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Table Beer Launch Prompting Important Tables-Side Conversations

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It all began with a Facebook post on February 1st 2018. Shoel Davidson used the #BellLetsTalk platform and campaign in displaying immense amount of vulnerability and courage through a social media post sharing his ongoing challenges surrounding mental health, and sharing the compassion and willingness to help others experiencing the same. It was this post which inspired the beginning of Mind The Bar.

Shoel Davidson, Successful Vancouver-based Restaurateur, and hospitality industry veteran of 20+ years, started as a dishwasher, and worked his way through every aspect of the restaurant scene. “I’ve battled with my mental health throughout my life, including struggling with depression & suicide during my teens, depression & anxiety as an adult, as well as often resorting to alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with my mental health throughout my hospitality career up until a few years ago.”

In 2017, Davidson recalls a series of events in both his personal and professional life which resulted in heightened depression and anxiety levels – leading him to consider taking an extreme measure – his own life. “It was here that I realized I wasn’t okay and that I needed help.” Davidson continues by saying, “I was (and am) very fortunate to have an amazing circle of loved ones, friends and family around me that supported me in this. However I had a lot of difficulty finding the information, resources, and professional help I needed.”

This moment of realization and self-awareness prompted the start of a journey that led him to be inspired to do something about it, and make a difference towards others sharing similar experiences as himself – especially those working in the industry. Davidson also expresses that at this time he was eager to investigate and find “alternatives towards a more positive lifestyle within the industry that didn’t resort or revolve around the normalized substance abuse that persists within it.” 

“I brought the seed of an idea to my business partner, Christina Cottell, which I’ve opened both Gringo Gastown (6 years ago) and Dixie’s BBQ (3 years ago) with. She was incredibly supportive and urged me on.

This led to my starting a conversation among a select few friends and peers within the hospitality industry, many of whom would later become the founding members of Mind The Bar, about my vision and how change might occur.”

“The enthusiasm and synergy around what we were trying to do was truly special, and we quickly built the initial framework of the Foundation as well as short and long-term goals we hoped to achieve” says Davidson. The goal of Mind The Bar is to operate as an intermediary in connecting people wishing to seek support such as through counselling within the mental health sector.

The intent is to “establish a vetted shortlist of mental health professionals who are interested in working with the Foundation, who offer an affordable sliding scale fee, and [whom] ideally have some background or understanding of the hospitality industry.” Fast forward only a few months after the initial brainstorms and discussions had commenced, and the Mind The Bar Foundation was officially recognized under the BC Societies Act in September 2018. Now registered under the BC Societies Act, the Foundation’s intention is to work with and provide information and assistance to everyone within the hospitality industry throughout British Columbia.

“Mental health is something that affects us all, regardless of where we live, and it is therefore our goal to assist in establishing associated division of the Foundation within each district that will be overseen and governed by local representation. Surrey has a massive and proudly diverse hospitality community that we are already beginning to work with at a grassroots level” Davidson explains.  

Russell Breweries staff, Jimmy Darbyshire and Doug Embury, had known Davidson, and his business partner, Cottell for a few years as they had been an account of the brewery with their Gringo restaurant. The Russell Breweries pair heard about the launch of the Mind The Bar project and saw it as an opportunity to help. “Jimmy & Doug were incredibly supportive of the initiative from the beginning & were very eager to get involved however possible” explained Davidson.

“They (Darbyshire and Embury) approached Christina and I shortly after our launch event about creating a beer specifically for raising funds for Mind The Bar. After speaking with the Board of Directors I told them that if they were going to make an officially collaborative beer it would have to be (a) low-ABV/alcohol, to assist with reducing excessive drinking within the hospitality community, (b) inexpensive, because we wanted it to be affordably available to everyone no matter how limited their budget may be, and (c) very drinkable, because we wanted it to be easily enjoyed by everyone. The boys at Russell took these ‘guidelines’ and their MTB Belgian table beer was the end result.”

When asked why they chose this particular beer for the collaboration, Russell Breweries Darbyshire explains how “the “Table Beer” was very fitting as that is where a lot of conversation happens, at the table.

It drove home the idea that we need to talk about the problems our industry is currently facing.” “I think it speaks for itself that they knocked it out of the park on this one, and the sales tell me I’m not wrong” says Davidson about the low alcohol alternative that is helping bring awareness and raising money.

