It all started with a simple problem: there was nowhere to buy craft beer in Sarnia. Simple problems turn into simple solutions: start a home brew club. At the time, no one even suspected that within a few short years, Refined Fool would be a leader in the industry and become one of Ontario’s most recognized craft breweries. All because a bunch of friends didn’t want to drive to Michigan for their beer!
Friends Nathan Colquhoun, Matthew Barnes, Brandon Huybers and Tony Alexander had an inkling that their hobby could become something more and took the plunge in 2014 to open Refined Fool. They just wanted to provide Sarnia with a locally brewed craft beer, unaware of just how big it would become.
Their very first day of business back in 2014 was an eye-opener when they completely sold out of beer on their first night. Clearly, they needed to brew more beer. They quickly expanded for the first time, increasing production and adding a taproom to the Davis Street location.
Part of Refined Fool’s appeal, besides the great tasting craft beer of course, is the unique and often funny names given to their beer. Refined Fool embodies a culture of fun, they don’t take themselves too seriously. They are always on the look-out for new names for their beer. Whenever someone says something funny, it’s written down to potentially be the name of the next flavour.
They love being a part of the downtown revitalization and contributing to the unique downtown culture, but they also know people like to eat when drinking beer. Part of what makes Refined Fool so popular is that they allow customers to bring in their own food to eat while drinking their beer. Owner Nathan Colquhoun and his friends started to experiment with a food truck to serve classic burgers nearby, his favourite accompaniment to craft beer. And from there, Burger Rebellion was born.
Refined Fool’s distribution soon became so large that they began brewing their beer at other breweries across Ontario just to keep up with the demand. With such a focus on a local product, it only seemed right to bring it all back to Sarnia with an expanded second location to brew it themselves. They opened the London Road location on April 1st.
In addition to expanded operations and a second taproom, they explored partner opportunities with local restaurants to provide food on-site. Burger Rebellion jumped at the chance to expand and now has a permanent year-round location inside the London Road location. (Don’t worry, they still have the food truck operating seasonally downtown.) Burger Rebellion is proving to be the perfect fit - who doesn’t love a delicious locally-sourced burger to go with their craft beer?
Not even a month into their latest expansion, with their beer being sold in LCBOs across Ontario and on tap in local restaurants, they still can’t keep up with demand. New bigger tanks are already in the works. “It seems just as soon as we expand to keep up with demand, demand increases. Not a bad problem to have,” laughs Nathan Colquhoun.
Refined Fool is located at 137 Davis Street and newly opened expansion with Burger Rebellion at 1326 London Road (in the old TJ Liquidators building). To find out more about their locally brewed craft beer, check out their website.