One beer stein, four artisans

When Nick Allen approached local ceramist Rachel Grenon to discuss his plan to market a beer stein, conceived and made locally, to promote his brewery, she spontaneously accepted to take charge of the project. A project that quickly turned into teamwork among a ceramist and three potters.

“To my knowledge it is extremely rare for four artisans working in the same field, essentially four competitors, to help each other to create a single artifact, bearing one signature,” exclaimed Rachel Grenon, thrilled by the experience.

Now on sale, the stein, stamped KCO (Knowlton Co) is, as all had agreed, signed “Rachel Grenon, project conceiver and leader”. For Nick Allen the new Signature stein is a perfect example of the business model of Knowlton Co.: “Our approach is based above all on local investment,” he says. “What profits the community indirectly becomes proitable for us. Everyone wins when a local business invests locally. There are plenty of talented people we can call upon right here in Brome Lake and the surrounding area.”

Three experienced potters

“I don’t work with a wheel. So I needed a potter to make the cylindrical shape of the stein,” explained Rachel Grenon. I called on my friend, the very experienced potter Christian Roy. Someone who does that for you, is very generous. He turned fifty cylinders for me.”

A second potter, who prefers to remain anonymous, did the finishing of the bottom of the steins, a very delicate task. “I did the handles and Qita Reindler, who teaches pottery, attached them to the stein. I enamelled them all with help from my assistant Claire Tremblay. All this work was done over five weeks. You cannot do pottery in a rush; you have to scrupulously respect the drying times,” she concluded. Mission accomplished

The locally crafted beer stein met all the brewery’s expectations. “It sports all the colours of Knowlton Co and holds exactly one can of beer. Moreover, the interior glazing ensures that the beer is not in the least affected by the pottery,” explained the young Allen. “You can even use it to drink your coffee or your favourite tea.”

At time of going to press, nearly ten steins have been sold to customers, without any publicity. Nick Allen continues to look for ways to showcase inside his brewery products made cooperatively with local artists and craftsmen. A venture to follow…

Translation: Tam Davis