Sarnia’s Refined Fool Brewing Co. received national attention Monday on the Marilyn Denis Show.
Matt Barnes and Nathan Colquhoun, two of the owners of the recently launch craft brewery on Davis Street, were in Toronto
for the TV talk show where Refined Fool was included in a men’s gift guide segment.
“She’s pretty much like the Canadian Oprah,” Barnes said.
“It’s pretty big for us.”
As part of the show, the pair brought 75 Refined Fool gift baskets to Toronto with them for members of the audience.
“We hired our mothers to put them together,” Barnes said.
He and Colquhoun were also able to take a tour of the studio and watch the show being shot before handing out the baskets to the audience members.
Other gifts in the segment included a portable espresso machine, a stud finder, a facial trimmer, coffee beans and a Carnivore Club gift box.
The Sarnia pair had to be at the Toronto studio where the CTV show is shot by 8 a.m. Monday, so they rented a van, packed it with gift baskets and drove down Sunday.
“We had to keep it a secret,” Barnes said.
“Even the audience didn’t know when they got there that it was going to be a surprise giveaway show.”
The Sarnia craft brewery was contacted by staff with the show a few months ago.
“One of the girls who works at the Marilyn Show was a friend of one of the owners here,” Barnes said.
“And, they liked our style and logo, and our branding.”
Refined Fool opened in May with 10 initial investors and has been growing quickly.
“It has been nuts,” Barnes said.
Originally open one day a week, the Davis Street brewery is now open seven days a week, with six people on staff working through a current round of renovations needed because of the growth.
“It’s beyond expectations,” Barnes said.
The partners started out in the spring with a set of five-year goals.
“We’ve met those already,” Barnes added.
“We thought we were crazy when we started,” Colquhoun said.
“We didn’t know how much desire there would be for craft beer. But the second we opened, our craziness was kind of put aside and we realized we were on to something.”
Refined Fool came along as the craft beer industry was taking off, and the Sarnia operation has gained from being located right next to Michigan, a state “leading the way, a little bit,” Barnes said.
“We’re taking notes and hints from them.”
One of the owners has taken on the job of looking after sales to restaurants and bars.
“I think most bars want us in Sarnia, which is nice, but we’re having a hard time keeping up with demand,” Barnes said.
But, he added, having such strong demand for their product, “is the best problem to have.”
The baskets made for the TV show included bottles of Refined Fool’s Joe Sent Me milk stout, Noble Oaf rye saison, and The Brouhaha nut brown. There was also a pair of Refined Fool pint glasses and some of the company’s Fool’s Gold store gift tokens.
Barnes said the company also sells gift baskets similar to those prepared for the show.
The brewery’s Noble Oaf brand is expected to on sale starting in the spring in LCBO locations in Sarnia and nearby communities, such as London and Windsor, Barnes said.
The brewery has six regular brands it works to keep in stock, as well as seasonal varieties.
The Refined Fool gift basket, and a link to the craft brewery’s own website, was also listed on the television show’s website.
Barnes said they began receiving e-mails as soon as the segment aired.