Newmarket brewery welcomes tornado-ravaged Second Wedge of Uxbridge to share space


Published September 23, 2022 at 9:23 am

Collaboration is central to the vibe of craft beer. New breweries opening in the ‘territory’ are often enough seen as future collaborators, not competitors.

But a new, albeit temporary, partnership between The Second Wedge Brewing in Uxbridge and Market Brewing in Newmarket could be dubbed the “ultimate collaboration as Market has invited their neighbours 30 kilometres to the east to move in, tanks and all, and share the space.

“We’ve received our final blessings from CRA and AGCO – so it’s official! We’re ‘roomies’ with the fine people at Market Brewing Company till our rebuild is done, said an enthused Joanne Richter, the co-owner of The Second Wedge. “It’s a revolutionary solution to our extreme, unusual circumstance, and probably the first (and last) time you’ll see two breweries producing collaboratively out of the same space.”

When The Second Wedge was devastated by the F2 tornado that swept through Uxbridge in late May, the brewery was left without a home as much of the outer structure was destroyed, including the roof, which was ripped off with staff and guests still inside.

Richter was out of town but her husband Rob Garrard was there and was in fact upstairs with the family dog when the twister hit.

“Rob and our dog came down then, completely drenched – it was raining torrentially inside the brewery, which now had no roof. I’m told this is when everyone downstairs realized what they had just been through.”

Once the wind subsided the brewery team moved everyone outside for safety.

“The scene was completely surreal: the brewery roof was cleanly torn off, cars were crushed, wires were down, the brewery, tasting room and beer garden were trashed and full of debris, trees were down everywhere, and our roof had blown across the road and flattened a feed store building.”

That’s also when the Uxbridge community spirit was put on display.

“I think everyone was in a state of shock that day, but a big crowd of people from the community came out to see what they could do to help. With so many homes affected, that was pretty incredible,” she said. “The support from our community here in Uxbridge, and also the brewing community across Ontario, has been absolutely overwhelming.”

Market Brewing Co. was one of the first breweries to reach out the day the tornado happened, offering to help in any way they could. When The Second Wedge tanks had to be moved out of the building, Rob Carefoote of Carefoot Beverage Solutions had the idea of installing one at Market Brewing “Piers (Simpkin) and Josh (Uttley) at Market took the idea one step farther: why not install FOUR fermenters, plus a brite tank?”

“So here we are. We’ll be producing beer out of Market Brewing till our brewery is rebuilt.”

The new partnership has squeezed Market a bit – “We’re looking forward to getting back to our usual-sized batches,” Simpkin told the Brewer’s Journal with a grin, while Richter chimed in in the same vein. “Hopefully we aren’t the roommates that you can’t wait to get out of the house.”

Richter said she expects her brewery to be rebuild by late February at the earliest, though likely it will be ready by the time spring – signifying new hope – is sprung in Uxbridge.

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