Athéna Chabot is the owner of La Chope à malt/ Beer Grains Supply Co. Here’s our chat with her about getting into the homebrew supply business.
CHA: Why did you decide to open a homebrew supply store?
AC: The idea of opening a home brewer’s supply store came to me in 2017. I had been brewing for a year and it was difficult in my area to have access to ingredients. We were ordering online or going to a local supplier who had very few ingredients. I took an entrepreneurship course and was about to open my store “La Chope à malt” when Jason Koebel, the owner of Beer Grains Supply Co., called me to say he wanted to sell his business, which at the time, was one of my competitors and my current supplier for my in-house brew. So La Chope à malt Inc. acquired Beer Grains Supply Co. Online sales are linked to the Beer Grains website and the store in Gatineau is registered under both names (La Chope à malt Inc / Beer Grains Supply Co.).
CHA: What’s the homebrewing scene like in your area?
AC: Homebrewing is beginning to take up more and more space in the Outaouais area. We are fortunate to have several brewpubs in Ottawa, and the Gatineau side of the market is starting to grow quickly. We have the chance to taste a wide range of beer types, from classic to unusual! This gives craft beer lovers the taste to start making their own brew! We have a group of homebrewers in the region (Members of Barleyment) which has existed for several years and which is a gold mine of information!A
CHA: What do you like the most about running a homebrew supply store?
AC: The people! Everyone who enters the store has the same passion. I worked in the health field for several years and it was not uncommon to see clients angry or in a bad mood. Everyone here is in a good mood, speaks with passion and is happy to share their knowledge with us and with the other customers in the store.
CHA: What is or was a challenge in running a homebrew supply store?
AC: Learning! In a year, I have learned a lot and I am still learning a lot! The beauty in this industry is that people like to share their knowledge. I don’t mind asking questions and customers are happy to teach me.
CHA: How are you engaged with the local homebrewing community?
AC: Every month, we host workshops at the store on various topics. Customers who master a specific subject come to share their knowledge with us by giving different workshops. These are free of charge and opens the door to some very interesting conversations! I am also planning a contest to bring together the homebrewers, where the winner will have the opportunity to brew his or her own beer at a local microbrewery.
CHA: Anything else you’d like to add?
AC: Our business makes constant efforts to reduce our ecological footprint. I strongly encourage my customers to bring their containers (mash tun, kettle, bucket etc.) to put their grains in. We also offer the possibility to buy bulk products, so customers arrive with their recipe in hand and can put all their grains into one container. Many of them want their grain milled, so I mill them in house and put them back in their containers, or in the 55 pound grain bags that I keep for that use. For the moment, my online store doesn’t offer the bulk option, but we are working on it! Our website will also be bilingual.
La Chope à malt/ Beer Grains Supply Co.
99 Rue Crémazie
Use CHA5P for a discount in their online store.
The Canadian Homebrewers Association is a non-profit dedicated to promoting and advancing the hobby of homebrewing in Canada. Established in 2018, it currently has more than 330 members across most of Canada's provinces and territories.