Shakespeare Brewing Co., owned by a Stratford couple, opens its doors July 15

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The cap is being twisted off a new craft brewery in Shakespeare next weekend.

Shakespeare Brewing Co., owned and operated by a couple from Stratford, will open its doors on July 15. Ayden Gautreau is the brewmaster while wife Katie Anderson-Gautreau is taking on the retail and administration.

Starting out they will feature two beers available at their store and brew house on Line 34 next to the village’s fire station: The Bumbling Bear, a blueberry wheat beverage, and an Ontario pale ale called The Reckless Rooster. Both come in 500-ml bottles.

Despite the company’s title, they opted to stay away from Shakespeare-inspired names, instead dressing the bear and rooster in clothing from that time period.

“It’s Shakespeare meets farming,” Ayden said.

A third beer, Heavy Horse farmhouse ale, will likely be available this fall. A point of pride for the young entrepreneurs – Ayden is 31 and Katie is 27 – is all of their ingredients are grown in Ontario, including hops from a farm near Tavistock and blueberries picked close to Shakespeare.

Ayden brings the hands-on experience as he’s currently a brewer for Bell City Brewing Company in Brantford.

“I’ve always been interested in the craft beer scene,” he said.

His interests were heightened during a nine-month trip to Europe with his wife in 2014. While staying at a farm in England home to a small brewery, the brewer hurt his back and was unable to work so he sat in a chair and instructed Ayden step-by-step.

“I ended up learning the job that way, I became his arms and legs, basically,” he said.

Prior to that he studied mechanical engineering and worked at Stratford’s FAG Aerospace Inc., but from that point on a brewer was born.

“You grew a beard and got a brewing job,” Katie, who works at the Stratford YMCA, said with a chuckle.

Leading up to the business’s grand opening, the duo have been juggling their jobs and taking care of 1-year-old daughter Blair.

“It’s been hectic,” Katie said.

Initially they planned to open on Canada Day, but their licences didn’t arrive until this week.

Other local craft brewers have been welcoming so far.

“All the small guys against the big guys,” Katie said. “It’s nice.”

Shakespeare Brewing Co.’s products won’t be sold in the LCBO or Beer Store, just at the retail store and, eventually, at some local bars and restaurants.

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