Travois Ale Works began as a collective of like minded people who spend most of their time outdoors... with beers.
So the first part of the story should probably be the name... TRAVOIS... Travois were used by Great Plains aboriginal bands to haul their stuff. It usually consisted of two long poles with some sort of framework, lashed to the sides of your dog. The poles dragged behind the dog and the frame carried your tipi and food. Dog travois were usually quite small, capable of pulling about 25kg. Later, dogs were replaced by horses, and the increased pulling power allowed tipis to get bigger in size and people to haul more worldly belongings. Early fur trappers trekking through the Canadian West, and even the RCMP, copied the dog travois they saw as an easy and efficient means to haul more stuff.
As such, travois are an iconic part of Medicine Hat's early history... but what do they have to do with beer ?
Well... not sure really... other than Jacques, our brewer, has a Shiba Inu (that's a breed of dog) that looks a whole lot like the dogs they used to pull travois back in the day... despite being Japanese (the dog, not the travois owners).
We always knew that Kona (the Shiba Inu) was going to be part of our brand, and the connection to place and local tradition was too inviting not to make him the "Travois" dog.
Travois are intrinsically connected to this part of the world, they are uniquely prairie... like us... and they represent travel and movement through the great outdoors which is something that brought the partners together in the first place. So there was just a "rightness" to it all.
Travois, the Ale Works, began back in 2016 (ish?) over beers, what else? Jacques was about to embark on an American Brewers Guild course, driven by a desire to learn more about a craft he had already been exploring... as fate would have it, late in 2016 Jacques met Rob... who had recently acquired a building at 612 3rd Street in downtown Medicine Hat, and wasn't sure what he was going to do with it.
Jacques took one tour of the space and instantly could imagine his vision coming to fruition in the dusty old brick relic.
Rob and Jacques began chewing the fat about what it would take to salvage and restore the building, and get a brewery off the ground. They quickly realized two things... one...they couldn't do it by themselves, and two... they would need a lot more money.
That's where Jorey and Todd come in. Jacques knew Jorey from biking trails in the Cypress Hills, and they shared a passion for brewing beer.
Jorey had been a casualty of the latest oil patch recession and was looking for something to fuel his dreams rather than just his pocketbook. Travois Ale Works GM and assistant brewer fit the bill to a T... he jumped at the opportunity.
Todd was invited to the party late... "geeky computer type who can pour pints on the side and manage Social Media". Jacques also says they needed a pretty face behind the bar (not sure if that was a success). Jacques and Todd have been friends for years. They first met while working at Valhalla Pure Outfitters in it's early days.
Seeing the outdoor connection? Friends, dog, biking, outdoors, beer... No ? Well OK but we did :-)
...and now we're Travois Ale Works... come on down, see what we've done with the place, try the beer, and decide for yourself if it was a good idea...
Oh and don't forget to bring your dog and a travois to haul your growler home.