Hatch Beverage Co. - Brewing Success in Markham

Jun 05, 2024

Selecting a location to launch a new business is a challenging decision. But for Hatch Beverage Co. founder Alfonso Tupaz, Markham was the only choice. Tupaz’s life has seen him move from Canada to Nigeria, back to Canada, over to England, back to Nigeria again—and finally here in Markham.

Like all great stories, it helps to start at the beginning.

Tupaz’s family immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines before moving to Canada in the early 90s. Shortly after, the family moved again to Nigeria. Tupaz was barely ten at the time. “I thought, ‘Cool, we’re moving to another country.’ It could have gone completely differently than it did, but it ended up being a great experience. My father worked in a beverage company, so I kind of grew up in beverages,” Tupaz said.

After elementary school, Tupaz returned to Canada and attended Upper Canada College, and then the University of Toronto. His studies then took him to England for a Master's in Finance degree at the Cranfield School of Management.

“When I graduated, I returned to Nigeria for work,” he said. Here he developed a passion for specialty coffee. “We had a state-of-the-art machine shop, so we put together our own small batch hand-roasting machine. That first roast changed everything for me. It was sweet. It was flavorful—and I knew this is what I wanted to share with the world,” Tupaz said.

He returned to Canada in 2014, and within a month, he had incorporated Hatch Beverage Co. The company started with a single product—cold brew—a trending market segment. In its second year, Tupaz pivoted the company to focus on roasted coffees and building out the Hatch brand.

“It took a couple of years for people to discover the brand. Coffee, especially coffee aficionados and wholesale accounts, can be choosy. Then in 2018, we started our import business, where we bring in allied products like Minor Figures out of the U.K, which is now one of the top-selling dairy alternatives in Canada,” he said.

Today, Hatch has three independent business units: roasting, imports, and beverage co-packaging for private-label brands. Its location at 802 Cochrane Dr. also includes a café and workshop space. Tupaz said the diversification strategy has helped them continue to grow, especially during the pandemic.

“When our wholesale business suffered, our online and beverage businesses went up. Now, everything is steady growth and we have an outlet to experiment because we don't have to rely on just one business unit,” Tupaz added.

With work and educational experiences across the globe, Tupaz had numerous options on where to build Hatch. Thankfully, his time at UCC had cemented Markham as a place he thought of as home.

“I could have chosen any other country to start a business, but I chose Canada—and Markham—because I had built great friendships and relationships here,” he said.

Location was also a determining factor for Tupaz. While many premium brands select Toronto or other large cities, Tupaz wanted to be outside the bubble.

“A lot of other specialty coffee brands had asked why we weren't in the core. I have always had an outsider approach and point of view because I consider myself an outsider. I wanted to be outside the bubble where I could see things a little differently—and that’s Markham,” Tupaz said.