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Seneca Alumni Giving It “All or Nothing” in the Competitive Craft Beer Market

Since 2014, Eric Dornan, a 2010 graduate of Seneca’s Business Administration – Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management program, and his brother Jeff Dornan have worked tirelessly to establish All or Nothing Brewhouse as the source for premium craft wheat beer in Ontario. He and his brother, both under 30, are now competing in a multi-billion dollar Ontario beer industry, and in less than a year, they have seen steady growth for their brand.

As a young entrepreneur Eric is constantly faced with the challenge of proving himself and his company’s worth against more seasoned and well-financed competitors.

“It was engrained in me at Seneca, the importance of having a solid plan in place to make the execution seamless,” says Eric. “There is no formula for overnight success, especially in this industry.”

Eric is used to earning his own way. Through most of his employment history the money he earned was a direct reflection of what he accomplished. After college, he started a venture with his father and brother taking a commissioned approach to product sales, packaging and placement in popular hardware stores.

Over a five-year run they had good success; highlights include taking one company from zero to $10 million in national sales in just one year. However, a lack of control in other areas such as product development and shipping affected their company’s bottom line.

Eric’s father was a great inspiration and taught him the importance of applying yourself to alter your circumstances and find success. With that in mind, All or Nothing Brewhouse became the new focus.

“I have been exposed to some of the harsh realities of an entrepreneur’s life but continued to persevere,” says Eric. “I knew it would take a while for our brewery to become profitable and we’ve sacrificed but remained passionate and committed to our vision. To this day, it doesn’t feel like work because we enjoy what we’re doing. I think that’s so important for any entrepreneur.”

All or Nothing is now distributed all across Ontario from Windsor to Ottawa to North Bay and is available in over 400 different locations including LCBO's, Beer stores, grocery stores and licensee's.

Eric has spoken to several Seneca classes about his experiences since leaving the College and his message remains the same: “Seneca will give you the information and practical knowledge to succeed, and is a great place to build your network. After that, it’s up to you to find your path.”

“Most importantly,” Eric adds, “live up to your word and always remain professional. Your credibility is the greatest thing you have.”