Published on Jul 5, 2022

Sébastien Authier – Co-Owner of the Rural Brewery 11 comtés

Finding Inspiration in the Territory

Sébastien Authier has been involved with the microbrewing industry since 2008 and had the idea of starting a small industrial microbrewery, in a rural setting, that could distribute its products throughout Québec. That’s what the rural brewery 11 Comtés has become today, which he launched in 2018 with Émilie Fontaine, his partner, and Mathieu Garceau Tremblay, the head brewer.

A Local Approach, From Conception to End Product

The three business partners share a common mindset: the importance of using local products and putting down roots in the area. The choice of the brewery’s location was therefore central to the project, which is now an integral part of the Cookshire-Eaton landscape, in the Haut-Saint-François region. And the territory provides the inspiration, the narrative, the spark that guides the creation, the vision and the mission of 11 Comtés.

This inspiration is found as much in the beer recipes as in their names. “We determine the names of the beers based on the history of the region and the territory, but also by taking inspiration from our neighbours, the craftsmen and the producers around us,” explains Sébastien. Some examples? Le Soir et les choses, in honour of Éva Sénécal, a great poet and native of the region, Réserve des Étoiles, paying tribute to the Dark Sky Reserve of Mount-Mégantic, Pays de collines, for the hilly landscapes typical of the region...

The local inspiration doesn’t stop with the name of the products, but rather begins with the development of the recipes. “We’ve made it our mission to use only local ingredients,” says Sébastien. And we’ve succeeded, with the exception of one particular recipe, which requires some ingredients from elsewhere. “It’s kind of like a grandfather clause, and because we’ve been making this recipe since we started, we can afford it.” This makes 11 Comtés one of the few microbreweries to use Québec ingredients across the board, not just for one or two recipes.

Of course, it is a challenge that entails certain limits and constraints. “For me, it’s about having a vision,” he says. “Rather than feeling limited, we have turned this into a great asset.” And the motivation to pursue this approach even further is strong. Sébastien dreams of the day when he will be able to work in a local circuit, using local supplies, sourced directly from within the region.

Developing A Gastronomic Offer

The 11 Comtés microbrewery project did not initially include a culinary component. “I don’t know anything about the restaurant business,” says Sébastien, “and I wouldn’t have added this option unless I had a solid partner who shared our vision.” That’s exactly what happened when he met the wildly talented chef Yannick Côté when the project was launched. Yannick, an organic vegetable farmer based in the Haut-Saint-François region, proposed to develop the food offer using a totally local approach. Today, when you visit the 11 Comtés brewery, you can enjoy not only their delicious beers, but also a complete range of meals highlighting local products.

It’s a delightful way to taste, discover and enjoy the wealth and variety of Eastern Townships products. Sébastien and his team hope to further expand their gastronomic offer and contribute to the region’s increasing agrotourism appeal.

So, will we be seeing you soon, relaxing on the terrace of the rural brewery 11 Comtés, enjoying all our homegrown products, from your beer to your plate? Also, while you’ re here, go visit their boutique and stock up on your favourite brews.

©Daphné Caron

Sébastien’s Top Gourmet (cheese) Picks

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