To learn more about the Mind The Bar initiative, check out their website here. Although the website is currently under construction due to the mass amount of information, resources, and hours required to go-live, you can still find information on certain resources and information on how to get involved. Although an official ‘go-live’ date cannot be confirmed at this time, Davidson confirms that they are working as hard as they can in order to launch a functional ‘Phase I’ stage of the website very soon.

The goal is to have the initial launch assist people in better navigating pertinent resources and information such as requesting assistance in finding mental health professionals, and information on the Foundation itself – how to volunteer or become a member. “The website will be constantly evolving as we gather more information, resources, feedback, and as the Foundation and mental health awareness within the hospitality industry grows” explains Davidson.

What’s most amazing about the evolution of this Foundation in such a short time is that all of the “the recognition and reputation surrounding Mind The Bar has spread solely by word of mouth. Initially, within the immediate Vancouver hospitality community following our launch in June 2018, then gaining international attention after our first place win in the 2018 Tahona Society’s Collective Spirit Competition” recalls Davidson.

In addition, Davidson adds that the amount of popularity and support the Mind The Bar Foundation has received has “a lot to do with the overall and increasing readiness of the hospitality industry, and society in general is to acknowledge the subject of mental health, and the desire to breakdown the stigma surrounding it.”

“When we first began speaking about some of the struggles we expected to encounter introducing Mind The Bar to the Vancouver and BC based hospitality industry, we believed it would take us at least a few years to convince our peers and the greater restaurant community that not only was there an egregious problem with mental health, addiction and workplace harassment within our industry but that it was long overdue to change the mentality and perspective around it.

What we discovered is not only were we wrong about how many were ready to listen and get involved in making a positive change but the amount of praise we received for ‘finally’ doing something about it” says Davidson. Russell Brewery began with two brothers in 1995, back when craft breweries were next to none. As one of the original 10 craft breweries in BC, they put Surrey on the map as being an early leader in the craft brewery scene.

Now, Russell Brewery has not only successfully passed the test of time over two decades, but has continued to grow and prosper amongst the 200+ breweries province-wide! They even underwent a rebrand over the past two years and freshened up and diversified not only their branding, but their beer offerings as well! “We have since traded hands a few times [since launching in 1995], but our mission is still the same – to offer innovative and exciting Craft Beer to this ever-evolving market” says Darbyshire.

“Although presently, Mind The Bar official membership is still limited to its original founding members, we have dozens of individuals who have been volunteering their time and assisting us with numerous facets of the Foundation as we continue to build the initial framework necessary to best utilize the skills and enthusiasm of new membership. Something we will be doing within the immediate next few weeks is the preparation for our upcoming AGM” says Davidson.

Davidson continues, “There’s still a long road ahead but something I’m most excited about it this next chapter when we can finally open the doors to new members.”

As for the Russell Brewery beer collaboration – you may be wondering, will this beer be continuously sold or is it a campaign with a closed-frame of time? Darbyshire says “We would love this to be an ongoing campaign. I think there is lots of opportunity to build on what we have already started.” And with an additional $6,000+ aimed to fundraise through the collaboration prior to year-end, time to buy to support an amazing cause! Partial proceeds from each 4-pack and keg sold will be donated directly to Mind The Bar Canada. For a list of the 300+ locations currently carrying the beer (to consume on tap or to purchase), check out the list here.

To follow Russell Brewing Company, check them out on their affiliated pages:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Robyn is a status-quo disruptor, an old-soul, and has a serious passion towards continuous learning driven by a curiosity for the unknown. A creative and equally analytical thinker with experience in leadership, project management and marketing strategy. When she’s not working you can find her in the kitchen, searching for new music, or meandering local thrift stores, antique stores, or flea markets for a unique find.

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Food & Drink

The Surrey Eats New Years Social at The Clayton Public House

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Join Us For THE New Year’s Celebration

The Surrey Eats New Years Social
COCKTAILS + CANAPES
Benefiting The Surrey Food Bank + My Cloverdale Kitchen

PRESENTED by:  Z95.3, Robbie Johal + The Clayton Public House

The new year is coming; the party is near.

We are sure looking forward to lots of good cheer.

Get all dressed up in your snazziest best, So you can win the prize + beat out the rest.

We will have the Z95.3 Street Squad, Games, Prizes, Raffles, Giveaways + A prize for the best dressed as voted on by the other party goers! This will be one for the books!

The tickets are $35 (or 4 for $125)/

This includes Canapes all night + a GLASS of FREE Champagne at MIDNIGHT!

Take a picture at our STEP + REPEAT, tag all the participating sponsors and you will get 5 free entries into the BIG PRIZE draw!

