#MadeInOntario yeasts have what it takes for craft brew excellence and performance
  • 29 May 2018

#MadeInOntario yeasts have what it takes for craft brew excellence and performance

Ontario yeast strains produced by Guelph-based Escarpment Laboratories brewed up a host of awards at the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference May 24-26 in Halifax.

05.29.2018_Escarpment Labs Brewers can now use these Ontario-grown yeast strains with the confidence they’ll perform consistently over 12 generations (reuses) of yeast - thanks to the results of a study conducted with funding from the Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre's (ATCC) Accelerating Innovative Research (AIR) Program, delivered by Bioenterprise Corporation.

Escarpment Labs received $50,000 in funding from the AIR program to hire a brewing scientist and put the following four strains of yeast – a quartet of their most popular products – to the test:

  • Cali Ale – a versatile ‘workhorse’ ale yeast that accentuates hop character and is suitable for a wide range of styles
  • Vermont Ale – the choice for fruity, IPA-style beers.
  • Foggy London Ale – a strain originally isolated from a London brewery that has balanced fruity flavor profile and accentuates malt and hop flavours
  • Old World Saison Blend – which delivers complex fruit and spicy black pepper notes.

The ability to provide hard data on the pitchability (reusability) of those yeasts has brought some of the biggest Ontario craft brewers onboard as customers, says co-founder Richard Preiss, who started the company with two partners in 2014.

Yeast selection determines the flavor profiles of craft beers – their fruitiness or spiciness, if they are sweet or dry, cloudy or clear.

“Each yeast has different properties and creates different flavors,” Preiss explained. “All behave differently, all have different genetics and different quirks.”

Demonstrating that Escarpment Labs’ yeast is of equivalent quality to U.S.-based products allows Canadian craft brewers to make a 100% locally sourced product and avoid the difficulties associated with importing live organisms from the U.S., said Preiss.

“We’re proud to be providing brewers with fresh, high quality Canadian yeasts for optimal fermentation and unique flavor profiles. The AIR program helped us to bridge the gap and build a dedicated research program to investigate brewing science questions relevant to us and our customers.”


Escarpment Labs was one of 13 recipients of innovation grants announced by Bioenterprise in December 2017 in to support emerging Ontario research-based technologies. The grants aim to advance commercialization of innovations, enhance competitiveness, and strengthen the leadership position of Ontario in the agriculture and agri-food sectors. The AIR Program was funded by Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

View article in the Exchange Magazine here.