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Celebrating an artist and an entrepreneur

Microbrewery founder Peter McAuslan honoured by artist and fellow alumnus G. Scott MacLeod
September 1, 2016
By Louise Morgan

Quebec beer entrepreneur Peter McAuslan, BA 72, has been a long-time patron of the local arts community. To mark that commitment, artist G. Scott MacLeod, BFA 03, MA 13, honoured McAuslan at his catalog launch on August 23, 2016, held at Montreal’s Annexe St-Ambroise pub, located next to McAuslan Brewing on the Lachine Canal.

The Lachine Canal: Past and Present The Lachine Canal: Past and Present, A Tribute to Peter McAuslan, catalog of paintings and drawings by G. Scott MacLeod, BFA 03, MA 13 | Photo courtesy: G. Scott MacLeod

MacLeod dedicated his catalog — The Lachine Canal: Past and Present, A Tribute to Peter McAuslan — to the brewery’s founder, who supported him throughout his career, purchasing his works and providing studio space. MacLeod developed his Lachine Canal series of paintings while an artist in residence at McAuslan Brewing, working in its visitors’ centre, now the Annexe St-Ambroise, from 2004 to 2008.

“Peter was an independent entrepreneur and I admired that. He was a model to all of us trying to make a living at what we love,” he says.

McAuslan had been brewing his own beer for decades when he and his wife, Ellen Bounsall, founded McAuslan Brewing in 1988.

The microbrewery came to be known for its award-winning St-Ambroise and Griffon brands. In 2013, McAuslan and Bounsall sold the brewery to Les Brasseurs RJ.

“Peter has been a bit of a father figure to me,” says MacLeod, who lost both his parents when he was still a child. “He is a very frank and agreeable man, who’ll always give honest advice.”

MacLeod has made his way as a painter and photographer, musician and film director. His work is featured in many permanent collections, including that of the National Gallery of Canada.

“I was always impressed with Scott,” says McAuslan. “Artists have to be entrepreneurs, too. It’s a hard way to make a living, and Scott was taking risks and getting out there.”

The arts and community have always been a part of McAuslan Brewing. As president and CEO of the company, McAuslan supported many non-profit organizations, such as St. Andrew’s Society of Montreal, the Empress cultural centre and the Montreal Fringe Theatre Festival.

G. Scott MacLeod (left) and McAuslan Brewing founder Peter McAuslan G. Scott MacLeod (left) and McAuslan Brewing founder Peter McAuslan | Photo by: Louise Morgan

He made a point of contributing complimentary kegs of beer to local groups for musical events and vernissages, including student initiatives at Concordia.

“I think the relationships we build with artists are always repaid. What I did was fun and generous, but there was also an objective,” says McAuslan. “It’s synergistic relationship, where each helps to build awareness of the other’s brand.”

McAuslan’s face lights up as he talks about the rich industrial heritage and the earlier occupants of the neighbourhoods that border the Lachine Canal. Condo buildings and recreational facilities now modify the landscape, as young professionals inhabit the surrounding area.

“There were 30,000 workers making a living locally around this area. Scott’s work really brings that history to the fore and also brings out what we have today,” says McAuslan.

A graduate of Sir George Williams University, one of Concordia’s founding institutions, McAuslan served as president of the Concordia University Alumni Association (CUAA) from 2000 to 2002.

In 2004, he received an Award of Distinction from Concordia’s John Molson School of Business, and in 2009, was named Alumnus of the Year by the CUAA. In 2014, he was named one of the university’s Great Concordians in recognition for his lasting contributions to Concordia and society.

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