Time on the links can reap benefits. Just ask Geoff and Megan Tait, the couple behind Canada’s golf-themed brewery.
The Taits, who met while working at St. Thomas Golf and Country Club, launched Triple Bogey Brewing nine years ago with a crushable blonde lager brewed with Perle and Aurora hops. Fast forward to summer 2022 and Triple Bogey has a six-recipe roster, including a light beer, a low-carb, low-alcohol lager and a new half-and-half of hard lemonade and iced tea evoking memories of Geoff’s one-time business associate, the great Arnold Palmer.
“While our Triple Bogey premium lager at five per cent is by far still our strongest seller, we wanted to add some lighter options for people looking for a little less octane,” Geoff said. “We have found some folks have moved to lighter beers, especially after indulging more than usual throughout the pandemic.”
The low-alcohol beer measures 0.45 per cent alcohol and is a de-alcoholized version of Triple Bogey, brewed with the same two hop varieties.
“The honest truth about the non-alc is my wife, Megan, was pregnant with our second baby and in solidarity, I drank less, so we added the non-alc to get us through,” Geoff said. “It turns out lots of people are looking for a non-alc version. . . and it has sold very well. . .
“I get a lot of emails from people saying that we have had to switch to non-alc beers for health reasons and ours is one of the best that still had the full flavor of a regular beer. I think that’s key: no alcohol, but full flavour.”
Launching a boozy version of an Arnold Palmer is a natural for Triple Bogey, which already sells a hard seltzer as a beer alternative. The tame version of the lemonade-iced tea blend became well-known by golf fans when the late golf legend invented it. When Geoff was in the golf apparel business, he worked with Palmer. The hard half-and-half has become Triple Bogey’s No. 2 two seller with a plan to expand sales from golf courses to the LCBO.
“While the product itself has nothing to do with an old friend, Arnold Palmer, I had the distinct honor of working with Mr. Palmer for a few years, who opened the door to his kingdom and his great family and friends, to us, Geoff said. “I even got to go to The Masters with him in 2012. While our drink is a different version, it still screams golf and I would hope he would be proud.”
Brewed at Equals Brewing in London, Triple Bogey brands are sold at 400 golf courses in five provinces and 300 Ontario retail outlets. At St. Thomas Golf and Country Club (Megan’s parents can see the 16th hole from their Elgin County home), there are four Triple Bogey brands sold.
Absent from the beer roster is an IPA, a decision the Taits made with the idea their target drinkers wanted thirst-quenching beers during play or at the 19th hole. That thinking might change. This summer, it was a decision between launching the hard half-and-half or an IPA.
“We have had requests for an IPA, so don’t be surprised if one pops up in the coming years, but I’m a lager guy and most people on a hot sunny day on the course are crushing lagers,” Geoff said.
With distribution established now beyond Ontario in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, attention turns to the Maritimes.
While Triple Bogey doesn’t own its own brewery of its own – and those who deride contract brewers can kiss Geoff’s putt – the company has grown from a full-time staff of one to a sales and delivery team of 10.
When it comes to growth, Triple Bogey, may the forest be with you.
NEW AND NOTED
Things are peachy keen at Forked River in London. Peach flavor is the star in a new beer, Bring the Fuzz. The dry-hopped peach ale tones down the sweetness you might fear. It’s 4.9 per cent alcohol and sold at the brewery and through its online store.
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• Refined Fool in Sarnia goes against the grain with a peanut butter chocolate stout released in summer. Part of the Tiny Batch series, Chocolate Bar mimics the taste of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
• It’s Blooms and Beer time as Wildflowers Farm south of St. Thomas gets ready to host seven craft breweries July 22. Breweries are Collective Arts of Hamilton, Railway City Brewing and Caps Off of St. Thomas, Natterjack Brewing of West Lorne, 4EST Brewing of London, Red Barn Brewing Co. of Chatham-Kent and Heritage Hops of Stratford. There will also be the option of botanical cocktails. Live music and a farmers market add to the festival, which runs from 4 to 10 pm The farm’s at 42338 Fruit Ridge Line.
Wayne Newton is a freelance journalist based in London.