By Marisa Sandlin
In a city already spoiled for choice when it comes to craft beer, Kingstonians can add another brewery to the growing list: SanTur Brewing.
Owners Rolf Turunen and Judah Santos are taking a long-empty storefront downtown (177 Princess Street, which was formerly XO Lounge) and transforming it into not only a brewery, but a gastropub. Both Turunen and Santos hail from Newmarket and had been visiting the Kingston frequently as their family cottages are located in the Bay of Quinte area. When asked what made the idea of moving to Kingston and opening a brewery so appealing, Santos smiles.
“Food and beverage is my passion, it’s been in my blood since I was born. I decided to put a lot of what I learned over the years and what I like to do into a brewpub,” he says.
“It’s called the FAB (Food and Beverage) region for a reason, so going into town and seeing all the restaurants and the dining scene, plus all the wineries in Prince Edward County and the breweries. Not to mention the tourism, the steady post-secondary education from Queen’s, this would be an ideal place to grow a brewery,” adds Turunen with a shrug and a grin.
“This location seemed to call to us.”
Santos and Turunen are dreaming big for SanTur Brewing; they excitedly discuss about the cavernous space not only being a brewery, but a gastropub “with a slightly Old World influence. The majority of it will be Iberian, with Spanish/Portuguese.” Both men ate their way through Kingston’s prodigious food scene, taking note of what was missing and where they could possibly fill the gap. While they remain mum about a sneak peek of what beers will be on tap, Santos assures us of some equally big plans for beer as well as the food.
“We will be making some special beers, some of which are styles no one else in Kingston is doing,” he says.
There are plans for hosting their own beer events as well as being familiar faces at ones that Kingstonians already attend; Turunen and Santos are also keen to connect with the local arts community to showcase both music and the visual arts. When asked about what makes our city so special, Santos replies, “That’s the really interesting thing about Kingston. It’s what caught our eye. You have this big town, not a big city, but it’s a bit of both. You have this geographical location with a bit of French influence – whether it be Ottawa or Montreal – but you also have this influence from Toronto with all its cultures and diversity. To us, it was a very solid decision without any reservations.”
While the thirsty masses will have to wait until autumn for SanTur to open its doors, the dedication of these two owners to creating a memorable spot for Kingston is not in doubt. We here at Kingstonist look forward to sampling and marveling at another hotspot downtown.
Check out SanTur’s Facebook page for more information.
Marisa Sandlin is the host/creator of Harpy Hour, a podcast that focuses on women in craft beer. A future Certified Cicerone and current Certified Beer Server, Marisa travels and visits as many as breweries as she can. She is very proud of the Kingston beer scene. You can say hello and talk about beer with her at @HarpyHour on Twitter.