Where one beer story ends, another begins. Such is the case with King’s Town Beer Company, which was the west end’s first craft brewery when it opened in late 2016. Earlier this month, King’s Town announced that it was no longer brewing beer and that they’d be handing the keys to their Arlington Park Place storefront over to Skeleton Park Brewery. Skeleton Park had been a contract brewer, having their beer produced at existing breweries, for the past three years. Trevor Lehoux and his wife Becky Lu were finally ready to open a physical location. The owners of King’s Town, who never left their original business installing security systems, came calling, Lehoux and Lu were ready.
“King’s Town put in a good couple of years,” said Lehoux. “They focus on their security systems business, but they didn’t want to just close up shop and have everything go away, so they approached us to kinda take over for them. We’re selling our own beers right now, but we’ll be introducing one or two of their more popular beers at some point to kind of pay tribute to them.”
On tap now at Skeleton Park is their two core beers, Amber 6.6 and Best Bitter, plus Hazy IPA, and West Coast Pale Ale, which is the winning beer from King’s Town homebrew contest. Brewing at home is how Lehoux got his start.
“I was living in Taiwan, which is where I met Becky, and some friends of mine and I started brewing beer,” said Lehoux, who has two brothers who are also brewmasters. “But then the city we were living in went dry. So my friends and I took things into own hands created a little hang out spot, where we’d make our own beers and invite a bunch over to hang out. One of the guys moved to Taipei and opened a brewery there.”
Lehoux grew up in Brampton, but chose Kingston to return to, partly due to having a lot of family in the area. His plan upon returning was to start the brewery.
“Trevor came back five years ago,” said Lu. “And I came back three years ago, just as Skeleton Park was getting started. I love the city and I love the community. I started learning and brewing and doing sales to support Trevor. And now we have this brewery. This is our kid!”
Lehoux decided to begin the company as a contract brewery, instead of opening a storefront right away.
“We really wanted to focus on branding ourselves properly, creating Skeleton Park as a brand,” said Lehoux. “One of the advantages of contract brewing is that we weren’t busy running a storefront, we could focus on sales and branding. We focused on making and selling beer. We wanted to get to a point with sales where it made sense to open a physical location. And after three years, we didn’t need any partners. We don’t have any other investors.”
For now, the Arlington Park location will serve as the tasting room and bottle shop, and the production facility for Skeleton Park’s licensees. Brewing for their canned product will continue to be contracted out to support the product that is sold in the LCBO.
“In the next couple of years we plan to expand and have a full production facility in-house,” said Lehoux. “We’re going to take it cautiously. We’ll focus on our core product, introduce a couple of new beers and maybe one or two seasonal beers here and there.”
Skeleton Park Brewery is open now at 675 Arlington Park Place. Their soft opening is on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and grand opening details will be announced soon.