Toronto brewery overcomes hurdles of coronavirus pandemic to start business – Toronto

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By 11 a.m. on opening day, patrons wearing masks are already heading to the Red Tape Brewery in Toronto’s Upper Beaches neighborhood.

It has been a long time since married business partners Sarabeth and Sean Holden had planned to open in the first half of 2020. But with construction delays, permit deadlines and a pandemic to contend with, they, like so many homeowners, small businesses, had to roll with the punches.

Starting a business amid the coronavirus pandemic also meant additional challenges. Getting the needed items across the closed Canada-U.S. Border, like Indiana’s stainless steel beer barrels, created a stress the Holdens didn’t count on.

Add to that dealing with alcohol, a highly regulated substance, that means dealing with all three levels of government.

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Then the HVAC system caused a fire and this week the canning line malfunctioned just in time for the gentle brewing of Red Tape – which ran out on pre-orders – within days.

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The taproom at the front of the brewery was supposed to be filled with people drinking and socializing, but that will have to wait. None of this was easy, which is why the couple decided to name their first beer “That Was Easy”.

“The idea behind ‘That Was Easy’ is that everyone works really hard. You’re having a tough day… so at the end of the day you can open a tin can… and just look back at what you’ve done and be proud of it, ”Sarabeth said.

Sean started brewing as a hobby 10 years ago. He said he had experimented with different styles of beer that were not readily available in Ontario. The ‘Red Tape’ name and logo were created in 2014 for use on the couple’s homebrews, but the idea for a brewery specializing in bespoke beer came in 2018 after the birth of the Holden’s first born. , Raymond.

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“Our family is all over Ontario, the United States and we really wanted to have something to celebrate with them, so we made a special beer, put it in a champagne bottle, cork, caged and sent to everyone with ‘please open when notified,’ Sean said.

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“We want to create the same experience that we have had for other people,” Sarabeth said.

It takes between six weeks and two months for a custom beer to be brewed and labeled. For now, with four beers brewing and opening day behind them, the Holdens can’t wait.

“We do what we love and we do it because we love to celebrate the great moments in life and it’s a great time in life for us… but here we are and we have done it and I am very proud of that, ”Sarabeth said.

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