Oct. 27, 2018 – Paul Morden, The Sarnia Observer
What do you get a town that already has just about everything?
How about a microbrewery?
That’s what Petrolia residents Brent Gauthier and Carolyn Laton have planned. Gauthier, a long-time home brewer, and Laton, a business owner, are at work establishing the Black Gold Brewery in an empty commercial building on Petrolia’s Fletcher Street, just steps from the town’s farmer’s market.
They’ve already begun moving in brewing equipment and are aiming to open the microbrewery and tap room in the spring.
“There’s a lot we have to do between now and then,” Gauthier said.
He said the building is approximately 70 years old and was a car dealership garage during an earlier life.
“It’s an excellent location,” Gauthier said.
Near the centre of downtown, the building is close to Victoria Hall and the theatre that draws visitors to Petrolia.
Plans for the front of the site include a tap room and eventually a pub serving food.
Gauthier, who works for the coast guard, said he began making his own beer at home a decade ago.
“I’ve been doing way too much research,” he said.
“After a while, I got kind of good at it.”
Gauthier said a friend suggested he open a brewery.
He began working on the idea and was introduced to Laton.
“I have always considered myself a wine drinker,” she said.
But, Gauthier has been bringing her and her husband samples of his beer since they met a little more than a year ago.
“I’ve acquired a taste for this kind of beer, and Brent makes a good product,” she said.
“That’s why when he was talking about starting a business, I was very excited to get on board with it.”
Gauthier said they hope to begin renovations by the end of November.
“We’ve been pushing ahead on this, as fast as we can,” he said.
Black Gold will be joining other microbreweries that opened in Lambton County in recent years, including Refined Fool in Sarnia and Stonepicker near Forest.
Tourism Sarnia-Lambton recently unveiled a tour of local craft beer, wine, hard cider and mead businesses.
“Once we’re up and running, we’ll go talk to them and try to get on it,” Gauthier said.
He said one of Black Gold’s signature beers will be a smokehouse porter.
“Anybody who appreciates a good, dark beer will enjoy this one a lot,” Gauthier said.
The tap house is expected to start out offering approximately four regular varieties and six seasonal beers, he said.
Gauthier said they would also like to work with businesses in Petrolia, including restaurants, to brew and supply them with their own variety of beer.