Vrooden’s origin story is one of infatuation. Carol Duplain, chemical engineer by trade, fell in love with microbrews, but most of all, with the inherent complexity of brewing German beers. His keenness soon pushed him to start brewing his own beer, a hobby that turned into a business venture when a friend of a friend, who happened to be a judge for international beer competitions, said of Carol’s product: “If that guy sold his beer, I’d buy some.” Needless to say, that comment did not fall on deaf ears. It was time to get serious!
With longtime friend Hervé Gagnon by his side. Carol called on his inner entrepreneur to launch Brasserie Vrooden in 2016. Later on, Marc-André, an enthusiastic employee and renaissance man if there was ever one (do you know many people who have harvested hay, worked at the SAQ, did some construction and also spent a stint in a marketing agency among many, many different things?) convinced his bosses to let him become a partner in the business.
Vrooden is quite simply a love story. The love of beer, or brewing, of sharing, of adventure, but also the love of things made wonderfully complicated!
At its inception, Vrooden focused on German style beers, Carol’s favourites due to their particular brewing techniques, such as decoction, and to the engineering know-how (go figure!) shown by the Germans when they developed different beers all brewed using only four ingredients, water, yeast, malt and hops – the Reinheitsgebot. The purity of the various styles, the 3,000 years of history … who could resist such a stimulating challenge?
The beers brewed at Vrooden soon garnered recognition. To date, they have won nine medals in Canada, and they are getting increasingly renowned through the country, all while carving themselves a special place in the hearts of beer fans.
Today’s microbrewery market being what it is, the team had to diversify their offerings to stay competitive. A successful endeavour: nowadays, Vrooden also offers a vast array of all kinds of beers – stouts, IPAs (and their many variants), goses, etc. – each one tastier than the next. Some of their seasonal beers have fans clamouring for them all year round.
Vrooden is one of the only breweries in North America to use a five-vat system that makes decoction possible. With this equipment, Carol, Marc-André and team are able to make any beer. But brewing quality beer also comes down to water, and the team is of course well-equiped in that respect too; the brewery uses one of the most advanced water treatment systems in Québec.
Hops, malt, water, equipment, physico-chemistry, authenticity, rigour… Here, everything is meticulously calculated, and nothing is left to chance. And that’s exactly what sets Vrooden apart.
And the name Vrooden means what, exactly? Absolutely nothing! When Carol was working in electronics (look, another Renaissance man!), the owner of the company hailed from Germany, and he would order different parts from his native country. The warehouse manager, when he’d receive these parts with rather long names, would jokingly tell his boss“Your order of vrooden is here.” Eventually, while having drinks, Carol and his colleagues started raising their glasses while calling “Vrooden!” the same way you might say “Cheers!”. When it comes down to it, Vrooden means sharing a round of drinks with friends, spending quality time together. And that is truly what is at the core of the brewing philosophy.
In short, we brew our beers with German precisions, we optimize our processes like engineers, and we explore new avenues like artists. All this, from Granby, in our home province of Québec.
Our brewing methods are inspired by the Bavarian beer purity law, i.e. the Reinheitsgebot, that was enacted in 1516. According to this decree, only the following ingredients could be used in the preparation of beer: malt, hops, and water. Back then, the fermentation process was not quite understood, and the notion of yeast didn’t exist. Fermentation happened spontaneously, either through exposure to wild yeasts in the air, or through the use of wood barrels that had been “contaminated” by a previous batch of beer. This fateful law forced German brewers to develop unique methods, with only the addition of temperature and time to condition their beers and keep them fit for consumption over a longer period of time, before the advent of refrigeration.