Canadian Brewers Showcase Their Talents
The U.S. Open Beer Championship takes place each year and is open to home brewers and professional brewers from around the world. At the 2017 competition, Canadian brewers took home 24 medals. There were brewers from other countries including Belgium, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Australia. With 6,000 total variations of beers in 100 different styles, the competition was full of unique flavors. Most of Canada’s medals went to Ontario brewers. Of the 24 total medals earned by Canadian brewers, 21 were given to Ontario brewers. One of the most successful Ontario participants in the competition was Cameron’s Brewing. The company was awarded four medals and earned a spot in the top 10 among all participants.
The award-winning Ontario brewers earned medals for oatmeal stouts, fruit beers, vegetable beers and several others. Quebec’s Belgh Brasse Brewery took home the gold medal for presenting the best American lager. Also, the pale ale bronze medal went to Belgh Brasse Brewery. Lighthouse Brewing Company from British Columbia earned a gold medal for its superb brown ale. Most of the judges in the competition were chosen from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.
About Eli Gershkovitch
As a successful and reputable Canadian brewer, Eli Gershkovitch was thrilled to see Canadian brewers succeed during the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship. Eli is Steamworks Group’s CEO and has held that position since he started the company in 1995. Steamworks consists of a network of craft breweries. While some companies start too large or mistakenly stay small, Eli paid attention to trends and sales to make the smartest growth moves. Craft beers have exploded in popularity in the past several years, and Eli Gershkovitch watched the trend pick up speed over the course of two decades. When Steamworks Group first opened, craft breweries were uncommon. However, they are found nearly everywhere today.
When Eli Gershkovitch first opened his business, it was called Steamworks Brew Pub. It still exists and is in Vancouver’s Gastown area. The establishment was modest with a little more than 180 seats. Eli carefully watched product trends and visitor numbers, and more seats were slowly added. Today, the venue has more than 750 seats. In addition to expanding the original business, Eli bought the nearby Transcontinental Restaurant and turned it into the Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar. He is credited with revitalizing the Gastown area, which had a small number of local and touring customers until then. Eli’s craft beers became legendary across British Columbia.
In interviews, Eli Gershkovitch often emphasizes that his business growth process involved adding one piece at a time like a puzzle (http://www.steamworks.com/brewery). When demand grew, he expanded to accommodate it. Eli encourages other brewers and business owners to use that method. By doing that, he avoided common financial setbacks that are associated with a business trying to grow too quickly. Eli said that businesses stay small or get bigger by choice. The most difficult part is the transition between small and large. He said that companies usually fail financially by not planning their expansion properly, and small companies can fail if there is an increased demand without any action to meet it. He said that customers will simply go elsewhere for what they need, which leaves those small companies to stagnate.
The popularity of Steamworks Group expanded into other parts of Canada and eventually into other parts of the world. Steamworks Group’s beers are found in stores in Italy, Australia, Germany, Hong Kong and the United States. In 2013, demand for Eli Gershkovitch’s famous brand had grown so much that he started a full-scale brewery. It still operates today at full capacity, which is 40,000 hectoliters of output. His original facility’s output was only a fraction of that. Since the opening of the new brewery, the company’s revenue has increased by 50 percent. Eli Gershkovitch said that he is considering opening another full-scale brewery soon and is expanding his company’s reach into several other countries.
In an interview, Eli Gershkovitch talked about the growth-related challenges of Steamworks Group. Although running only the original brewpub in the 1990s was a challenge, his main focuses were tracking profits, demand, and supply. When he expanded and bought the nearby Gastown restaurant, he had two separate locations to balance. His brand’s expansion into other parts of Canada and into other countries brought several logistical challenges. There were regulatory, packaging and marketing concerns added to the challenges of keeping the Gastown venues going. Also, the tasks related to international selling presented some tough hurdles. However, Eli Gershkovitch found ways to overcome them and continue growing. When he develops solutions to any issues related to marketing and selling his products, Eli devises plans that do not sacrifice the quality or value of his reputable brand.
Eli Gershkovitch went to school to be a lawyer when he was younger. To celebrate graduating from law school, he traveled to Europe and discovered craft beers. Eli developed a passion for them after his trip and dreamed of having craft beers on tap at a brewing location (Facebook). His trip yielded the birth of an idea that would lead to him opening Steamworks Brew Pub in the 1990s and building a beer empire. Although craft beer is his main passion, Eli Gershkovitch also enjoys flying. His love for flying started when he was a child. He dreamed of becoming a pilot for many years, and that dream came true in 1993 when he earned his license. As a fearless pilot, Eli flew a Cessna 182 to Europe and then back to Canada. Most seasoned pilots are not confident enough to attempt such a flight in a small single-engine aircraft. However, Eli said that he had complete control over the plane. That same idea applies to Eli’s business tactics. If he does not feel that he has control over a growth move being successful, he will not attempt it. Eli Gershkovitch’s Steamworks Group is a proven example of success when it comes to controlled growth of a company.