PRESS RELEASE: Co-owner of Muskoka Brewery Takes ownership of Vancouver Island Brewery


VIBCORPTRANSPARENCYthumbYesterday, The president of  Vancouver Island Brewery Barry Fisher announced that he is passing the torch to new ownership and new leadership. Why is this relevent to us here in Ontario you ask? Well effective yesterday , Barry formally entrusts the ownership of Vancouver Island Brewery to Bob MacDonald, co-owner of Muskoka Brewery. As well, Barry announced that Tim Barnes will come on board as President.

We don’t often hear about one craft brewery owner taking control of another craft brewery but with the growth of Muskoka Brewery it is not a surprising move.

For the the full Press Release see below.

Media Release – June 15, 2016

To Vancouver Island Brewery fans and Canada’s local beer community, 

As you all know, I love Vancouver Island Brewery and we have been proud to serve premium quality craft brewed beers to the loyal communities of British Columbia for more than thirty years. Well, now, after all these years it is time to move on and pass the torch to a successor who will carry on the quality beer legacy that Vancouver Island Brewery has accomplished.

My old friend Gary McMullen, CEO and founder of Muskoka Brewery, introduced me to his partner and co-owner, Bob MacDonald. I first met Bob in January of 2015 and as I got to know him better I realized that Bob was passionate about the beer industry and his and my values were very similar.

Over the years, I have followed the growth of Muskoka Brewery with great interest as one does when he knows the founder. Like many craft brewers, Gary started Muskoka to live out his passion for beer; however, as the business grew, so did the need for financial resources for expansion. Gary was introduced to Bob as a potential investor. Seeing that Bob was committed to a long term vision, the two became partners in building Muskoka into the successful brewery that it is today.

Effective today, I formally entrust the ownership of Vancouver Island Brewery to Bob MacDonald. True to Bob’s ownership and management style, all operations and decision-making will remain on Vancouver Island and the brewery will continue to operate independently. I am certain that Bob’s long-term vision and orientation to investing for growth in the business will be welcome news to our long time loyal employees, many who have been with the brewery for twenty to thirty years – these are the people who built Vancouver Island Brewery.

To ensure the future growth and success of the brewery, Bob felt it was important to find a strong leader with a demonstrated track record, someone with similar values and roots in the beer community. I am pleased to announce that Tim Barnes will be the new President of Vancouver Island Brewery.

I have a great deal of respect for Tim and I believe he has the vision and experience necessary to lead Vancouver Island Brewery through this next chapter. Most importantly, I know that Tim shares Vancouver Island’s values and will uphold our commitment to our employees and our community.

In Bob and Tim’s hands, the brewery will now have the strong leadership it needs to go to the next level of producing award winning craft brewed beers.


Barry Fisher

PRESS RELEASE: Muskoka Brewery Bring It Back Fan Vote


Starting April 7, Kristallweizen, Pilsner Light, Honey Lager, and Dark Ale will all have the opportunity to rise again (or rather, be brewed again!)  in a “Bring It Back” showdown hosted on Muskoka Brewery’s Facebook Page.


April 4, 2016

Muskoka Brewery celebrates 20 years with Bring Back It Back Contest

Fans vote to bring back their favourite Muskoka brew

ONTARIO – Who doesn’t love a throwback? In celebration of their 20th anniversary this summer, Muskoka Brewery is hosting a social media contest where fans can vote to bring back one popular beer from their archive.

Starting April 7, Kristallweizen, Pilsner Light, Honey Lager, and Dark Ale will all havethe opportunity to rise again (or rather, be brewed again!) in a “Bring It Back” showdown hosted on Muskoka Brewery’s Facebook Page.

“Over the years, these are the beers that fans have asked us about the most – especially Pilsner Light and Dark Ale,” says Gary McMullen, founder and president of Muskoka Brewery. “We thought it would be fun to bring one back as a way to include Muskoka fans in our anniversary celebrations and thank them for their support.”

From Thursday, April 7 to Thursday, April 21, two beers will face-off weekly in a #TBT challenge (a.k.a. Throwback Thursday) on Muskoka’s Facebook page. Fans will vote for the beer that makes it through each week and will be entered into a random draw to win a Muskoka Brewery anniversary prize pack for participating.

