Wild Brewing

Toronto brewers make beer in the back-breaking style of old-world Belgian breweries

ON A GREY OCTOBER AFTERNOON at the Good Earth vineyard in Beamsville, Ontario, a crowd gathers around a cluster of steaming stainless-steel vats set up mere feet from the rows of swollen grapes. Iain McOustra, a brewer with Toronto’s Amsterdam Brewing Co. and one of the architects of this madcap plan, periodically stirs the boiled concoction of grains, hops, and water that has the hue of milky coffee and smells faintly like shredded wheat. If McOustra is giddy, it’s because he’s exhausted and exhilarated by this, the culmination of three years of research and planning to make a sour beer in the back-breaking style of old-world Belgian breweries. Continue reading

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Oil’s Inevitable Climb

Looking beyond recent unrest in the Arab world, a veteran energy analyst predicts $300/barrel within a decade.

A REVIVING GLOBAL ECONOMY AND MOUNTING UNREST in the Arab world are stirring renewed fears about a long-term spike in oil prices. Earlier this month, as protests in Egypt peaked, oil hit a two-year high, prompting anxiety about a return to the $100-a-barrel days of 2008. And with Egypt not quite out of the woods, and uglier protests igniting in Bahrain, Libya and Iran, the oil market remains understandably jittery. (Last week, oil prices hit $90 a barrel.) Continue reading

Saving American Apparel

Can American Apparel’s newest executive rescue the company?

LAST WEEK AMERICAN APPAREL NAMED A NEW chief financial officer, the latest in a string of short-lived executives tasked with saving the sinking clothing chain once heralded for its ethical manufacturing and trendy cotton basics. John Luttrell is a seasoned retail CFO who previously held posts at retailers Old Navy and Wet Seal Inc. But the veteran faces some extraordinary challenges at American Apparel. The shakeup comes one week after the company negotiated a break on loans with some of its lenders, narrowly fending off bankruptcy. Continue reading

Gold Mining Roars Back to Life

The sky-high price of gold has sparked a modern-day rush to Ontario’s mining towns.

WITH THE PRICE OF GOLD CURRENTLY HOVERING around US$1,300 an ounce—up 45 per cent since early 2009—Ontario’s mining towns are exhibiting the classic symptoms of a boom: inflated house prices, overbooked hotels, frantic construction, labour shortages and a collective sense of optimism after decades in a slump. Across the province’s northern gold belt, defunct mines are being revived and exploration activity has taken an almost frenzied pace, as gold has become an investment safe-haven amid global economic uncertainty and a weak U.S. dollar. “I’ve been here a long time,” says Brock Greenwell, statistical analyst for Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. “And 2010 is looking like a record year for gold exploration. It’s unprecedented.” Continue reading