A commitment to sustainability, social responsibility and innovation has earned a local brewer Norfolk’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Norfolk’s tourism and economic development department announced on Feb. 13 that the 2020 recipient is Melanie Doerksen of the Charlotteville Brewing Company, which is located on Charlotteville West Quarter Line Road.
“This entrepreneur has not only started the business, but has expanded upon it probably every year,” Chris Garwood, an economic development officer with Norfolk, said at the county’s annual Economic Symposium in Simcoe.
“Each time you visit, you would be surprised to find something added. This entrepreneur has a penchant for product quality and uniqueness and we are proud that Norfolk County can boast of an entrepreneur of this calibre.”
Doerksen received a standing ovation from the large crowd at The Aud as she made her way to the stage.
“We are seizing on sustainability, which is at the core of our business philosophy,” Doerksen said afterward in an interview. “We’re trying to tread lightly on the Earth and show the community how you can own a sustainable business and make a profit at the same time.”
The Charlotteville Brewing Co. got rolling in 2010 when hops were planted on the farm where it is located. As for the restaurant component, the kitchen sources local food where possible, giving preference to suppliers who embrace sustainability as a guiding principle.
At its website, Charlotteville Brewing Co. outlines the philosophy that governs its decision-making. This includes:
- Utilize as much re-purposed material as possible.
- Grow raw ingredients organically or purchase organic.
- Pay personnel a living wage so they too can prosper.
- Strive to be as close to zero waste as possible.
- and beer that is as sustainable as it is delicious.
The website adds that all grain stock used on site is recycled as livestock feed. As well, 70 per cent of the water used is recycled.
Garwood said the competition this year was intense. Operators of more than 25 businesses were nominated, many of them multiple award winners in their own right before last Thursday’s symposium.
A judging panel comprised, in part, of members of Norfolk’s tourism and economic development advisory committee and Norfolk council tapped Doerksen for the honour.
Greg Wise of the Gibbled Goose and Destination 1207 in Waterford was presented with the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.