G.L. Heritage Brewing Co.

“Row Madness” sees Garage Gym team with local charity



By Ron Giofu


The Garage Gym is hosting its “Row Madness” event again this year and a scholarship started by a local woman will be the beneficiary.

The Addolorata De Luca Leadership (ADL) Scholarship was recently selected by The Garage Gym as the charity of choice Nov. 25 “Row Madness” fundraising event. The fundraiser will be held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery from 12-6 p.m. this Sunday with the winery serving its product with G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. also scheduled to be on hand pouring their craft beer.

There will be music, drinks and The License to Sear food truck will be available to anyone who wants to come and support the competitors and the charity.

Cessidia DeBiasio, founder of the ADL Scholarship, said the ownership at the Garage Gym is very supportive of the community and believe in giving back. She said people can take part in groups or individually or they can just come out to support the cause and cheer the rowers on.

“All the money is directed to the scholarship,” she said. “It’s a great way to increase community awareness, comradery and teamwork.”

Individuals and teams will be completing 42,195m in a rowing marathon style. Participants are asked to each raise $100 in pledges. Top individual fundraisers and team fundraisers (teams consist of five individuals) will receive prizes. It will consist of members from The Garage Gym, located in Amherstburg and Kingsville, as well as community members.

DeBiasio stated the event is open to all skill levels, ages and strengths. She noted that 100 per cent of donations given to the ADL Scholarship are used to provide scholarships to deserving first or second generation Canadian student leaders at The University of Windsor.

“These students are giving back to our Windsor-Essex community and the University of Windsor,” she said.

DeBiasio is hopeful that this year’s “Row Madness” is as successful as last year’s event, as this is her first year as the charity of choice. Last year’s fundraising event, held by Garage Gym, hosted over 300 Garage Gym clients and community members and received “significant media attention,” she said. For more information on the

Event, please visit: www.facebook.com/theadlscholarship or www.facebook.com/thegaragegym.net.

Companies and individuals can also sponsor the event, with DeBiasio calling it “a great marketing tool” for them. She said when money is donated to a smaller charity like the ADL Scholarship, it has a great impact.

“The fact that (Garage Gym co-owner Tony Smith) is supporting a small, grassroots charity is amazing because it shows what type of leader he is,” said DeBiasio, who noted she was “over the moon” when she learned the ADL Scholarship was chosen. “It’s nice to see he really does help everyone.”

DeBiasio said she has been working on the ADL Scholarship for about three years and has raised $25,000, good for one scholarship thus far. She is hopeful of reaching at least $40,000 so that two scholarships can be awarded, but would be even happier to offer even more.

“The more money we raise, the more scholarships we can give out and the more students we can help,” she said.

To register a team, register as an individual, to get pledge sheets, or to get more information on joining another team, please e-mail nikki@thegaragegym.net. For more information or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, e-mail info@adlscholarship.com or nikki@thegaragegym.net.

For more information on the scholarship itself, visit www.adlscholarship.com. The public can keep up on the ADL Scholarship on Facebook @theadlscholarship and Instagram @theadlscholarship.



Amherstburg breweries take part in LaSalle Craft Beer Festival



By Christian Bouchard


Two Amherstburg brewing companies participated in the Lasalle Craft Beer Festival this past weekend.

The event, held at the Vollmer Recreation and Culture Complex played host to 12 breweries and distilleries from around Windsor-Essex County.

G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. and Lonsbery Farms Brewing Company of Amherstburg participated for the second straight year.

Andrea Dupuis of GL Heritage pours a glass of beer at the Lasalle Craft Beer Festival held at the Vollmer Recreation and Culture Complex. (Photo by Christian Bouchard)

Greg Grondin, co-owner of G.L. Heritage Brewing Co., said he loves the festival as it’s all local companies. He is grateful to the familiar faces who are loyal to their company and for all the support they’ve received in the year in a half since opening in Amherstburg.

“These festivals help promote the local businesses, it’s wonderful,” said Grondin.

Lonsbery Farms Brewing Company was the other Amherstburg business that participated in the festival. Like Grondin, Lonsbery also loves the local aspect the festival delivers.

“It’s a great spot for customers to come and check out all 12 breweries rather than going to every single location” said Karl Lonsbery, owner of Lonsbery Farms.

