Meet Craig Outhet, James Witzke & Kent Orton
For Craig Outhet, James Witzke and Kent Orton, going into the craft brewery business together wasn’t only about making beer, but about telling a story about this place that has so much mystique, character and folklore about it. What better way to tell a story than with beer? It seems Prince Ruperites are in agreement, and the three friends couldn’t be happier with their decision to brew beer together.
One thing about owning and operating a small town business that sets it apart from businesses in urban centres is the fact that you’re apt to know a lot of your future customers before you even open your doors. “You feel a greater sense of personal responsibility to the customers, knowing them in so many different capacities,” says Kent. It motivates them to work hard, produce a stellar product and continually offer excellent service. Something else that Craig, James and Kent appreciate about being business owners is the ability it gives them to be the masters of their own destinies. “I like knowing there is no set career progression,” says Kent. There is no cap to their potential for success. Instead, “the sky is the limit for growth.”
The three like being a part of the exciting downtown vibe, and particularly the Cow Bay area. Says Kent, “on a sunny day you can enjoy an ice cream on the boardwalk, and in winter the ocean keeps it relatively warm.The restaurants are fantastic, and there are lots of places to watch the boats and enjoy the sunsets.” They’re proud of their building, a former construction shop that was neglected and run-down, which they were able to renovate and turn into something worthwhile and valuable to the community-at-large. Most of all, though, they just love to make beer.
Rustic. Historical. Social.
Craft beer made its way to Prince Rupert when its first micro-brewery, the Wheelhouse Brewing Company, opened for business in 2013. Owned and operated by three friends who fell in love with the people, the culture and the history of the North Coast, Wheelhouse Brewing Company reflects that passion in its signature Flagship Pale Ale, Gillnetter Golden Ale and Blacksmith Brown Ale. In addition to its year-round ale offerings, Wheelhouse Brewing Company also offers a variety of seasonally-brewed beers, including Scurvy Dog Spruce Ale, Smokehouse Porter and Kazu Maru IPA, as well as collaborative beers that include Wheelhouse – Three Ranges Brewing Collaboration Yellowhead Red Imperial Red Ale, Wheelhouse Plan B Brewing Collaboration– McHugh’s Stout and Wheelhouse – Yellow Dog Brewing Collaboration – First Mate White IPA. Wheelhouse Brewing Company’s beers are crafted in small batches to enhance quality and showcase the flavours of the true North Coast. Wheelhouse Brewing Company’s products are available at a number of local establishments like Opa Sushi, Fukasaku, Cargo Kitchen and Bar and more. You can also visit the Wheelhouse Brewing Company in person, watch how the beer is made, try a sample, grab a bottle or a growler or pick up a souvenir. The tasting room is available for rental for private events and functions, and Wheelhouse Brewing Company can supply your wedding or special event with kegs.
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