A BREWING PASSION
Interview by Derrick Scott and Mathieu Manning
Images © Vesta’s Photography
In the vast world of craft beer, there are stories that truly stand out due to their uniqueness and inspiration. The story of Eric Mainville, the head brewmaster at Brauwerk Hoffman Rockland, is undoubtedly one of them. Eric shared his journey with us, from the fields of his family farm to the thriving brewery he now leads.
Eric Mainville was raised in L’Île-aux-Allumettes, a quaint town in Quebec situated two hours northwest of Rockland. His formative years were characterized by hard work, particularly on the family farm. “Of my four sisters and brother, it was he and I who handled most of the responsibilities on the farm and in the family drilling business. You could say I had a pretty packed schedule,” he reminisces.
A Shift Toward Healthcare
Although Eric came from a family of farmers, his aspirations extended beyond the fields. “At one point, I wanted to be a clown. It was more about interacting with people and bringing them joy.”
“This later evolved into an interest in healthcare,” he explains. His educational path included science studies at CEGEP, followed by nursing studies at the University of Ottawa. After obtaining a solid foundation in the sciences, Eric became a registered nurse before pursuing studies in medicine. However, his attraction to business and his family’s agricultural legacy never ceased to inspire him.
Eric explains that his attraction to the beer industry led him to start brewing his own beer. “I’ve always been drawn to the beer industry. I started brewing my own beer around 2013. By that time, the craft beer scene had been going strong since the 2000s, and I was already enjoying some of those beers. As a joke, I often tell people that I started brewing beer to save money in the long run.Well, fast forward a few years, and I’ve invested half a million dollars in a brewing business. However, I still continue to enjoy my own beer, so to speak,” he says with a smile.
A Taste for Excellence
Over time, Eric became an amateur brewer, and his love for beer continued to grow. “I’ve never had bad experiences with beers that tasted awful, even though I’ve often heard horror stories about that. I think part of the reason is my meticulous attention to cleanliness, which I can probably attribute to my medical experience. Brewing beer can be as simple as buying a few ingredients, mixing them in a pot, and at the end of the day, you have your beer. It’s a bit like making a cake from a ready-made mix. However, you can also take this art to a higher level by carefully selecting your ingredients, visiting farms and malt houses, and delving into the complex world of yeast,” he explains.
From Nurse to Brewer
In his quest to perfect his technique Eric honed his brewing skills through intensive training at Niagara College. He embarked on a two-year master brewer and brewery technician program at Niagara College, culminating in his 2015 graduation.
During this training, Eric’s passion for the history of German beer deepened. He had the remarkable opportunity to visit Germany and collaborate with brewers at Weihenstephan, the world’s oldest brewery dating back to 1040 AD. This experience went beyond training, immersing him in German beer culture, where he brewed alongside local artisans, explored malt houses, and savoured a range of beer styles.
This transformative journey led Eric to immerse himself in the art of German beer, inspired by its enduring history and timeless traditions. He felt compelled to showcase and introduce these esteemed beer styles to a wider audience, making it a natural focus for his brewing work.
Eric understands the importance of standing out in the craft beer industry. He emphasizes the need for rapid evolution and differentiation, noting that successful business owners often tend to be perfectionists. Eric is always working on improving his beers, viewing this mindset as the path to progress, while warning that stagnation and obscurity await those who don’t share it.
From Agriculture to Beer
Eric believes that his background in agriculture and his medical training played a crucial role in his success as a brewer. “My education truly helped me understand the technical and scientific aspects of brewing, but my passion for agriculture and my familiarity with running a family business also played a key role in my brewing career,” he states.
Commitment to the Community
However, Brauwerk Hoffman Rockland is not just about producing delicious beers. Eric and his team are deeply committed to their community. “We want to be not only in the community but also an active part of it. That’s why we organize local events, support charities, and create unique experiences for our customers,” he explains.
When you visit Brauwerk Hoffman Rockland, you’re not just tasting exceptional beers; you become part of an inspiring story. Eric Mainville’s journey, from the farm to the brewery, serves as a reminder that passion, determination, and love for what you do can lead to exceptional achievements. Come savour a beer at Brauwerk Hoffman Rockland and immerse yourself in the world of Eric Mainville, a master brewer who has transformed his passion into a memorable adventure.