industry?
Started as a busboy when I was 17 at RPM Night Club ( Now THe Guvernment/Koolhaus). Became a waiter/bartender there when I was 18. I could serve liquor to people but wasn't allowed to drink there because I wasn't 19.
What is the best part of operating a pub?
All the beers I get to try. I know... I'm supposed to say It's the people!
What is the worst?
Things always breaking down. Staffing problems.
How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?
It has to be Craft and has to be unique. 90% of our beer comes from Ontario, but as long as it's interesting and good from a small brewer, I'm into it.
Where did the name of your establishment come from?
I wanted a no nonsense name. You can understand what we are from our name.
What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
The growth and support of Craft beer, it's snowballing, and the plateau-ing of Big Beer. Craft is growing at leaps and bounds where the big guys aren't seeing much increase. And I like that a lot.
If you could change one thing about the industry (pub/bar/restaurant), what would it be?
The Government strangle hold. Why can't we have Craft Beer stores owned by independents? Get a better selection of out of province and American beers. Why can't we have off-license where you could pick up 6 beers or a bottle of wine from your local bar, we are already handling internal sales. I'm not talking privatization to have beer in corner stores. But open it up a little to those that are already responsibly selling the stuff.
What do you get up to when your not at your establishment?
I'm at home with my Son and my Lady, that's my entertainment now. I go out to lunch a couple of times per week to a handfull of places in the area.
If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
The last time I went out for beer was to the Victory Cafe, they are close enough to home, and have good tap selection.
Name the last beer you consumed?