While the event celebrated five years of local craft beer, it also had live music and food trucks. Sam Woolf, American Idol’s Season 13 runner-up was the headline act Saturday night.

Lonsbery said this time of year festivals are popular. He added it’s important to give people something new as they’re constantly chasing after something new.

“Get out there and try different things,” said Lonsbery. “We’re changing things up all the time. Come out and hopefully you’ll get something new every time.

G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. wins bronze at Ontario Brewing Awards



By Ron Giofu


For its initial foray into the Ontario Brewing Awards, a local brewery didn’t come away empty-handed.

G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. won a bronze medal for its blond ale – a.k.a. the “Back Shop Brew” – at the recent awards ceremony in Toronto. The brewery is co-owned by Dwayne and Jen Grondin and Greg and Cathy Grondin with Dwayne stating all area breweries did well at the award ceremony.

The blonde ale was the hardest to make, Dwayne stated, because “it’s so clean and light” and was the first one they produced.

“It’s the recipe I worked on the longest, that’s for sure,” he said. “When I started brewing this recipe, it was 20 or so batches. We tinkered with it until we got what we wanted.”

Each batch takes about three weeks or so to make, Dwayne stated.

“We needed a craft beer everyone would enjoy,” he said. “We needed one staple beer. My dad was a Blue Light guy. When he finally gave us the thumbs up on this recipe, we knew it was good to go. We converted him from Blue Light to this.”

The “Back Shop Brew” blond ale is described as “smooth, clean and refreshing” by Dwayne and “Malty, Crisp and Refreshing” on the can. He said they worked hard on getting it to where they wanted it and to have their first recipe capture an award was “pretty cool.”

“The beer we worked hard on is third in Ontario,” he noted.

G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. co-owner Dwayne Grondin stands with the beer and the award that beer captured at the recent Ontario Brewing Awards in Toronto. Their blond ale won a bronze medal.

Dwayne said they had a feeling that something was up when organizers at the Ontario Brewing Awards asked them to bring some of the blond ale to the ceremony.

“We went there with some wishful expectations,” said Dwayne.

Jen added that non-craft beer drinkers are won over when they try their blond ale. It is a big seller as it outsells other varieties two-to-one.

“It’s the top-selling craft beer style among our lineup of California Common Lager, Rye Beer, Sweet Stout, and American IPA,” said Jen. “It’s pretty humbling and we are truly honoured (to win the award).”

It was their first competition since they opened last year, she stated.

The blonde ale is one of five varieties regularly offered at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. as well as a seasonal brand. They re-launched their fall “Apple Ale” last weekend and were busy with the McGregor Mug Run and International Beer Festival the previous weekend with craft beer festivals in LaSalle and Windsor in the coming weekends. Their “Apple Ale” is made with the help of another local distiller, Wolfhead Distillery, as some of their whisky is put into the beer.

Dwayne noted they try to get their products locally when possible.

“Business is going well. We’re well received here,” he said.

G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. is located at 8728 Howard Ave. (County Road 9) and can be reached at 519-736-7361 or online at www.glheritagebrewing.ca. Their hours are Fridays from 3 p.m.– 9 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sundays from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

“Lift for Lawson” raises over $40,000


By Jonathan Martin


It looks like Lawson White will get his lift.

An estimated 750 people packed shoulder-to-shoulder in G. L. Heritage Brewing Co. throughout Friday night to raise money for the three-year-old.  His parents, Ryan and Cadi White, walked away with more than $40,000 in their pockets.

Lawson was born with neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, which prevented his blood from clotting and resulted in a brain hemorrhage. He has since developed cerebral palsy and is completely blind.

As Lawson got older, he got heavier and being carried up and down the stairs by hand got harder.  His parents decided it was time to install a lift in their home.  The Garage Gym, Amherstburg Chevrolet, Integrity Tool and Mold, Team D’Alimonte Royal LePage and G. L. Heritage Brewing Company joined forces to raise funds for the equipment’s construction.

Marisa Willms tries to beat the SkiErg world record of 2,000m in seven minutes and 11 seconds at G. L. Heritage Brewing Co. last Friday. Willms, who held the previous record, ended up four seconds short.

