When interviewed about his rapidly expanding Canadian brewery, business mastermind and professional brewer Eli Gershkovitch stated, “…you either stay very small or you grow big. The middle ground is very treacherous.” It seems that breweries throughout Canada share Gershkovitch’s opinion because they are successfully transforming from small brew pubs and local breweries to respected brands known around the world. While Gershkovitch is definitely leading the charge, there are many other brewers making their presence known on today’s dynamic beer scene.
Beer Innovation in Canada
It’s no secret that Canadian brewers are thinking about fresh flavors and unusual ingredients. Spend an evening venturing into four or five local pubs, and you will likely get to sip an array of beers that each display a unique personality. You could say that Brewers are now putting their personal views of the world into their recipes, and the results have been spectacular. Even when the ingredients are kept simple, new varieties of hops and malts are giving Canadian beer an edge on competitors around the world.
Innovation on the beer scene is even impacting the government. In 2014, the nation’s Food and Drug Regulations needed a serious update due to rapid change in the beer industry. Brewers were including more fruits and spices in their beer recipes, and those ingredients challenged the official definition of a beer in Canada. Brewers experienced expensive delays when they wanted to get their new beers onto the market, sparking the demand for serious regulation updates.
As Eli Gershkovitch and other passionate brewers continue to infuse their creations with personality and Canadian charm, it’s likely that even more adjustments will become necessary. In the meantime, beer enthusiasts are flocking to Steamworks Uber Lounge in Gastown and other favored pubs in search of the newest flavor combinations, the sweetest malts and the most intense hop bites. While waiting for the Canadian rules and regulations to catch up with the times, brewers are moving forward to put their stamp on the larger world of beer.
Canadian Brewers Stealing the Gold
Every summer, homebrewers and professional brewers like Eli Gershkovitch flock to the United States to compete in the U.S. Open Beer Championship (http://www.steamworks.com/brewery). More than 6,000 beers representing well over 100 brewing styles were entered in 2017, creating an intense playing field with entries from around the world. We’re talking about entries from Venezuela, Belgium, Vietnam and New York City. Some of the best breweries from around the world were hoping to steal at least one gold medal.
While it might have seemed that the odds were stacked against small breweries from Canada, these innovative superstars weren’t shaking in their boots. By the end of one tough competition, the judging panel represented by the U.S., Canada and England had shown the Canadian brewers a significant amount of love.
Canadian brewers took home an incredible 24 awards, proving that Canadian innovation is difficult to beat. If you have been to Eli Gershkovitch’s thriving Steamworks Brew Pub and many other growing breweries throughout Canada today, this probably isn’t a surprise to you. These breweries are impressing the world with their innovative spirits. Of course, it may also have something to do with the impeccably fresh natural ingredients that brewers can access from the fruitful lands of Canada.
Take a look at a short list of some incredible wins from the 2017 competition. Feel free to allow your Canadian pride to shine as you read:
- Cameron’s Brewing, Ontario – 10th Best Brewery
- Cameron’s Brewing, Ontario – Gold medal for One-Eyed Grouse
- Lighthouse Brewing, British Columbia – Gold medal for Race Rocks Ale
- The Exchange Brewery, Ontario – Gold medal for Foreign Exchange Stout
- Sawdust City Brewing Company, Ontario – Gold medal for Coriolis Effect
The Future of Canadian Craft Beer
It’s exciting to see some of Canada’s best craft breweries getting the recognition that they deserve from international beer competitions. It’s even more exciting to hear about the success that these brewers are enjoying right at home. It turns out that experienced brewers like Eli Gershkovitch don’t have to travel far to find fans ready to offer up praise for their newest and most innovative brews.
Gershkovitch opened the Steamworks Brew Pub in 1995 with enough space to seat fewer than 200 people. In those days, the concept of a local watering hole was just starting to take off. Perhaps Eli Gershkovitch would have chosen another line of business if he weren’t so passionate about beer. Thankfully, he persevered long enough to grow that small pub into a thriving brewery seating more than 750 guests.
Eli Gershkovitch now serves as CEO of the Steamworks Group of Companies and has combined his passion for craft brewing with his business expertise (LinkedIn). He is the mastermind behind multiple Canadian beer businesses and serves as one of those creative minds that is taking beer innovation to new levels. Not only is his beer distribution channel expanding throughout Canada, it’s also expanding into the United States. The future is looking bright for this beer enthusiast who plans on taking his bottled beer even further into the world’s growing beer scene.
Now that we can check infusing the world with their innovative beer ideas off the to-do list, where will Canada’s leading brewers go in the years to come? If Eli Gershkovitch gives you any clues, that future might include cruising Vancouver in a 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe Woody station wagon and throwing some of the most memorable parties in town.
When Gershkovitch threw a launch party for his newly released bottled beers, he earned a ton of free press as guests raved about the creative bottle designs. What’s even more impressive is the fact that this beer entrepreneur seems to have no limits when it comes to ambition and lofty goals.
As more international beer competitions open their doors to innovative brewers from Canada, you can count on brewers like Eli Gershkovitch making a strong appearance. They are the fresh faces of the thriving craft beer industry in Canada, and you never know what unexpected ingredients they may throw at you next. Visit your local pub this weekend to see what your local brewers are up to today.