NICKEL BROOK BREWERY
John and Peter Romano, owners of Better Bitters Brewing Company (since 1992), built the Nickel Brook micro brewery from the ground up, and since 2005, Nickel Brook has quickly developed a reputation for having a lively and enticing line up of beers. It is in our business to offer our customers an unrivaled experience designed to surpass their expectations. Our accumulation of a diversified product line partnered with superior service, has established a loyal following in the surrounding area. We proudly use only the finest, natural ingredients from all over the world and brew them in small batches for the highest standard of quality. Our purpose and objective here at Nickel Brook is to be an acknowledged market leader in the quality and service we offer our customers in whatever community we participate. We firmly believe that our practice of craft brewing, and dedication to outstanding quality and thorough customer service, is what has separated us from our competitors. We hope you enjoy. Cheers!
In 1990, John Romano decided he wanted to become an entrepreneur and started building Better Bitters Brew-On-Premise as it was a family hobby. In May 1991, the doors to Better Bitters were open! Approximately 10 years ago he decided he wanted to make better beer for the Brew-On-Premise and in order to do that, without knowing all the challenges it would bring, he started building Nickel Brook Micro Brewery. Nickel Brook of course named after his children Nicholas and Brooke. In the six years the Brewery has been open the beers have taken several awards not only in Ontario but also the US. In 2005 John was presented with the Outstanding Community Service award from the Burlington Rotary clubs. In 2007 Better Bitters was given The Mayor’s Community Service Award. In 2013 Nickel Brook Beers won Burlington Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence award for Business Retail/Wholesale. John has helped out so much throughout community service groups that he was made an honorary member of the Kinette club of Stoney Creek. John lives for his family and his community!
One of our co-founders Peter Romano found his love of beer while attending University of McMaster in Hamilton. Now we don’t expect you to believe that one of the men responsible for creating the great Nickel Brook brewing co. drank products of big beer, no even in university he was true to craft beer; his beer of choice was Creemore. After graduation peter opened his own business in Orangevile. One day at the end of a shift one of his delivery drivers brought In bottle of their own personal home brewed beer. Peter was very impressed and came up with the idea of entering the home-brew industry himself. His brother John Romano had recently left his sales job, and joined peter in starting Better Bitters, which eventually evolved into Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
Our beloved Brewmaster is very busy and this is the only comment we could get regarding his life story “I was Born. I make beer. I’m not dead yet”… we do love Ryan.
We met our Lead Brewer, Mark Horsley, in the sketchy part of town. Standing in an alleyway filled with Pinot Noir and Bourbon barrels, he looked around to make sure we were alone and whispered “Pssst, you guys looking for some Brett?”. Opening up a briefcase filled with Lactobacillus, Pedioccocus and an array of strains of Brettanomyces, we knew this was the man to start Nickel Brook’s barrel-aged program. You may find him in the wee hours of the morning cloistered amongst our 155 various barrels (which seems to get bigger every month). If you hear an Australian accent asking if you “Wanna get funked up?”, you may have just met our Antipodean barrel master.
The smartest, hardest working and of course most attractive person at Nickel Brook has to be its Production and Quality Manager, Matt Howell. Not only is he a master at forgery and calligraphy, but he also (apparently) has a Masters Degree in Brewing and Distilling. We can only assume that he obtained this after winning a lengthy game of canasta with an old elderly brewer, who also happens to be blind, deaf and on a ventilator. Before joining the team at Nickel Brook, Matt spent 6 years making beer at Brick Brewing and Sleemans Brewing, where he became an expert at the handling and uses of corn syrup and caramel colouring. He also accepts bribes and lectures the future generation of brewers at Niagara College. In his spare time, Matt runs a Scotch whisky tasting business called Saint Howell Tastings which allows him to indulge in his secret love of skirts and kilts
Sales and Marketing
The legendary yet modest Shaggee; with his long flowing salt ‘n’ pepper locks that accompany his “Jesus-with-a-craft-beer” kind of look came to Nickel Brook via free agency. His past includes many tours of duty through kitchens, bars, management and some shady backdoor dealings that if spoke of could incriminate the holiest of people. After a stint with an automotive manufacturing company, this superman-like Shaggee met his kryptonite and was placed on the injured reserve for a spell. After rehabbing his ailment with many potions, incantations and exercises, he realized the only thing that helped his injury was Nickel Brook beer. After many consumption sessions with this healing-like potion, Shaggee felt good enough to be activated from the injured reserve of life and ventured off to Niagara College for a Hotel and Restaurant Management Co-op program. His co-op was spent with Nickel Brook that summer and after graduating with honours his future was narrowed down to a career in sales and marketing. It is rumoured Shaggee can sell sand to the Pharaohs of Egypt or water bottles to the residents of Atlantis. While only his parents call him Trevor, he can be seen answering to Shag, Shagmyster or even Shagadelic while out and about enjoying the beautiful world that is craft beer.
One cold winter day at Carleton university in Ottawa while pondering if he’d ever escape Plato’s cave and see the sun, both literally and figuratively, a wise professor told a tale of study opportunities in “the Land of Beer” known as Belgium. After exploring the many wonders of Trappist and fine Belgian breweries Doug found himself on the Island of Newfoundland longing for great beer once again. So with the help of friends and fellow home brewers he dove into the art and science of trying to recreate those great beers he longed for. With the wind and the rain howling around him and his partner worked tireless on beer slowly learning more and more about beer as they went. However, starved for the passion and community of craft beer they saw down south and in Ontario they set out for the big city of Toronto. There Doug stumbled into the humble and jolly environment of F&M Brewery where he learned of the wonders of being part of a craft brewery. This is where our hero developed his early skills before being charmed by the delicious barrel aged, brett, hoppy, and sour beers being made by Nickel Brook brewing company. Charmed by great beer and tireless passion Doug now works for Nickel Brook, fighting the good fight to ensure Ontarians everywhere can enjoy and discover fantastic beers.
Sales and Marketing
Phil Craig was born in 1989 with blonde hair and blue eyes.Next thing you know its 2013, he has brown hair, brown eyes, a business degree from the University of Guelph, and is working for Nickel Brook Brewing Co. He pulled a short stint in the restaurant industry, and quickly realized that the best part of his day was the beer. Now his whole day is beer, and his happier than a pig in you know what.His favourite beer is whatever he can find in his fridge, and his favourite place to go drinking is wherever they serve cold pints of Nickel Brook. Phil can be found at most of the Nickel Brook events across Ontario or down at the brewery, just look for the red sunglasses!
Junior Marketing Strategist
Our resident marketing expert Matthew Whitney came to us from Sheridan College on required Co-op. Previously the Vice President of Marketing for a window and door manufacturer and a web designer for a medical association. He then dabbled as a bartender for Canada’s largest Pourhouse: West 50. This bar had 112 different beers on tap most of which were local craft beers, resulting in Matthew catching the craft bug. After success in the mixology world, he came to the Nickel Brook Brewing Company, and has been with us ever since. Matthew is involved within all facets of our marketing efforts including; but not limited to our events and promotions. A rather eccentric fellow Matthew always dresses like he’s in some fancy New York fashion show in something flashy and new and definitely never task appropriate. Such items as cowboy boots, dress pants, dress shirt with a vest and at most times a fedora. If you are looking for him at the brewery, he will be the guy who looks completely out of place but always fitting right in grinning ear to ear within the Nickel Brook family.