Geoff Tait doesn’t look like a traditional owner of a golf business.
And he’s okay with that.
Sitting in a corner booth of a nondescript Queen Street pub in Toronto’s trendy Beaches neighbourhood, I sat down for a quick chat with Tait – who was clad in a plaid button-up shirt and a few day’s old beard – and a mutual friend.
Tait was the former brainchild behind Quagmire clothing and Arnie Wear before internal struggles prompted the company to disband last year. He’s been working the phones and putting kilometres on his car the last few months promoting his newest business venture, the Triple Bogey Brewing Company, a beer brewed with golfers in mind.
After Quagmire was abandoned due to a “partnership stalemate” Tait says he went through a time of self-discovery, which may or may not have including drinking a few beers.
“I applied for a few jobs, got a few jobs, but it just wasn’t me,” he says.
One day he sat down and realized that, after having a long history in the golf industry, the thing it was lacking was a beer dedicated to the game’s clientele.
It was a unique concept and he tried to get the idea off the ground.
Tait admits that he knew very little about the actual brewing process starting out, but is getting a crash course in how it all works from the 2013 Craft Brewery of the Year, the Great Lakes Brewing Company.
The beer made its debut at the Golf Journalists Association of Canada annual awards ceremony in July and was well received. It’s an easy-drinking blonde lager with a crisp taste, and is the kind of beer someone would be looking for after a round of golf on a warm summer day.
Since then, Tait has been fielding calls and making deliveries to a variety of courses in the Niagara, Muskoka and Greater Toronto Area. It’s currently on tap at Rock Lobster Food Co. – a hipster seafood restaurant on the Ossington strip in Toronto – and available at Castro’s Lounge on Queen Street East.
Tait says he’s been in negotiations with representatives at both the LCBO and the Beer Store in order to have it stocked for 2014, although he assumes most of the sales will come from people at golf courses. When consumers are in a golfing environment, they’re more likely to have an affinity with the brand, he says.
“It’s like when you’re at a Leafs game. You have a choice of beers, and you’d probably pick the one that has a hockey puck or a Leafs logo on it, because you’re in that environment,” says Tait.
The business model makes sense, and Tait is confident in it because he has no competition in the space. He’s cognizant that the craft beer business is growing but hasn’t been saturated with “sports” beers quite yet. For example, there is Left Field Brewery (a baseball-themed beer) but he says that they actually support each other. It’s about finding a niche.
The other side of Triple Bogey is clothing.
Tait is obviously no stranger to that market, having worked on the Quagmire brand for upwards of seven years. Like Quagmire, the Triple Bogey line is fun and bold. It carries over the beer’s main green, white and black colour scheme and is “fit for the fairways and perfect for the patios.”
Tait revealed that at one point he was thinking that Quagmire would release a beer as part of its product lineup, but didn’t know if it would have worked then.
Between being a part-time instructor at Durham College and continuing to build the Triple Bogey brand, Geoff Tait is a busy guy. Triple Bogey was the official beer of Toronto Maple Leaf Phil Kessel’s charity tournament in the summer, and he remains optimistic that it will resonate with golfers in 2014. He’s pulled together a business model to expand its operations across Canada and into the U.S. in the next few years.
He may not look the part, but he acts it. And Triple Bogey Brewing Co. will be a company to watch through 2014.