As beer lovers, we always look for the next great flavour, variety or beer experience. That search will take us from breweries to festivals and to our backyards all to taste a new beer. What is often overlooked though, is a category which enables everyone to enjoy that amazing beer flavour, but in non-alcoholic format. Our tap truck had the pleasure of pouring Partake Brewing's beer at Mississauga's Modern Bride Wedding Show and Toronto's National Bridal Show. We sat down with founder Ted and team member Will to learn more about craft beer that truly is for us all:
What brought about the idea of Partake, and re-envisioning non-alcoholic beer?
When he was in his early 30’s, the founder and CEO of Partake Brewing, Ted Fleming, gave up drinking alcohol due to a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. However, Ted was a huge craft beer fan and really missed discovering the great craft beer the industry had to offer. So, he tried all of the different non-alcoholic beers on the market, but none of them tasted very good and there was really nothing in terms of variety. So, Ted took it upon himself to create Canada’s first ever non-alcoholic craft beer. After launching his IPA to rave reviews, he has continued to craft award winning styles, including a Pale Ale and Blonde Ale, with a Stout and Red Ale launching soon. Not only do these beers taste great, but they are a class-leading 10-15 calories a can!
Have you seen the perception of Non-Alcoholic beer change as the brand continues to grow?
I think there has definitely been a positive change when it comes to the perception of non-alcoholic beer. However, there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to breaking down the stigma that surrounds non-alcoholic alternatives. Drinking alcohol has become such an engrained part of our social lives that it can sometimes be difficult to separate the two. Those who choose a life of sobriety can often feel alienated in these types of social situations. A lot of this can be attributed to the lack of good non-alcoholic alternatives in the past. Having healthy and tasty options, as well as a brand story that a lot of people can relate to, will only help towards breaking down this stigma. With people becoming more and more health conscious, and the craft beer movement in full swing, the need for good, craft non-alcoholic beer is at an all-time high.
There's been some surprising groups of people that have taken to drinking Partake; can you talk to why those groups love the beer and the use they have for enjoying it?
I think when people look at who might be drinking non-alcoholic beer what immediately comes to mind are groups of people who don’t drink at all. These would include designated drivers, people with certain medical conditions, religious abstainers, pregnant women, or those in recovery. These groups are obviously all a part of our customer base. However, what may go unnoticed by many, and what defines a core segment of our market, are people who still drink alcohol, but are starting to supplement their normal drinking routines with our non-alcoholic beer. A lot of these people are very fit, active, and health conscious, so our beer aligns very closely to these lifestyle goals. It could be that their trying to cut back on their drinking by making us their weekday beer. Or perhaps they’re on a particular diet, like keto for example, where they can only have a small intake of carbohydrates on a daily basis. You even have some people who say they stagger Partake’s into their drinking routine by switching over after every 2-3 alcoholic beers on what may be a long day of drinking. It’s no wonder Men’s Health magazine named our IPA the ‘ultimate session beer’! Finally, an often forgotten category of ‘situational abstainers’ are mid to high level athletes, such as those training for a marathon, ironman, bike race etc. It’s great to be able to have a refreshing, great tasting beer post-workout without any of the ill-effects or guilt!
What changes would you love to see in the beer industry to help small and medium brewers grow?
We have been impressed with how willing other craft breweries with tap rooms have been to include our beer as an option for their customers. I think more of this openness to working with other breweries will help the entire craft movement.
What's next for Partake as you guys seek to bring your great beer to the people? Are there any other brands you guys really admire in the industry?
We looking forward to continuing our releases of unique and great tasting products. We’re currently putting the finishing touches on our Stout and have ideas for releasing different seasonal styles of beer in the future as well. We hope to continue expanding our distribution across Canada, as well as growing our footprint south of the border. From more of a grassroots perspective, it would be great to see more and more local bars and restaurants continue to bring in Partake so that their customers can have great non-alcoholic options to choose from. Heading to these local bars and restaurants is often the best way for people to discover new and interesting craft beers, so we hope to be able to enhance that experience by having a little something for everyone.
Looking at other brands in the industry that we admire, I think it’s cool to find small craft brewery’s around the world slowly getting into and dedicating themselves solely to brewing non-alcoholic craft beer. At the end of the day, we’re supporting a greater movement towards non-alcoholic alternatives and it’s awesome to see other people slowly join that shift in thinking.
Where can people currently find Partake?
Just last year Partake Pale Ale launched into over 300 LCBO’s across Ontario. The LCBO had never previously carried non-alcoholic products, so this was great to get in on the ground floor of what has traditionally been a go-to destination for craft beer. Partake IPA and Blonde Ale can be found in select Ontario Beer Stores. We also sell online through our website and Amazon Canada, and can be found in small grocery channels as well as local bars, pubs and restaurants. If all else fails, people can always head to our website and check out our interactive map that will show them all of the different locations we sell in!
Where would you love to have Partake on tap?
I think the dream would be to someday see Partake on tap at venues like the ACC or Rogers Centre, but even having it in a variety of food trucks for example would be great as well.
Have you seen any other unique businesses bringing Beer to the People?
We’ve seen a few beer-bikes around that have a keg hooked up and can pour draft beer right from the bike, which is pretty cool. We’ve also seen some businesses that host baby showers bring along a few Partake’s for the expecting mothers!
Thanks guys! Be sure to give Partake a try and follow them on social!
Social: Facebook: @DrinkPartake