Cook's Garden

Essex County's first craft brewery (con't) 

He already grows wheat there and will be growing hops, and is converting an existing building to the brewery.

Lonsbery will continue as winemaker at Mastronardi and operate the brewery on the side.

For Lonsbery, opening a brewery has been a longtime dream.

Ironically, though he has a strong reputation as a quality winemaker, wine is not his drink of choice.

“I’m not a wine person at all,” he laughs.

“I’ll drink it but if I had to choose between a beer and a glass of wine I’m taking the beer for sure.”

The beers’ branding will be “dirty western” and he’ll be brewing four main beers and a couple of others that he’ll vary by season or inclination.

He doesn’t have specific names for them yet but there will be varieties like Indian Pale Ale and a cream ale.

The only other brewery in Windsor-Essex is the recently revived Walkerville Brewery, and the Motor Burger restaurant brews beers on site.

Lonsbery doesn’t plan to sell beers through The Beer Store or LCBO - which would also require a major step-up in production - but sell on site as well as to local restaurants and for events at area wineries.

“The wineries that do have a licence to sell alcohol besides just their wine, they talk to me about it all the time – ‘as soon as you get it we want it,’ he says.

Mastronardi, with its weekly entertainment events, is a prime location.

The brewery will be able to produce between two and three thousand litres of beer a week, which could be increased if Lonsbery adds extra tanks.

Why the western theme?

“I’ve been working the wine industry and everything is so prim and proper at all the wineries and I just want to make some place to go that is not, it’s for everyone, it doesn’t matter what you wear, how you dress, or who you are, it’s for everybody – just make it fun and entertaining in itself, right?

“And,” he adds, “just call it what it is - it’s a brewery on a farm, you can’t get much more country than that.”

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