Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles chronicling the effects of COVID-19 on businesses and organizations in Oshawa.
COVID-19 isn’t stopping one Oshawa company from brewing up a new business.
All or Nothing Brewhouse on Ritson Road South launched its newest domestic wheat beer, Pure Passion Oatmeal Stout, this week.
“[We have] darker beer for the fall, and fruit and sour beers for the summer, and those are always evolving,” said All or Nothing co-owner and Durham College alumnus, Jeff Dornan.
Even though COVID-19 got in the way of its first anniversary celebration at its Oshawa location, they still received a great response from both old and new customers.
During the brewery’s temporary store closure and its shutdown of operations for making beer due to government-imposed restrictions, they used their 5,000-litre distillery to make hand sanitizer for a couple of months.
“We were producing lots of hand sanitizer cans that went to local fire departments, local health care providers, local businesses, which kept them busy from the start,” said Dornan. Hand sanitizers are currently made in bulks of five-gallon buckets, for business, but are popular with the industrial industry.
Meantime, customers started to request more beer; Dornan explained it’s their goal to make customers happy.
Brewing operations resumed in May and the retail location and patio opened up in June.
“We’ve seen a steady amount of people, we are very fortunate to have a fairly large patio, which is unique in Oshawa, so I think that drew people out to us and people have been able to socially distance,” said Dornan.
Having a limited number of people may go against what a brewery wants, but it was necessary to hit the brakes and be socially responsible, Dornan said.
“It’s been a delicate balance of having the bills paid and doing our part to ensure there’s no infections or anything like that.”
All or Nothing has to ensure customers are safe through contact tracing. There haven’t been any cases of COVID throughout the facility, but they need to get accurate information about the customers who visit and stay at the brewery. The names come from online reservations or paper logs.
Many customers have been using All or Nothing’s website to order beer for curbside pickup, which has been popular. It’s been allowing customers to have contactless service, Dornan said.
All or Nothing also uses its social media platforms to connect consumers with what’s next, whether it’s new beer releases or events happening at the brewery.
“Every Friday right now, we are supporting a local urban farmer called City of Greens, he’s doing a farmers’ market, and is the only stall right now, but we’re looking to expand it in 2021.”
All or Nothing started seven and a half years ago by brothers Eric and Jeff Dornan from the Durham region.
For the first three years, the Dornan brothers had to use other facilities for brewing, but still used their own recipes and marketing materials. Later they purchased one of the oldest breweries in Ontario, located in Oakville, formerly known as Trafalgar.
“We commuted from Whitby to Oakville for three years and spent many miles in the car,” said Jeff Dornan.
When an almost 60-year-old beer store, on Ritson Road in Oshawa, went up for sale, and the brothers bought the property.
“Our goal was always to move in back home to Oshawa into our forever home, and this building made complete sense.”
The Dornan brothers also planned to turn the facility into hosting weddings, and other events, pre-COVID, as there is a large beer hall that can host up to 80 people.
“Three weddings were booked, and they had to be cancelled until next year due to COVID.”
Jeff Dornan describes All or Nothing as the “community hub,” and wants to ensure the money made keeps cycling to Ontario and the community.
“We’d like to see the continued support of local businesses, it’s the backbone of every community, said Jeff Dornan. Keeping the local businesses employed is critical because many don’t realize how many jobs are generated off of local businesses.”
Throughout the pandemic, Jeff Dornan said All or Nothing isn’t going anywhere.
“We have a full variety of beers that we’ve already planned and started brewing for fall and winter releases,” said Jeff Dornan. “We don’t know if our indoor seating will be closed through government suggestion or not, but we will follow protocols as normal.”