The last beer standing will be brewed in May and sold exclusively at the brewery retail store this summer (June – August) in celebration of Muskoka’s 20th anniversary.

PRESS RELEASE: Muskoka Brewery 20th Anniversary Collaboration Brews



Beginning this April, Muskoka Brewery will team up with BarrelHouse Brewing Co. from California to craft a clementine cranberry IPA, Le Trou du Diable of Quebec to brew a guava saison, Ellicottville Brewing Co. from New York to create a citrus porter, and Howe Sound Brewing of Vancouver to brew a hop forward wheat.



April 4, 2016

Muskoka Brewery Celebrates 20 Years with Collaboration Brews

BarrelHouse Brewing Co., Le Trou du Diable, Ellicottville Brewing Co. and Howe Sound
Brewing on board for anniversary collaborations

ONTARIO –To mark their 20th anniversary, Muskoka Brewery is partnering with four North American craft breweries to brew four distinct and delicious collaboration brews.
“As a pioneer in the craft beer industry, it felt like the right way to celebrate our anniversary,”  says Gary McMullen, founder and president of Muskoka Brewery. “In our 20 years, we’ve learned that to thrive in this industry you need to be thirsty to learn more and that innovation comes from collaborating with others.”

Starting this April, Muskoka Brewery will team up with BarrelHouse Brewing Co. from California to  craft a clementine cranberry IPA, Le Trou du Diable of Quebec to brew a guava saison, Ellicottville Brewing Co. from New York to create a citrus porter, and Howe Sound Brewing of Vancouver to brew a hop forward wheat.
“The beer world is a big one. These beers showcase the strengths of breweries outside of our home province. Each collaboration beer is very different and unique, but they all have one thing in common – they will be worth a visit to our brewery,” adds McMullen.

From May to August, Muskoka Brewery will release one collaboration beer per month as part of its summer of 20th celebrations (#Muskoka20th). The collaboration brews will be available in limited supply, exclusively at the brewery and select bars and restaurants across Ontario.


Brew Tours officially launches and announces Brew Tours: Muskoka Edition for Spring 2016


Starting May 21st 2016, the Muskoka region will be getting their very own Brew Tour.  The tour will showcase three of the main craft breweries within the Muskoka region:  Lake of Bays Brewery, Muskoka Brewery, and Sawdust City Brewing Company, as well as lunch at The Griffin Gastropub.​ So if you are ever in the Muskoka area and wanted a behind the scenes look at 3 amazing Ontario Craft Brewers, be sure to look into these tours.

Full release below. Cheers!



TORONTO (March 7th 2016) – Brew Tours is excited to officially announce they are fully operational and starting this spring, they will be operating their first tours throughout Muskoka.Brew Tours officially launches and announces Brew Tours: Muskoka Edition for Spring 2016

Craft breweries have been exploding throughout Ontario over the last couple of years and with another 70 reportedly opening by the end of 2016, Brew Tours has noticed a void within the craft community. Similar to how winery tours are operated within the Niagara-on-the-Lake region, Brew Tours will be running day tours for local craft enthusiasts and tourists.

After a great deal of thought, Brew Tours decided to launch their first tour in the Muskoka community. Brew Tours: Muskoka Edition will feature Lake of Bays Brewing Company, Sawdust City Brewing Company and Muskoka Brewery. The tour will also visit the historic Griffin Gastro Pub for lunch. The Muskoka Edition has been designed to showcase the unique features of each brewery and how individually and combined they have done their part to continuously promote craft beer to larger audiences. Brew Tours: Muskoka Edition is starting May 21st 2016 and running consistently throughout the summer and into the fall.

Piers Simpkin, founder of Brew Tours is very excited for what the future holds. “Previously working within the music industry as a tour manager and booking agent, a common downtime activity I found myself doing was always looking for new local beers to try while on the road. Now that I have stepped back from touring and booking bands, I am very fortunate to be able to combine two of my passions into a new endeavor. Discovering great craft beers and creating exclusive touring experiences around the breweries has only produced positive feedback. Local residence and cottage goers to Muskoka this summer are definitely in for a great treat!”

