Garrison offers local brew at King's

New beer supplier at King’s brings house label, preservative-free brands

The Wardroom, the student-run bar at the University of King’s College, has a new supply partnership with a local brewery Garrison. Photo: Danny Austin

Cheap pitchers of Moosehead have made Monday night at the Wardroom a hotspot for students at the University of King's College for the past 10 years. This year Garrison Brewing will be supplying the beer, and King's will be getting a brand of its own.

Last summer the King's Student Union decided to look to breweries other than Moosehead for draught beer at the Wardroom. Students had been pressing the student union to find a brewery that would provide more variety on tap.

"I've got no problem drinking Moosehead," says Jesse Mintz, a King's student. "But it's nice to have some options."

The student union looked into partnerships with Molson or Propeller, but decided Garrison Breweries would be the best fit.

"We wanted our partner to provide an ethical and sustainable product," said Dave Etherington, president of the King's Student Union. "But we also wanted a brewery that could ensure our needed capacity and provide a variety of options on tap."

Garrison offers five preservative-free beers and was the only local microbrewery that could guarantee the Wardroom's taps wouldn't run dry.

The idea was first discussed as a way to earn extra revenue for the Wardroom's renovation project. The renovation committee thought that Molson might be willing to sponsor the renovation and approached the company about a partnership.

Etherington says the Molson partnership fell through because the company wouldn't provide more variety on tap than Moosehead. Garrison approached King's around this time.

Along with variety and affordability, Garrison offered to host fundraising events for the renovation at their brewery and signs for inside the bar.

The new partnership allows the Wardroom to sell local draught beer at $10 for a pitcher. Moosehead had been pressuring the wardroom to sell microbrews at a premium price.

There has been an increase in the price of a pitcher this year. Last year a pitcher cost $7.50. Etherington insists this is because of a law introduced in December 2008 to discourage binge drinking.

Many bars used cheap beer promotions to attract customers, often offering a beer for $1. Beer in the province can no longer be sold for less than $2.50 for 20 ounces.

"Legally we had to increase the price, so no matter what beer we were selling on tap it could not have cost any less than $10 for a pitcher".

For Garrison, the partnership introduces a younger market to their beer. This is not the brewery's first involvement with King's. The company has sponsored Frosh Week and other King's events and sports teams in the past.

Todd Johns, Garrison's sales manager, says introducing Garrison beer to young people will develop brand loyalty.

He also revealed that Garrison will be introducing a King's brand this fall.

The company is finishing the design of the beer's logo. "Sometime in the next few weeks we'll have a launch on campus."

Karen Seabey is the manager of the Wardroom and says that students have been enthusiastic about the change. The bar has always struggled to make money, but this September the bar appears to have made a profit.


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