Meet Our New Friends From Quebec!
It’s rare in the liquor business that you can say that you’re the first to do something, but that’s exactly what happened to us here at Happy Hour.
If you haven’t heard by now, we were the first store outside of Quebec to carry beer from Corsaire Microbrasserie and frankly, we’re pretty proud of it. Relatively speaking, craft beer is still a new thing around these parts. In Saskatchewan a lot of people are still pretty loyal to a number of brands that are owned by one of the two big brewers in this country, but we’re trying to change that. We want to offer you the chance to try beers that you won’t find anywhere else in the region and we hope you’re willing to give them a try too.
Because we were the only store anywhere else to carry their products, co-owner Martin Vaillancourt, made sure his first stop in the province was at Happy Hour on his most recent visit.
“It’s my first time in Saskatchewan too, it’s very impressive to see all of my products here,” said Vaillancourt.
Vaillancourt currently brews out of Levis, Quebec which is just outside of Quebec City, but to properly tell his story, you actually have to cross the pond to England.
Vaillancourt was a veteran of the beer business. He had worked in bars and for breweries but eventually decided, like many before him, that he wanted to learn how to make beer himself and eventually go into business. Unlike many other craft brewers, Vaillancourt actually decided to learn the craft not through trial and error at home. Instead he went to school in England to learn the art of making British style beers.
“I found we have a very huge culture of American beers in Quebec. We lacked the English style,” he said. “I went there for four to five years to learn my trade.”
The biggest difference between North American Style and British style beers is the ingredients. That’s especially noticeable when you drink Vaillancourt’s Levisienne IPA where it offers a richer, maltier flavour compared to hoppy, bitter IPAs we are used to here in Canada.
After Vaillancourt was done school, he decided to put what he learned to work and the business has taken off. Not only he is starting to expand his market across the country but Corsaire has won numerous regional, national and even international awards for their brews. Vaillancourt’s products are so authentic that he imports (with some help of a few friends) all of his ingredients from England.
“We’ve been waiting four or five years to get our productions big enough to be able to send our beers out of the province. Just to know that we’ve reached that stage, everyone is just gobsmacked by it,” said Vaillancourt.
You can currently find Corsaire’s Levisienne IPA, Bristol Extra Special Bitter, Anne Bonny Pilsner, Dark Mild and Brown Ale at Happy Hour. We’re also expecting some new beers in the coming weeks, which we’re very excited for.