A wrench was thrown into the plan, though, when the contractor found black mould in the walls of the Whites’ house.

“When I bought the house, I looked in the attic, I looked in the basement and everything was fine,” Ryan said.  “We never would have noticed this if we hadn’t (started building) this elevator.”

Ryan said the house’s previous owners put vinyl siding over aluminum siding.  Water sneaks in behind the soffit, runs between the two sidings and leaks into the house through the sidings’ anchor holes.

The Whites said they’ve cordoned off the 30-foot construction area with plastic sheets and have had air samples taken of the site.   They said they have a specialist coming in later this week to look at thermal images of the rest of the house, in case the mould isn’t isolated to that area.

Nonetheless, they said Lawson’s lift should be installed this week.  The Whites said they had been placed on a six-month waiting list when they first scheduled the installation and would likely have to wait another six months if they were to postpone.

The mould has been cleaned up in the lift’s construction area, so they plan to move forward with the project.

They said they are “extremely grateful” to have been given the funds needed to make it happen.

Jennifer Grondin is one of the co-owners of G. L. Heritage Brewing Co., where Friday’s fundraiser was held.

“It is outstanding and amazing, the way this community has come together,” she said tearfully.

Ryan White speaks beside his wife, Cadi, at the Lift for Lawson fund raiser, held at G. L. Heritage Brewing Co. in Amherstburg on Friday, April 6, 2018. The event raised more than $40,000 for the Whites to build an elevator for their son, Lawson.

“The support and the turnout had been incredible.”

Tony Smith is one of the owners of Garage Gym.  He said Ryan and Cadi were two of his first customers and have become his personal friends.

“When you call your community to action and you get hundreds of people showing up to let (Cadi and Ryan) know how much we care about them, that’s something entirely outside of fund-raising,” he said.

Cadi burst into tears when the fund raiser’s numbers were announced.  Ryan stood, motionless, looking dazed, until his wife grabbed his shirt.

“The number of people who have offered to help us is stunning,” he said.  “Somebody hooked up air filters in our house for free to be sure we’re breathing clean air, we had somebody contact us with an offer to do our air sampling for free, we’ve been contacted by construction companies and we’ve had friends reach out to us with offers to help. It’s all so overwhelming.”

“Even just the people who sent us a ‘thinking of you’ note,” Cadi said, her voice still shaky.  “Even that level of generosity is so strength-giving.”

Despite everything, the couple said Lawson, the “light of (their) lives,” is a lucky boy, and they feel lucky too.


Local athletes push themselves to new limits as part of “Lift for Lawson”

By Jonathan Martin


As three-year-old Lawson White struggles with his physicality, local athletes have come together to push their own bodies to their limits.

Friday’s Lift for Lawson fund raiser saw members of the local Garage Gym participate in tests of strength and endurance.  For every pound raised and meter rowed, local businesses donated a dollar toward the installation of a lift in the Whites’ home.  The lift will allow Lawson, who is paralyzed, to travel up and down the stairs without the need to be carried.

Among Friday’s attendants was Windsor’s Kelly Branton, an internationally-renowned power lifter, the first Canadian to squat 900 pounds and the first Canadian to bench 600 pounds.  Branton spotted competitors during their workouts and “helped get the most out of them,” according to Garage Gym co-owner Tony Smith.

Tony Smith performs a deadlift at G. L. Heritage Brewing Company in Amherstburg on Friday, April 6, 2018. For every pound lifted, local businesses donated a dollar to the White family in support of their son, Lawson.

Another attendant of note was Marisa Willms, who currently holds seven world records on the SkiErg, an indoor machine which simulates Nordic skiing.  Friday, she tried to reclaim her world record for the 2,000m, which was snatched away by Australian skier Kate Hilliard.  Willm’s target was seven minutes and 11 seconds.  She came in four seconds short, but did reach a new personal record.

In fact, all the competitors reached personal records, according the Garage Gym.  They include Corey Vultaggio and Tony Smith, who competed in a deadlift competition, and Jeremy D’Alimonte and Winston Woolcock, who competed in a three-minute rowing competition.

Tony Smith said he is proud his gym was able to help out its members and that, really, it feels like more of a family.