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Sylvain Bouchard

Beer Sommelier

I had the pleasure of joining the Unibroue sales team in March 2001. Imagine my surprise when I sat down for my interview and found myself face to face with André Dion, the brewery’s founder, who was still doing his own hiring. The head honcho himself! That’s when I knew that I would have to work hard, hold nothing back, and prove my passion and dedication to measure up in the eyes of a man known for bringing those same qualities to his business endeavors. Fortunately, that’s exactly what I was planning to do.

I’ve always been interested in aromas and flavors. When I was 15, I wanted to be a chef. For the first time in my life, my parents weren’t behind me 100%, but instead gently tried to steer me towards another profession. In 1983, being a chef wasn’t the promising career it is today! But I had a eureka moment a few years later while studying social sciences at college when I discovered the first beers imported by Quebec’s liquor board (SAQ) and the first offerings from craft breweries in Montreal and Quebec City. This was the first inkling of what would become a lifelong passion for me—BEER! This soon led to numerous tastings, home brewing, reading, brewery tours, meetings, and most of all, lots of hands-on learning!

The work I do today is a culmination of all my passions. When I was at college, I thought I’d get a degree in education to teach history. I’m fascinated by human history, the history of civilizations, and religion, and especially the history, heritage, and culture of my people. I love everything related to mythology, fantasy, and legends. I worked in the Quebec school system for seven years, first as a substitute teacher, then as a sign language interpreter. I really enjoy teaching, so I’ve also been a minor league hockey coach since I was 16. I still play hockey every week. When I was younger, my love for adventure and group life led me to join Scouts, and later to work as a summer camp counsellor in Quebec and France, and at a youth home in the Laurentians. Being an easy-going people person, I also love to travel, and backpacked my way around numerous countries on three continents.

Every day, I feel fulfilled because the brewery gives me the chance to explore all my passions and travel across North America, meeting thousands of people and sharing my knowledge of beer. I get to talk about the history of Unibroue and Quebec, present our amazing beers and their labels, and guide people through the wide world of potential and delicious beer pairings that await them. Exciting, isn’t it?

My job isn’t the only thing in my life that gives me joy. Thirty years ago I met a wonderful, lively, passionate woman who soon became my girlfriend and then my wife. She’s still with me after all this time and encourages me to explore my passions. We have three children who are nearly all grown up. I’m so proud as I watch them grow up to become active citizens and head out on their own. Proud to see them dive into their studies or become highly appreciated contributors in their workplaces. And I’m happy and proud to see that their actions reflect the values their mother and I instilled in them, and that the efforts we made over the years to be good role models paid off. When I’m with my family at home in our little house in our “big” village in our adopted Mauricie region, I see how lucky I really am.

Career Highlights:

  • 2001: Sylvain joins the Unibroue team as a sales representative in Quebec’s Mauricie region
  • 2004: after Unibroue merges with Sleeman, Sylvain focuses solely on bars and restaurants in Mauricie, Lanaudière, Centre-du-Québec, and Beauce
  • 2006: as part of the sales team, he is put in charge of training Unibroue staff as well as clients throughout the province
  • 2009: becomes the first beer sommelier from Quebec; promotes the brewery’s beers, serving procedures, and beer pairings
  • 2013: earns Cicerone level one certification, Certified Beer Server
  • 2014: earns Cicerone level two certification, Certified Cicerone
  • Since 2010: alone and with others, designs, writes, and produces numerous informati Appears on TV shows Le Cuisinier rebelle, Le maître du grill, Les chefs!, Le combat des villes, and L’épicerie
  • Since 2011: is the beer reviewer for TV shows Salut Bonjour and Trucs & cie
  • Is a proud ambassador of the Unibroue brand across North America

" For me, drinking beer engages all five senses. When you pay attention to all the details, you can fully appreciate the know-how of the world’s best brew masters and realize how they’ve mastered the science passed down to them from the earliest civilization in Mesopotamia 8,000 years ago. You just need to pay attention to what the beer is telling you! "

-- Sylvain Bouchard, Cicerone beer sommelier

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Sommelier zone

Discover the art of tasting to fully appreciate our beers’ unique characteristics.

Sylvain Bouchard

Beer Sommelier

“Truly appreciating a beer not only requires all the senses but also a willingness to hear what the beer has to say.”

- Sylvain Bouchard, Cicerone beer sommelier

Biography

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