Brewed in the BoQ: Flyby Brewing Company
Flyby Brewing Company opened their doors in 2021 in Quinte West. Within a few short months of being open, they had already developed a strong and loyal customer base. We sat down with them to learn more about how they decided to take a leap into the local craft beer industry.
MEET ADAM AND DAVE
You’d be hard-pressed to find a prouder father-in-law than Flyby Brewing Company’s co-owner Dave Shpeley. Content to chat about almost every aspect of his new business at length, when it comes to most things beer-related he happily defers to his son-in-law, partner, and Flyby’s head brewmaster, Adam Stepanek.
“I think Adam does a great job of translating his philosophies about beer into what he makes,” declares Shpeley, explaining the brewery’s range contains a number of popular favourites, including the fruit-forward Hazy IPA and a 7 percent Maibock, which reflects Stepanek’s Czech heritage.
AN IDEA THAT’S BEEN YEARS IN THE MAKING
This idea to produce and sell quality beer started on British Columbia’s sunshine coast long before it migrated east to this area. When Shpeley and wife Georgie moved from North Vancouver back to their home province of Ontario thirteen years ago, they probably never dreamed their daughter and son-in-law might one day follow. But Shpeley had watched Stepanek try to break into B.C.’s extremely crowded craft brewery market for years and decided to do a little research. Believing the Bay of Quinte region might hold more promise for a talented and enterprising beer maker like his son-in-law, Shpeley passed on the information to Stepanek and the rest is history.
Still, nobody figured on Covid rearing its ugly head right around the same time. When skyrocketing construction costs and supply chain issues further complicated matters, the business duo scrapped their initial plans to open a farm-themed business on Shpeley’s rural property near Stirling. Instead, they pivoted and signed a lease on a storefront in Quinte West. Rolling up their sleeves to do most of the brewery build-out themselves while simultaneously settling for one fermenter instead of three, the business partners opened their doors in December 2021.
“It was a soft opening instead of a grand opening,” admits Shpeley, noting the other two fermenters eventually arrived.
Business has remained brisk ever since. Early on a Tuesday afternoon both men must excuse themselves repeatedly during this interview to wait on customers.
GETTIN’ BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS
Keeping up with demand provides a happy challenge for most new entrepreneurs. Wading through all the necessary regulations can prove a little more daunting, though both owners insist all three levels of government involved have been quite cooperative. They boast about their terrific landlords and credit many of Stepanek’s brewery buddies with supplying helpful advice. A regular customer with artistic talent painted a striking aviator-themed mural on the taproom wall while another friend designed their logo: a winged skull wearing an old-fashioned aviator cap, the perfect image for a brewery located just north of the airbase, right by RCAF road.
Perhaps the duo’s unflagging enthusiasm for what they do helps bring in steady traffic, though Shpeley acknowledges a pinball machine, games arcade and a selection of old-fashioned board games appeal as well. Tables, both indoors and out, plus ample bar and counter space guarantee plenty of room. And then, of course, there’s the beverages.
“I make beer I like to drink,” says Stepanek, and apparently, Flyby’s customers are just fine with that.