With Toronto’s Festival of Beer set to go down on the weekend of July 25, Toronto Standard will feature several of the new brews that are set to take part in the festival.
First up, we have Triple Bogey Brewing Company and its founder Geoff Tait. We spoke to Tait about how the idea for his golf-themed lager came about, where the its inventive name came from and why he decided to enter into the craft brewing industry.
In four sentences or less, tell us who you are and what do for living?
My name is Geoff Tait, I’m the co-founder of Triple Bogey Brewing and Golf Company. We sell a light lager that is marketed towards the golf world. I started this company about eight months ago.
Why did you decide to get into the craft brewing business?
I’ve done several golf-related ventures. One was a company called Quagmire Golf. It was a company that made golf clothing that was young and funky. I’ve also helped Arnold Palmer rebrand his clothing line for the North American market.
I then decided that golf needed its own beer. I’ve always loved beer and a passion for the brewing industry and I saw a niche that wasn’t being filled.
Where did the idea for the name come from? Last I checked, getting a bogey in golf was not a good thing.
It’s a bit of a dig at the people that take golf too seriously. With all the companies I’ve created, I’ve tried to encourage people to go out there and have fun with the game. For most people, golf is not a job. So instead of calling the beer something good like an eagle, I decided to name it after a bogey; everyone shots those.
The beer also markets itself. I tell someone that my beer is called triple bogey and they instantly laugh.
How did the relationship with the Great Lakes Brewery come about?
I went to a couple of different breweries that did contract brewing—this was around July or August of last year—and through that process I met a guy named Simon Rollason at Great Lakes Brewery.
He loved the concept and told Peter Bulut, the owner of Great Lakes Brewery, what I wanted to do. Peter loved the idea too and said, “Let’s do it”. They made me a sample of the beer in the fall. I then went out and hit the pavement to line up people to distribute the beer. I have over a 100 golf clubs and about 30 bars signed up to sell the beer now, and it should be in the LCBO in the next couple of weeks.
What came first—the beer or the marketing for it?
Even when I was working on my clothing line, I was always toying with the idea of adding a beer to Quagmire’s offerings. After I had a bit of disagreement with my partners at Quagmire, I walked away from the business and said, “I’m going to go brew beer.” I’ve never looked back since and I’ve never been happier either.
What’s the most challenging part of your job? What’s the most rewarding part?
Although I have someone helping me with them, I do most of the deliveries myself. And let me tell you, everyone is happy when I come to make a delivery. If I went in there with a box of shirts, no one would care. But go in with twelve cases of beer and everyone is excited. So I would say that is the most rewarding part of the job.
As far as challenges, I don’t have that many challenges. I wouldn’t say that the job is easy, far from it, but, at the same time, I haven’t had any bumps in the road yet. I had to buy a couple of trucks and hire someone to help me with the deliveries, but even those expenditures didn’t get in the way of the business.
What do you love about Toronto?
I would say the people, though getting around can be a bit of a hassle. I go from the Beaches to the Brewery every day, and I have to drive over the crumbling Gardiner every single day.
I don’t like being Downtown, though; I’m not a downtown guy. I’m more of a laid-back dude that loves the east end.
Outside of work, what do you love to do?
I love to golf, obviously, but I don’t have much time to play anymore.
The most important thing, though, is spending time with my friends and family. The success of this company has been something that my friends and family have been so happy for and supportive of.
Anyway, my time is usually filled with a lot of work, but that’s alright. If I was sitting, not deliver beers and filling new orders, I would have a problem.
What’s next for you?
To be honest with you, this is what I want to focus on.
Working with Arnold Palmer was unbelievable. I got a chance to visit his club in Pennsylvania and, as I said, I helped designed design his clothing line. I even got to go to the Masters with him—that was definitely one of the highlight of my career—but, the truth is, I love what I’m doing right now, and hope I can continue to do it for years to come.
This interview has been edited and condensed.