‘Contract’ brewing boom in Ontario stokes debate over future of craft beer

This item originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on July 6th, 2017.

Craft beer in Ontario is booming – there are an estimated 216 craft breweries in Ontario and roughly 120 more that will open soon.

However, this boom has also given rise to a number of craft breweries that aren’t actually breweries at all. You won’t find their address on any walking brewery tours, and you can’t stop in for a sample and a chat with the brewer, because these businesses, known as “contract breweries,” ostensibly rent space from larger, established breweries to make their beer. They often pay a brewmaster to develop recipes, then use host breweries to package and store their beer. Depending on the contract, the brewery can brew and package the beer, or the facility is simply rented to companies which brew the beer themselves.

At one time, they were something of a rarity in the province – two “virtual breweries” opened here every year from 2010 to 2012 – but the number of these companies has skyrocketed in the past couple of years to almost 70, according to the industry news site, Ontario Beverage Network.

It’s a less expensive way to enter the business by skipping the costs associated with real estate, and some posit that contract brewing has flourished because more people see it as an opportunistic way to make a buck in a growing market. Continue reading “‘Contract’ brewing boom in Ontario stokes debate over future of craft beer”

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Five Ways Your Workplace is Killing You

This article appeared in the February 2016 issue of Venture Cover magazine. 

WorkplaceKillingYou

“This job is killing me.”

During a tough day at work you might just find yourself muttering this at your desk… Although this statement is, at its core, a grossly dramatic expression of frustration or exhaustion, studies show that it could actually be true.

A startling amount of research suggests that much of the activity the average person engages in at the work place can be considered detrimental to their health. However, there are many ways to ward off the workplace reaper. Fear not! Here are five ways your job might be trying to kill you, and how you can stop it.

  1. Your chair is making you fat. When you factor in time spent on the couch at home, people with desk jobs are on their butts about nine hours a day. As you can imagine, that’s not great for your health. In fact, researchers have found that people with “sitting jobs” have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease and an increased chance of diabetes.

What you can do: Get up! Make a point of leaving your desk at least once an hour. Be sure to set yourself a timer so you don’t miss your standing break because you are engrossed in your coworkers’ funny forwarded emails. Better yet, inquire about the possibility of obtaining a standing desk in your office! Your heart, and your waistline, will benefit. Continue reading “Five Ways Your Workplace is Killing You”

Professionalism and Social Media

This article appeared in the October edition of the Ontario Dental Assistants Association Journal, the organization’s exclusive member publication that is published three times a year for 8,000+ ODAA members.

We’ve all done it. You get home from a particularly exhausting day, turn on the computer to check Facebook, maybe pour yourself a glass of wine, and you end up venting some of your frustrations about the day you’ve just had.

Harmless right?

Well maybe not.

It certainly wasn’t in the case of Kaitlyn Walls, a 27 year-old in Dallas, Texas who was fired because of something she wrote on Facebook before she even had a chance to start her new job. Walls posted, “I start my new job today, but I absolutely hate working at day cares.” Someone who knew Walls’ prospective employer shared her status update, and as a result, the single-mom saw her job offer rescinded—all because of what she says was venting after a frustrating day.

And while Walls’ case might seem extreme, it’s just one more example of how easily social media, and our perceived “private” lives online, can have an effect on our jobs.

Facebook—and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and whatever thing was probably just invented while I wrote this sentence—can actually get us into trouble precisely because of the the things we like about them: Using social media allows us to be ourselves and to share our thoughts and feelings with people. But that sharing can often be problematic.

Consider the case of Ashley Payne, a teacher from Georgia who was fired because of a photograph of her that was posted to social media in which she is holding a glass of wine and a beer while on vacation in Europe. Payne is now in a legal battle to get her job back but the example proves that even things you say and do on social media in your own time can be considered in the context of employment. Continue reading “Professionalism and Social Media”