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Something Good in Business: Four Winds Brewing

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Photo courtesy Four Winds Brewing Co.

Anyone who has tried to start a business knows it’s anything but easy. But the local Mills family sure makes it look that way.

Four Winds Brewing just celebrated their third anniversary since opening a craft brewery in Tilbury Industrial Park in 2013. Started by father Greg with his sons Adam, Brent and Sean, the brewery has already racked up numerous brewing awards and is selling faster than they can make it.

The 2015 Brewery of the Year winner at the Canadian Brewing Awards, Four Winds grabbed gold once again in 2016 for Beer of the Year with their Nectarous Dry-hopped Sour Ale. The brewery also bagged back-to-back gold with their Operis Brett Saison for best Belgian-style Brett Beer.

“That’s pretty special to be regarded as one of the best Saisons in Canada,” says Adam Mills, who handles the marketing and communications for Four Winds and lives in Ladner.

It should be clarified, however, that the Brett won gold in two different categories, as the Brewing Awards separated Belgian Brett Beer from French-Belgian Style Saison.

“Actually, what’s interesting is that as the Craft Beer industry evolves new categories emerge in the judging process,” says Adam.

beeroftheyear_nectarous_001a-2Craft beer is rapidly finding its place alongside wine as a beverage for the discerning connoisseur, as hundreds of micro and craft breweries across Canada compete for your taste buds.

That’s probably where Brent comes in, the brewmaster of Four Winds responsible for churning out 10,000 hectalitres of beer a year. What Brent has produced—with help of course—is nothing short of remarkable.

Four Winds has the popular Saison, IPA, Pilsner, Pale Ale, Berliner Weisse and Oat Porter beers, but they also do very well in their Eurus series, Zephyrus Series, Notus Series and collaborations with other breweries.

Although the family had great confidence in Brent’s abilities going in, they had no idea they would win so many awards so quickly. As for their initial sales projections and volumes estimates, those were easily “blown out of the water” by strong demand.

“We went from the four of us who kind of opened the doors here to 33 people on the payroll now,” says Adam, adding the brewery has had to expand in size several times already just to keep up with capacity.

It’s something that seems nearly impossible to do as the word gets out about just how damn good their beer is. Still, the Mills family have no intention of leaving Delta or losing touch with their roots as a craft brewery.

“We definitely need to be a lot bigger than we are now because the demand is overwhelming and we can barely keep up to it, but we’re not going to be some massive brewery.”

One thing Adam is quick to point out is that they’ve assembled a great team of like-minded and driven people who are passionate about beer. And although beer is a business with numbers and expenses and bills like any other business, it’s got a big advantage over other industries.

“At the end of the day it’s beer and it’s fun to be around and it’s fun to sell because people enjoy it,” says Adam. “From a salesperson’s perspective it’s one of the better products out there to sell because you’re going into meetings with people alredy excited to try the product.”

You can try Four Winds for yourself by visiting their tasting room at 7355 72 Street in Delta.

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