Sponsored By:

Z95.3, Robbie Johal – Clayton’s #1 Realtor, The Clayton Public House, Ultra Digital Printing, Surrey604.

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Food & Drink

There’s a New Pizzeria in The Neighbourhood…and It’s Inside 7-Eleven Stores Across Canada

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7-Eleven launches new lighter, crispier hand panned pizzas – made in
Canada with quality Canadian ingredients.

7-Eleven Canada invites Canadians to visit the new pizzeria in their neighbourhood – featuring hand panned pizzas made with quality Canadian ingredients.

The brand’s newest offering strikes the perfect balance between authentic Italian heritage and Canadian traditions. Knowing that the dough is the most important element to customers, 7-Eleven developed a light and crispy crust made from 100% Canadian wheat using authentic natural sourdough from Puglia, Italy. The dough is then hand-stretched and panned in B.C. to provide the lightness and crispiness reminiscent of an Italian pizzeria.

Quality Canadian ingredients top these flavour-packed pizzas including traditionally slow-dry cured pepperoni from Montreal. Three types of 100% Canadian milk cheeses bring the flavours together, including provolone and parmesan from Ontario and mozzarella from British Columbia.

“Our goal for our new pizza recipes was to provide a quality, delicious pizza hot from our store ovens in minutes 24/7 – or delivered to your home,” explains Norman Hower, VP and GM of 7-Eleven Canada. “The crust is arguably the most important piece of the pie, so we took our time to develop an authentic tasting dough that we knew people would love.”

For the month of December, Canadians are able to sample the new pizzas for free every Friday from 2-4pm! Whether you’re in a crunch for a kid’s party, tomorrow’s breakfast, or craving some late-night munchies, 7-Eleven Canada has you covered with late-night deliveries in over 350 stores and over 410 on December 16. To see if your local store delivers, visit www.7-eleven.ca/delivery.

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Cannabis

Province Brands of Canada Inks Deal to Distribute First CBD Beer Nationwide In Ireland

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First Step in Opening European Market in 2020

Award-Winning, Cork-Based Barry & Fitzwilliam Named Exclusive Multi-Year Distribution Partner

Province Brands of Canada, a leading researcher in cannabinoid science and the developer of first-of-its-kind luxury beverages powered by cannabis, is excited to announce today the selection of its exclusive distribution partner to bring the first nationally available nonalcoholic CBD beer to the Irish consumer.

Following an extensive search and competition, Province Brands of Canada announced that Barry & Fitzwilliam has been selected as exclusive distributor across the Republic of Ireland for Province Brands of Canada’s superior line of CBD beer in a multi-year relationship between the two firms. Barry & Fitzwilliam is Ireland’s largest independent premium drinks distributor, with a portfolio of more than 120 top-brand beers, wines, and spirits, a commitment to nationwide distribution, and an emphasis on high-level customer care.

“Province Brands of Canada is very excited to be working with the fine team at Barry & Fitzwilliam to bring the first nationally available CBD beer to the Irish consumer,” said Dooma Wendschuh, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder. “Three years ago, we began our journey. To be preparing to bring our first beers to Ireland and to be entering the European market is a breakthrough step for Province Brands of Canada and our approach to research, development, and innovation.”

“Barry & Fitzwilliam is delighted with our new association with Province Brands of Canada,” said Michael Barry, Managing Director of Barry & Fitzwilliam. “Province Brands is at the leading edge of CBD-infused and other cannabis powered beverages internationally and we are excited to be at the forefront with them in Ireland.”

Ireland ranks 6th in the world for beer consumption per capita and the new venture between Province Brands and Barry & Fitzwilliam is expected to begin offering CBD-infused, barley-based, non-alcoholic beverages across Ireland in February 2020.

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Food & Drink

Holiday Plant-Based Recipes | Celebrity Chef Craig Harding shares untraditional plant-based Thanksgiving Menu

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The President’s Choice® Brand Puts a Plant-Based Twist on Beloved Thanksgiving Classics

PC® Test Kitchen teams up with Celebrity Chef Craig Harding to create an untraditional holiday menu, incorporating an exciting new line-up of PC® Plant-Based products

The team at President’s Choice® (PC®) is helping overwhelmed hosts tackle Thanksgiving menu planning with recipe ideas and new plant-based products that will suit any palate, revealing that plant-based meal options may be easier than you think. A recent survey* found that 38 per cent of Canadians are looking to integrate more plant-based foods into their diet, but many Canadians aren’t too sure where to start.

