Side Launch Brewing and the Authentic Community of Collingwood: A Deep Dive with Side Launch Brewing’s Taproom Manager, Freddie Mercer

Nestled within the picturesque town of Collingwood, Ontario, Side Launch Brewing Company stands as a vibrant beacon of community spirit and craftsmanship, weaving together the rich tapestry of Collingwood's history and character. In an interview with Freddie Mercer, Side Launch Brewing’s enthusiastic Tap Room Manager, we learned all about the intrinsic charm that defines both Side Launch Brewing and the tightly-knit Collingwood community.

Freddie’s journey to Collingwood is a captivating narrative of wanderlust and self-discovery. A native of the UK, Freddie embarked on a transformative expedition that crossed the globe — sailing the azure waters of Croatia, Greece and The Caribbean to skiing the alpine slopes of Switzerland and B.C. Upon discovering Collingwood, it was the irresistible allure of the Ontario town’s diverse seasons that drew Freddie to establish roots in this remarkable community. And arriving with experience as a yacht captain and lodge manager, his experience in hospitality made him the perfect fit to be in charge of perfecting the customer experience in the Tap Room at Side Launch Brewing Company.

Collingwood, steeped in history and authenticity, has gracefully evolved over time, seamlessly embracing its historical foundations while warmly embracing newcomers, like Freddie, into its fold. 


Freddie illuminates the captivating fusion of the old and new, with local families whose roots run deep intermingling with the influx of eager tourists seeking to bask in Collingwood's natural splendour. This amalgamation fosters an energetic and dynamic atmosphere, perpetuating a thriving and closely-knit community.


When pressed to encapsulate Collingwood in a single word, Freddie artfully selects "authentic," a word that resonates with the town's historical roots and enduring character. Collingwood's High Street, adorned with red brick buildings and a bell tower, stands as an emblem of the town's past, a steadfast testament to its timeless allure and charm.


For Freddie, the magnetic allure of Collingwood extends beyond its picturesque surroundings. The town's proximity to the tranquil waters and its easy accessibility to outdoor adventures position it as a veritable paradise for water enthusiasts and winter thrill-seekers alike. 


“It’s really nice to have that on our doorstep,” Freddie added.

Yet, Collingwood's appeal goes beyond the natural realm, blossoming into an emerging haven with local entrepreneurs curating distinctive bars and restaurants, including Side Launch Brewing, that seamlessly integrate into the community's vibrant tapestry.


Freddie is quick to emphasize the enterprising spirit that courses through Collingwood's veins. "There are a number of active entrepreneurs in the community which creates a great environment for progress and development" Freddie remarks, underscoring the palpable sense of innovation and community engagement that characterizes Collingwood's spirit.


At the heart of Collingwood's social fabric lies Side Launch Brewing Company, a hub of conviviality where visitors and locals — like Freddie, converge to savour finely crafted beers and forge lasting connections. 


As the tap room manager, Freddie smoothly orchestrates the symphony of operations and community interactions, skillfully guiding patrons through an immersive experience that seamlessly fuses history, quality, and modernity.


One of Side Launch Brewing's hallmarks is its steadfast commitment to crafting impeccable beer. Freddie, drawing on his background in craft beverages, lauds the brewery's unwavering dedication to producing top-tier beers spanning a diverse array of styles. 


The "Anyday Session IPA” occupies a special place in Freddie’s heart, enticing with its robust flavour profile and moderate alcohol content — a testament to Side Launch Brewing's mastery in delivering a gratifying indulgence without the lingering aftereffects.

“It has the fruity and hoppy profile and characteristics of a strong IPA without the associated ABV which can make them unapproachable,” Freddie notes.


However, Side Launch Brewing's distinctiveness transcends its exceptional brews. It is the brewery's transparent and immersive approach that truly sets it apart. 


The tap room seamlessly melds with the brewing facility, casting visitors right into the heart of the brewing process. The result is an intimate connection between the community and beer-making artistry. 


Freddie aptly remarks, "When you walk in you can smell the malts, see the steam coming from the brewhouse and watch the busy Side Launch Team hard at work, its a truly immersive experience". Moreover, the knowledgeable tap room associates, who are “certified craft beer enthusiasts”, eagerly share their passion and expertise, enhancing the visitor's journey of discovery.


“If you were to point out a piece of equipment that you can see from the tap room, then they would happily talk you through it and explain what's going on,” he noted.


“The tap room team does a wonderful job of taking care of all the guests that come to the brewery — trying to share the enthusiasm that we all have for our beer with the people of Collingwood and visitors,” he added.

Freddie Mercer epitomizes the soul of Collingwood and Side Launch Brewing, skillfully bridging tradition and innovation through his role as Tap Room Manager. His presence enriches visitors' experiences, offering a window into Collingwood's storied history while celebrating its ever-evolving spirit.


In the heart of Collingwood, Side Launch Brewing Company continues to stand as a cherished bastion of authentic charm and community vibrancy.


As both a testament to Collingwood's essence and a cultivator of cherished memories, Side Launch Brewing beckons all who pass through its doors to savour not only exceptional beers — but also the remarkable tapestry of the Collingwood community.

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