Big Rig Brewery - Lon Ladell
Tell us a bit about yourself and how Big Rig Brewery got started?
My name is Lon Ladell, but most people call me Brew Master Lon. I began commercially brewing in 1996, and came to Ottawa nine years ago and helped start Big Rig Brewery. It has been a quick process to build up to where we are today and it’s super exciting.
Tell us about the journey of going from a 10 barrel system in 2012 to the largest craft brewery in Ottawa?
We have been lucky to have great support. With that support we've been able to expand on a yearly basis to keep up with the demand. It has been a lot of fun seeing the brewery grow to this size.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
My favourite part of the job is probably recipe development. It's fun to wake up in the morning and think about the type of beer you want to drink that day, then build a recipe and make it come to fruition.
What advice would you give to other Ottawa entrepreneurs who are about to undergo expansion?
My advice would be to be organized, and be prepared to work.
You are involved with the Hope Volleyball Tournament. Will we find Big Rig beer there?
Yes, for the last few years we have been the title sponsor for Hope Volleyball, so all the beer you find at the event will be Big Rig! We are extremely proud to be involved with such a great cause and are excited to continue the support for years to come.
When you’re not busy working, what are the chances we can find you cheering on The Ottawa Fury?
I love this beautiful sport! We are so lucky to have a professional team in Ottawa. Fury is a great organization and I love going out on the weekends with my family and watching the games.
You mentioned that Big Rig is a family friendly business. How do you balance work and family?
It is a family-friendly business, we have lots of people who work here who have young families, and it is important to try and balance that however, you can. It's not uncommon to see my son hanging around the brewery or doing his homework at the bar.
What is your favourite Big Rig Beer?
It changes pretty often but right now I am enjoying the Big Rig Premium Pilsner.
How does Big Rig stay local and environmentally forward?
We keep the environment in mind whenever we making decisions and try to implement new practices all the time. Recently, we have removed shrink wrap from our kegs and we now use reusable straps instead. We also try to support local whenever we can, whether that be through collaborations with other local business or purchasing ingredients from a local farm.
Tell us about the arcade game in the tap room? :)
We have a Joust game in our taproom, which is a special game for me because I used to love playing it as a kid. It's cool that we have been able to bring it in and make it a part of the culture here.