Side Launch Stories: Bernardo Zamora

The small town of Collingwood, nestled in the heart of Ontario, Canada, has become more than just a picturesque destination for locals and tourists alike. It's a place where community thrives, and where businesses like Side Launch Brewing Company have found their home. 

At the helm of Side Launch's operations stands Bernardo Zamora, whose journey from Venezuela to Canada has not only brought him closer to his passion for brewing but has also allowed him to immerse himself in the welcoming embrace of Collingwood's community.

In 2015, Bernardo Zamora traded the warm landscapes of Venezuela for snowy Canada. He brought with him a wealth of brewing experience, having worked with Venezuela's largest brewer since 2008. His expertise spanned all facets of the brewing process, from packaging and operations to water treatment and quality brewing.  Beginning his Canadian journey at prominent breweries such as Molson and Mill Street in 2016, he eventually found his way to Side Launch Brewing Company in January 2023, armed with a background in both multinational and craft beer industries. This diverse experience laid the groundwork for Bernardo's current role as the Brewery Operations Manager, overseeing the heart of Side Launch's brewing operations.


For Bernardo, community represents a group of people coming together, collaborating, and sharing experiences to support and uplift each other. This definition resonates deeply with Side Launch Brewing's ethos, as the company actively engages in collaborations with various community entities. According to Bernardo, the goal is clear: to become synonymous with Collingwood and to be recognized as a landmark for visitors seeking the authentic essence of the town.
Collingwood has quickly captured Bernardo's heart, and when asked to describe it in one word, he chooses "peaceful." It is the perfect word to encompass the tranquillity and harmony that permeate the town. But there is more to Collingwood than just peace. The people, for one, have left an indelible impression on Bernardo. 

“I really like the people,” Bernardo said.

“First and foremost, everyone's very gentle, very open, very welcoming,” he added.

Beyond the people, Collingwood's natural beauty casts a spell on both locals and newcomers, including Bernardo himself. Bernardo expresses his admiration for the incredible sights and the proximity to various attractions. 

“I like the closeness that there is to anything — like to do short walks, or a short drive to the beach, or a short drive to wonderful trails. It's a very nice place and it's a place where year-round there are things going on,” Bernardo said.

“Now we're in the summer, so it's all about going to the beach and enjoying the water, enjoying the lakes and hiking — and then once the winter comes, (although I'm not a skier or anything like that), it turns out that we get an influx of people coming to enjoy the slopes and those activities,” he added.

Side Launch Brewing Company has played an integral part in Collingwood's community narrative. Bernardo's love for the brewery is deeply rooted in its German beer influence. His extensive training in Germany and a master's degree in brewing from the Technical University of Munich resonate with the brewery's origins. 

One of Side Launch Brewing Company’s original brewers,  Michael Hancock, had an appreciation for German beer which resulted in Side Launch's ability to recreate traditional recipes with finesse. For Bernardo, this connection with German beer brings a sense of nostalgia, reminiscent of his second home.

“Michael Hancock loves German beer and he managed to recreate the recipes very well,” Bernardo said.

“Germany is my second home after Venezuela — so it brings me home every time I drink it. I enjoy it a lot, it’s a great product,” he added.

While Side Launch Brewing offers a range of outstanding beers, Bernardo has a few that really stand out to him. Of course, this includes the Bavarian-style wheat beer.

“It’s a beer that doesn't let you down at any point,” Bernardo said.

“If you have enjoyed German beers in the past or have travelled to Germany and know them, you're gonna get a piece of that with this beer,” he added.

When talking about the brewery’s lineup of special summer offerings, Bernardo leans towards the Passionate Sour.

“It’s this great balance of let's say a bit of tartness, but also with a sweet background — and then the very nice aroma from the passion fruit and also the coconut makes it very summery,” Bernardo said.

“It’s a very enjoyable drink,” he added.

According to Bernardo, Side Launch Brewing Company’s taproom is something to see. It’s very active and always has something going on. 

“The weekends are incredibly packed and yeah, I think we have a very good brand that is kind of ingrained within the town that it lives in and but it has also a province-wide appeal,” Bernardo said.

“We're coming up to 10 years of existence and we're still going strong, so that's very exciting,” he added.

As a representative of Side Launch Brewing, Bernardo is thrilled to be part of the efforts to further integrate with Collingwood's community. Being ingrained in the town's fabric is not only about business but also about fostering authentic connections with people, businesses, and local initiatives. Collingwood's warmth and sense of belonging have made this integration a fulfilling experience for many newcomers, including Bernardo.

Bernardo Zamora's journey to Collingwood, and his role at Side Launch Brewing Company, embody the essence of community and its interconnectedness. Collingwood's peaceful charm, warm-hearted people, and stunning landscapes have also provided the perfect backdrop for the brewery to thrive and grow. 

As Side Launch Brewing continues to collaborate, connect, and craft exceptional beers, they contribute to the tapestry of Collingwood's rich and vibrant community life, leaving an enduring mark on both locals and visitors.

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