Local brewery and Operation Come Home team up
AFTER THE PROGRAM was shut down by provincial authorities, Buy Your Beau’s Online (BYBO) is up and running again. The home-delivery service for the Ottawa area, initiated by Operation Come Home and Beau’s beer, originally launched Nov. 24, only to be shut down later that day.
BYBO charges $15 per delivery, donating the delivery proceeds to Operation Come Home, an Ottawa-based charity that supports homeless youth and a longtime partner of Beau’s beer, a brewery outside of Ottawa.
“Beau’s has a long history of supporting the community through charitable donations and working with charitable groups,” said Steve Beauchesne, Beau’s co-founder. “We started working with Operation Come Home in 2008, supporting them through a different social enterprise called Bottle Works.”
The Bottle Works program employed at-risk youth from Operation Come Home to pick up bottles from commercial locations and return them to The Beer Store. Youth involved in the program were also given the option to return Beau’s beer bottles directly to the brewery for a more generous donation.
Beauchesne said he wanted to expand Bottle Works, which led to the creation of the BYBO program.
“I was meeting with the director of Operation Come Home about eight months ago, looking for ways to increase revenue of the Bottle Works program or come up with new ideas for new social enterprises for the kids to undertake,” said Beauchesne, who first suggested kids pick up bottles from homes in addition to commercial locations.
“But then I thought if they were going to pick up empties, why don’t they deliver beer at the same time?”
Jamie Hammond, communications officer for Operation Come Home, said Beauchesne’s idea was well received by the organization.
“It kind of just took off,” said Hammond. “[People at Beau’s] were really excited about it, we were really excited about it, and our kids were especially excited about it. It created, off the bat, two new job opportunities for them.”
It took the organizations eight months to figure out the logistics of the new delivery service.
“It took a long time to work out a system that would be safe for the at-risk individuals,” said Beauchesne. “Once we were satisfied that we had a good model that would be beneficial to individuals delivering the beer and find an innovative beer that you could otherwise get only at the beer store in Vankleek Hill to customers in Ottawa in a convenient way, we went ahead with the project.”
Operation Come Home applied for a home delivery licence through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), and launched BYBO shortly after.
But on the first day of the service, AGCO received an anonymous call from another brewery, pointing out delicate wording in their regulations—only The Beer Store and the LCBO are allowed to deliver, which excludes government-authorized stores like Beau’s.
After the service was shut down, Beauchesne contacted Glengarry–Prescott–Russell MPP Grant Crack, explaining the situation. Crack then spoke to Dalton McGuinty, Ontario premier.
“I asked the premier [to reinstate the service] and he
said it makes sense,” said Crack. “We determined which ministry it would fall under and now the attorney general has a team working on it. The brewery is an important part of our community here.”
To reinstate the service, John Gerretsen, Ontario attorney general, issued a regulatory exemption to Operation Come Home. Although the law hasn’t changed, BYBO can keep operating while the provincial government reviews the regulations.
“It’s quite funny, we were having a staff meeting when we found out,” said Beauchesne. “In the update I was saying ‘It’s great that the government will look at this but, in terms of timelines, it’s not like this is going to get fixed before the weekend.’ And then, wouldn’t you know, my phone started ringing and it was MPP Crack telling me that we can start back up again.”
Customers can now order Beau’s beer online at Beaus.ca.
“It’s great for us and it’s great for our customers,” said Beauchesne. “But you can imagine the two guys [from Operation Come Home] that had a job, who suddenly lost the job one day in—for them it’s got to be a Christmas miracle.”