Canada is known for a lot of things: their unbelievable talent with a puck on an ice rink, their delightfully busy beavers, and drool-worthy Maple Syrup are quick to come to mind, but arguably their most noteworthy achievement is one that’s been woven into the very fabric of what it means to be Canadian; their ability to create deliciously refreshing craft beer.
Given that beer is the nation’s most popular alcoholic beverage, it’s not surprising to learn that craft beer sales continue to gain traction in the Canadian marketplace, in some cases even doubling their revenue growth according to a 2012 study by BMO Nesbitt Burns.
From Delta, British Columbia’s Four Winds Brewing Company to Collingwood Ontario’s Side Launch Brewing Company (the proud recipient of 2016’s Brewery of the Year Award), all the way to St. John’s Newfoundland’s Quidi Vidi, there’s certainly no shortage of mouth-watering suds and demand is plentiful.
Eli Gershkovitch, CEO of Steamworks Brewery knows this market well. His passion for craft beer began after he graduated from law school in 1987, but his dream of owning a microbrewery wouldn’t begin to be realized until 1995 with the opening of the first Steamworks Brew Pub in Vancouver, B.C. His background in law served to be of vital importance as he spent the years leading up to its grand opening battling the city for approval. Some people may have given up when the control board told them that their location wasn’t fit for a brewery, but Eli knew that the people of Vancouver craved a new brew; in fact, it wasn’t long before they rallied against the board in support of him.
Clearly, Eli Gershkovitch knew what he was doing when he set out to open that first Steamworks Brew Pub. What started with a modest offering of only six beers has since grown to produce 15-17 different beers annually with no sign of slowing down. Eli Gershkovitchs’ beers can be found in 85 government-run liquor stores, bringing Canadians together from coast to coast. In addition, Steamworks beer can be found in many private retailers and 14 U.S states, proving that the B.C Brew’s unique flavors transcend both provincial and national lines.
Some say that it is Eli’s innovative and creative passion for the beers that truly put Canadian craft breweries on the map, and it’s a hard point to argue with. This past July, at the 2017 U.S Open Beer Championship, judges from the U.K, Canada and of course the United States sampled craft brews from all over the world, and Eli Gershkovitch was unsurprisingly a top contender at the event.
It’s not just the beer brewing business that Eli Gershkovitch has mastered. The local love he received from patrons of his brewpub carried so much weight that Eli was able to expand his enterprise with other local businesses, like the Transcontinental Restaurant (which has since been renamed Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar.) Of course, all of his businesses also serve Steamworks beers, keeping the name constantly at the tip of its patrons’ tongues and ready for a drink.
It’s in the way that Eli always seems to be thinking a few steps ahead of his competitors that enables his businesses to thrive thereby keeping his true dream alive; to maintain the level of freedom and control of his life that he craved since his early days as a law student. With the increasing popularity of his flagship brewpub, Eli Gershkovitch was able to expand the pub to host 754 people in 2013; a significant upgrade from the 184 it began with. While bringing Canadians together over a pint has always been the goal, and one that he has proven success with time and time again, it’s also allowed him to pursue other passions. From his collection of classic cars to his love of aviation, the sky’s the limit for this lawyer-turned-beer-connoisseur, and we can’t wait to try what he brews next.
More about Eli Gershkovitch at https://www.wingsjournal.com/hes-pilot-lawyer-ceo-steamworks-brewery-eli-gershkovitch