Aonghus Kealy/Metro Toronto


Wellington Brewery sales and marketing manager Bruce Eaton shows off the Welly tap, and an old portable tap from the company’s beginnings.

Give me the boot.

You can thank Wellington Brewing for that phrase after Bruce Eaton helped create one of the smartest marketing tools created by any brewer in the country. Eaton took the Size 2 rubber boot of his son, Cameron, and brought it in to be moulded as a beer tap handle.

“We figured if you’re going to stick out in the market why not go for this,” says the sales and marketing manager, playfully handling one of the boot taps at the brewery during a recent visit by Metro Toronto.

“This has been a huge part of our success,” Eaton says.

He adds that there are a few common phrases that he’s heard over and over since Wellington started using it.

“‘I’ll have a Welly,’ or ‘give me the boot,’ or ‘what’s that?’ In this industry, being as competitive as it is, you need every advantage.

“It’s a foot in the door, I guess.”

After 21 years of business, there are 250 such handles across the province — pub

and restaurant business represents more than half of the business that the Guelph brewery gets.

Wellington was the first microbrewery in the province to allow Ontarians to enjoy cask-conditioned ale, and still sell Arkell and Wellington County Ale to many establishments around the province.

But this brewery isn’t simply a group of marketing whizzes. Their beer is damn good, too, and well-loved by traditionalists and hearty-beer lovers.

There’s a lot of chew and love in their beers, many of which have a higher alcohol content.

For this lovely weather, try their Special Pale Ale, with only 4.5 per cent alcohol. It’s available in six packs of 341-ml at the LCBO for $10.75.

Festival of Beer: It’s on, starting tomorrow and ending Sunday at Old Fort York.

Tap into Metro Toronto’s Festival of Beer section in tomorrow’s paper for all the goods on this event.

Meanwhile, if you won tickets in last week’s Festival of Beer contest (good only for Friday and Sunday) and haven’t picked them up, please do so before 4 p.m. tomorrow or else we’ll see a few Metro Toronto employees high-five and yell out “Score!”


Wellington Stout Curry With Lamb

INGREDIENTS: 1 lb. of lamb (cubed) 1 onion, sliced 2 cloves garlic, chopped 4 cups roma tomatoes from can juice from 1 lemon 1 cup yogurt (plain) 1 tbsp paprika 1 cup of Wellington Imperial Stout 2 tbsp curry powder 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp coriander seed (round) 1 bay leaf

PROCEDURE: Marinate lamb in Wellington Imperial Stout, yogurt, lemon juice and paprika 6-8 hours. Sauté onions and garlic until soft. Add all dry spices, the lamb with the marinade and the tomatoes. Simmer for 1 hour. Serve over steamed rice.