Niagara-on-theLake’r Pat Ozols has been taking pictures of dogs for years. It’s kind of his thing. Spend an afternoon with him and you’ll see him whip out his phone at every one you pass by. But as of recently, Ozols has blended his love for photography with his love for beer.
“Basically, I’m only into four things. Dogs, coffee, photography and craft beer,” he said. “I thought I’d combine my love of photography and beer because I’m really into branding, and beer is just a beautiful thing to look at.”
Ozols started out in the beer industry when he took a job at Niagara Oast House Brewers, taking pictures for them and occasionally helping out in the tasting room. “I was just having fun taking pics of their beer to promote new releases,” he explained. “I still take pictures for their social media here and there. I like to think of myself as an unofficial hype man for Oast.”
It was that position, and his first (of many) trip to Bellwoods Brewery in Toronto in 2014 that really changed his outlook: “that’s when I really started to care about beer.” Now, in 2018, he’s headed out to New York City multiple times to visit the beer scene there, he’s been interviewed on the podcast Hop Talk, has been featured in two Good Beer Hunting articles and has created a friendship of sorts with Hamilton based brewery Collective Arts (pictures on the right), “which has been one of [his] favourite things to happen this year.”
In addition to loving the photography side of the beer industry, Ozols also became familiar with a life as a beer trader. Living so close to the border, Ozols made friends with people from a group called the Buffalo Beer Geeks and through the Untappd app. He’s attended beer shares, crashed on strangers couches, and even spent five days with someone in New York City that he made friends with through a group chat: “Beer really brings people together, or I think they just trust me as I’m a kind Canadian.”
I hope my dumb photos get me a job at a brewery. I love doing their marketing and social media. At the very least, I hope I just get to keep meeting amazing people and making new friends. But truthfully, I hope I get enough followers to get to the point where I get paid to advertise something like Bud Light Lime on Instagram and coast off that money. Which is what everyone has Instagram for, to hopefully lead to a comfortable life of selling out.”
Pat shoots all his photos using bristol board, an Ikea work lamp, fruit/food or props related to the beer, and a Canon 7D. Then he ‘edits the hell out of them.’
You can follow Pat Ozols on Instagram at @ozols