Brewing up innovation
West Vancouver’s Village Taphouse is well-known locally for its expansive list of brews. More than 20 beers on tap and another 20 different ones in bottles — with special attention paid to supporting local craft breweries. But the brick-walled brewhouse has become equally famous for another thing: hosting special events to raise money for local charities.
And that’s one of the reasons why Taphouse general manager Colin Denton was recently named young entrepreneur of the year at the West Vancouver Chamber Awards.
Along with helping boost sales and profits at the popular West Van haunt this year — and that despite a first-round ousting of the Vancouver Canucks — Denton and his crew have also helped raise more than $20,000 for local charities.
“It’s very important for us to be part of the community,” says Denton, 26.
A native of Lynn Valley, Denton studied business marketing at Cap U, before packing his backpack for some globetrotting. When he returned home, he got a job serving and developed a serious appetite for the restaurant industry. Later, he got a job at Cactus Club, starting at the company’s original location on Pemberton and then moving to its Park Royal location, a throwing distance from the Taphouse.
“Cactus Club is one of the best companies to work for in B.C. and a top employer in B.C.,” says Denton.
While Taphouse is part of the Cactus Club chain, it boasts a unique identity.
That gives Denton, who became GM there about a year and half ago, leeway with concepts and special events — something he relishes.
That’s allowed them to host well-attended fundraisers for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and a non-profit that builds schools and clean drinking water systems in Africa. All the fundraisers benefit charities that the staff are involved with.
The latest? In July, the Taphouse is hosting Texas Tea Thursday, with country band Steel Toe Boots (from North Van), a barnyard-style benefit that will raise money for Dixon Transition Society, which provides shelter and guidance for woman and children fleeing domestic violence.
As well as running the Village Taphouse, Denton is also a co-founder of the a young entrepreneur group called People Helping People that meets on the North Shore. Entrepreneurship seems to run in his family. Last year his uncle, Robert Little, the CEO of FPI Fireplace Products, was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 for the Pacific region.
“Business-wise he’s always been my mentor and role model growing up,” says Denton.