Bed, breakfast and brewing
Gananoque B&B owner Bruce Davis, Artsci'84, is supporting the local sustainable food movement by producing the town's first truly local beer.
As an undergraduate at Queen’s, Bruce Davis, Artsci’84, enjoyed sipping beer in various campus pubs. 27 years later, he’s back on campus once again with beer in hand—but this time he’s selling it, not buying.
As the founder of the Gananoque Brewing Company, Bruce’s aim is to develop a truly local vertically integrated brewery that supports the local sustainable food movement and that can help drive local economic development.
“We’re trying to do things differently,” Bruce says of the company he started in 2011. “We’re growing our own barley; we’re growing our own hops. I don’t know of any other brewery in Ontario that’s doing that.”
Bruce—who met wife Seonaid, Artsci’85, at Queen’s—left Kingston for Ottawa and then Toronto after graduation where he worked for the Red Cross for ten years. In 1997, he established a political communications and government relations consultancy in Toronto, which he sold and then left in 2008 to pursue a different kind of lifestyle. Not feeling quite ready to retire (“I’ve got at least a couple more businesses left in me,” Bruce laughs), he and Seonaid looked into moving back to the Kingston area—a decision that ultimately resulted in Bruce opening the five-bedroom Manse Lane B&B in Gananoque in 2008.
“We’re in love with Kingston and Gananoque is a great little town,” says Bruce. “As a B&B owner, I love the cooking, the entertaining, and the hands-on work. It’s a lot of work, but it’s not stressful—it’s almost like care-free hard work.”
The seasonal nature of Manse Lane’s B&B business is complemented by Bruce’s busy schedule promoting and selling the locally crafted ales produced by the Gananoque Brewing Company.
Bruce credits his active involvement in politics, which he’s been consistently involved in since joining the Queen’s Liberal association in 1982, for giving him the confidence to promote and sell his products. As a lobbyist in Toronto one of his clients was a big brewery—an experience that’s been a touchstone in helping him navigate the legal and regulatory framework of commercial beer-production.
“I’m not shy about telling my story or the beer’s story and encouraging pubs to buy our products,” says Bruce. “I’m proud to say that our beers are delicious and well-crafted, and our focus is completely local.”
If you’re on campus and feeling thirsty, you can find Bruce’s beers on tap at the Queen’s Pub and the Grad Club.
Visit www.manselane.com for information about Bruce’s B&B.
Find the Gananoque Brewing Company on Facebook.