For more information about Brew Tours, please visit or follow us on twitter @brewtoursca ( We are also on Facebook and Instagram

Muskoka Brewery to withdraw from 3 Western Provinces

Looks like government is to blame for Muskoka Brewery withdrawing their beer from “New West Partnership” provinces, Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Many Canadian independent brewers were shocked on October 29th, when the Alberta government made the decision to increase the tax rate for craft brewers outside the New West Partnership. Muskoka was forced to wind down operations as a direct relation to the tax increased, causing the brewery to remove their beer from those provinces by the end of 2015. According to Muskoka, the brewery was faced with a mark-up rate of 145% which equals $74/HL or $1.51 per 6 pack.

“We have remarkable customer support and sales momentum in these markets,” says Gary McMullen, president and founder of Muskoka Brewery. “Up until this new legislation was announced, we had no intention of leaving. In fact, we had plans to widen our footprint based on the growing demand for our beers. We’re sorry to leave our friends and supporters, but with this new tax increase it’s now unsustainable to sell our beer in these provinces.”

As one of the leaders in the Canadian craft beer industry for almost 20 years, the brewery is committed to continue to grow the craft beer industry within Canada despite the rules and regulations of the governments. McMullen says “We can’t allow this setback to divide the Canadian craft brewing community. We’d like to sincerely thank our customers for their support and passion for us, and we’ll be back when these trade barriers are squashed.”

Muskoka Brewery looks to be keeping true to growth of their beer with plans of expanding closer to home (Ontario), including the U.S. market and Quebec.

Old North (Lake of Bays Brewing)


Origin: Baysville (Muskoka), Ontario, Canada

Beer Style: Porter

Alc./Vol.: 8%

Suggested Glassware: English Pint/Shaker

Suggested Serving Temperature: Leave it in the snow outside your house for half an hour before consuming

Availability: Seasonal (Late Fall/Winter)

Where to buy:  Lake of Bays brewery or select LCBO locations

Evenin’, all. Mike here; I’m @beermostly on Twitter and Instagram – Matt has been kind enough to extend his hand to a fellow beer lover and begin what I’m sure will be a fantastic partnership here at The Bottomless Pint with guest reviews. Let’s dive in.

Ah, stout and porter season. Warm your soul with beers to intimidate your significantly less-snobby friends!

Old North Mocha Porter holds a special place in my heart. At its launch, I got very excited at the idea that coffee, one of my favourite drinks, could be woven into my other favourite drink… beer. It also holds this special place because on Christmas morning 2012, I realized I hadn’t refrigerated my beer selection for that day. In a panic, I stuck the tall bottle in a snowbank on my back deck for about half an hour, and during gift opening time (among many a chocolate covered almond and stolen pieces of peameal bacon from Mom’s frying pan) I cracked the bottle and poured (what would that day be) my morning coffee.

Sentiments aside, this is a beautiful beer to look at. The 750mL bottle is perfect for sharing. Into a wide mouth glass pours a light brown head on an opaque dark chocolate brown body whose carbonation is mid-range, with a lingering foam and a floating, delicate lace on the glass and the top of the beer all the way down. The 2014 version is 8% – one higher than last year’s.

At first sniff, you get a scent not unlike the one you get when you empty your used grounds from your coffee machine – a wet, roasty smell that, for the inexperienced nose, would intimidate. Drinking a first sip, you are greeted with a velvety, deep malt and chocolate flavour that can only be described as “more-ish” – very, very pleasant and incredibly medium bodied beer with bubbles that make you lick your lips.

Through the glass, the coffee flavours shone through. Sourced from Diesel House Coffee Roasters, the flavours extend a warming bitterness that makes drinking this at 9AM on Christmas Day absolutely acceptable. With minimal alcohol taste (but lots of punch after an entire bottle), the beer finishes with an espresso flavour and warm, tasty, rich body that becomes better as you drink it. An absolute treat!

10629696_10152292408845904_6492939900423753687_nMike Burton is an advertising student, lover of Toronto, and a Cicerone Certified Beer Server. He asked us to tell you that. In the grand scheme of things, this means nothing, but feel free to follow his entertaining Twitter and Instagram feeds @beermostly.