“This weekend, millions of families across the country will be sitting down to a Thanksgiving feast – full of turkey, gravy and stuffing,” says Kathlyne Ross, VP of product development and innovation at Loblaw Companies Limited. “And, at many of those tables, someone will be looking for a non-meat option for dinner. Our expanded line-up of President’s Choice products that are meat and dairy-free will help make plant-based eating easier and more delicious than ever, particularly this holiday weekend.”

To provide much needed support to the almost one-third of Canadians who find it challenging to accommodate guest and family member food preferences during the holidays*, the team at President’s Choice® has collaborated with celebrity Chef Craig Harding to re-imagine festive classics, incorporating an expanded line-up of PC® Plant-Based products. These delicious recipes showcase that creamy soups and dressings, hearty mains and decadent desserts are a possibility for all food lovers around the table:

  • Kale, Delicata Squash and Kohlrabi Salad featuring PC® Cucumber and Dill Cashew Dip
  • Roasted Celery Root and Pear Soup with Red Pepper and Cashew Crostini featuring PC® Plant-Based Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Dip and PC® Dairy-free Kefir Probiotic Fermented Coconut Milk
  • Mushroom and Chickenless Chicken Wellington featuring PC® Plant-Based Chickenless Breasts with Vegan Charred Gravy
  • Citrus Roasted Heirloom Carrots and Avocado with Toasted Togarashi Seed and Nut Blend on a bed of PC® Organics Roasted Garlic Hummus
  • Vegan Tiramisu featuring PC® Dairy-Free Plain Cultured Coconut Milk Probiotic Yogurt Alternative and PC® Dairy-Free Kefir Probiotic Fermented Coconut Milk

“Plant-based cooking doesn’t need to be overwhelming, especially with all of the newest options available right at the grocery store that will help food lovers reinvent their holiday favourites,” says Chef Craig Harding, executive chef and owner at La Palma and Constantine in Toronto. “Taking some of my favourite recipes and putting a plant-based twist on them was incredibly easy, especially with the broad range of PC® Plant-Based products.”

As Canadians plan their menus for a busy season of holiday entertaining, the PC® brand is stocking shelves with new additions to the quickly growing PC® Plant-Based line-up of products. To make the PC® Plant-Based products easily identifiable, the line’s unique branding includes a clearly marked Plant-Based logo. Plant-based products will be dispersed throughout the store, alongside traditional products reinforcing the PC® brand’s commitment to offering Canadians variety when it comes to grocery shopping for items that suit their lifestyle and dietary preferences.

PC® Plant-Based products are now available at Loblaw stores across Canada, including Loblaws®, No Frills®, and Real Canadian Superstore®.

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Food & Drink

7-Eleven Canada Now Offering $1 Coffee Every Day

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$1 small, medium or large hot beverages now available to 7Rewards members

VANCOUVER, BC7-Eleven Canada’s 7Rewards loyalty members can now score delicious hot beverages for only $1 every day of the month. In addition to this new limited time offer, every 7th coffee (any size) is still free and members can earn points with everyday purchases. Points can be redeemed for perks and rewards including free food and beverages as well as access to exclusive deals, contests, and events.

7Rewards members can explore the store’s incredibly rich and flavorsome 7-Eleven Brewed Coffee and hot beverage menu. This autumn’s menu includes Hershey’s SKOR Hot Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice Latte, and the new Mexican Hacienda Miravalles Organic Coffee. 7-Eleven Brewed Coffee is ethically harvested, locally roasted and made of 100% Arabica beans. Customers are invited to stop by their neighborhood 7-Eleven every day to try these comforting fall beverages with endless combinations. Whether it’s a freshly brewed morning coffee, an afternoon pick-me-up or an evening treat, customers will find exactly what they’re looking for at the 7-Eleven coffee bar.

To learn more about 7-Eleven Canada’s hot beverages, click here.

Who: 7Rewards registered members

What: $1 Coffee Every Day – small, medium or large 7-Eleven Brewed Coffee or hot beverage

Where: Participating 7-Eleven stores across Canada

In addition to coffee being only $1, 7Rewards members who stop by on the 7th and 11th of every month will get their small hot beverage of choice for free. With every cup, 7Rewards members will also get one step closer to receiving their 7th scanned cup for free.  Customers who are not yet a 7Rewards member can download the 7-Eleven app, text APP to 711247 or sign up at 7-eleven.ca/7rewards/ to start claiming their $1 Coffee today.

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