Canadians are passionate about craft beer. Each year the are many craft beer festivals held throughout Ontario. These festivals showcase some of the top small batch craft brewers. One Toronto, Ontario brewing company is set to release an alcohol-free craft beer this fall. Banned from drinking alcohol because he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, the owner of the brewing company set out to produce the best alcohol-free craft beer.
That’s just one example of how passionate Canadians are about their beer. Another example is that in Toronto there are 200 ethnic groups, speaking 140 languages and there are 300 craft breweries. Yet the industry is still considered to be in its infancy.
Eli Gershkovitch is a Canadian craft beer brewer. The CEO of Steamworks Brewery, he has been involved in brewing craft beer for over 20 years. It was a trip to visit a number of European breweries in 1987 that got Eli Gershkovitch interested in creating craft beer. He and his partner started off in 1994 with a small brew pub in Gastown.
Gradually, as demand grew, the amount of craft beer Steamworks produced grew to meet the demand. Soon the craft brewery was doing such a brisk business, Gershkovitch added almost 5 times the number of seats in the brew pub. Eventually, he opened a second location in neighboring Waterfront station.
These days Eli Gershkovitch is considered a Canadian craft beer industry pioneer. The former attorney has continued to expand his operations to meet the increased demand. In 2013, Eli Gershkovitch decided he needed to build a full-scale brewery. One with a capacity of 40,000-hectolitre. Now he straddles the limit of what can legally be considered a micro-brewery.
But Eli Gershkovitch is not worried. Steamworks Brewery has seen a dramatic increase in its customer base. There is now an older crowd. It includes more women as well as white-collar and blue-collar workers looking for good, flavorful craft beer. Eli Gershkovitch now sells his craft beer in a number of Canadian provinces, 14 U.S. states and in Austria, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, and Switzerland. Steamworks Brewery has gone global.