Canadian Beer Brewers On A Winning Streak
This year’s U.S. Open Beer Championship welcomed contestants from Canada, Vietnam, Venezuela, Australia, and Belgium. There were over 100 styles of beers presented with 6,000 variations. Canadian brewers gave participating countries some stiff competition by winning 24 medals. It was especially a win for the province of Ontario. Cameron’s Brewing in Ontario placed in the top 10, and it earned four medals. Also, 21 of Canada’s 24 medals were won by Ontario-based breweries. Two medals went to breweries from Quebec. One medal went to a company based in Canada’s British Columbia province.
British Columbia’s Lighthouse Brewing Company was awarded the gold medal in the brown ale class. The Belgh Brasse Brewery in Quebec earned a gold medal in the American lager competition. It also earned a bronze medal in the Belgian pale ale class. Ontario brewers won medals for vegetable beers, fruit beers, oatmeal stouts, barrel-aged ales and many other categories of beers. The yearly competition welcomes professional and home brewers from across the globe. Judges are selected from several different countries including Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
About Eli Gershkovitch
Eli Gershkovitch was pleased to see Canadian breweries do so well in the recent competition. He is the CEO of Steamworks Group, which operates craft breweries. He successfully runs the company on the concept of expanding to meet demand instead of letting demand shrink to stay at current capacity. This concept has helped the company grow steadily at a time when consumers are choosing craft brews over the labels of corporate powerhouses. Eli Gershkovitch boasts over 20 years of experience in craft brewing and was one of the few seasoned brewers who had the privilege of watching the trend build momentum. He opened Steamworks in 1995. At that time, craft breweries were rare novelties. Today, craft breweries are found on nearly every street of every big city, and they are expanding into rural areas as well.
The flagship Steamworks Brew Pub that Eli Gershkovitch opened is located in the Gastown area of Vancouver, British Columbia. When it opened, there were under 185 seats. He expanded it over time, and it boasts over 750 seats today. Also, this expansion included the Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar, which was formerly the Transcontinental Restaurant. Both of his venues brought a bigger crowd of locals and tourists. Gershkovitch is credited with transforming the Gastown area from drab to fab with crowd-drawing craft brews. He pointed out that the growth did not happen overnight. It was a gradual process that involved him adding one piece at a time as demand continued an upward trend. The biggest growth step happened in 2013 when Eli Gershkovitch opened a full-scale brewery.
The new brewery boasts 40,000 hectoliters of output while the original brew pub had a capacity of only 2,000 hectoliters. To meet the ever-growing demand for craft brews, the new brewery is constantly operating at full capacity (Inspirery.com). Eli Gershkovitch said that his revenue has gone up 50 percent since the opening of the full-scale brewery on Boundary Road. His customer base has grown from Gastown visitors to other parts of Canada and now to the rest of the world. In addition to Canadian stores, his company’s brews are on shelves in Australian, German, Italian, American and Swiss stores. The company also sells beer in Hong Kong. Gershkovitch plans to expand its reach into other countries soon, and he may open additional breweries in the future.
While Eli Gershkovitch welcomes the perpetuation of his high-quality brand, he talked about the challenges of such massive growth in an interview. When he simply ran a brew pub and a restaurant in Gastown, supply, demand, and profits were the main concerns. Extra costs for logistics, packaging, marketing and other tasks associated with international selling made his job more complex. However, he embraced those challenges to find solutions that left his customers happy with a quality product and a good price. Eli Gershkovitch pointed out that most companies either grow large or stay small by choice. The transition between the two points can be difficult and is what makes or breaks most companies that try to expand. Gershkovitch has proven that he has the drive to succeed and the ability to navigate complex business hurdles (https://www.crunchbase.com/person/eli-gershkovitch#/entity).
In his personal life, Eli Gershkovitch enjoys being a pilot and flying his two planes. He earned his pilot’s license in 1993. As a young boy, Gershkovitch always wanted to become a pilot. His fearless confidence that he displays as the CEO of a beer empire is evident in his flying abilities as well. In a feat that most pilots would not attempt, Eli Gershkovitch flew from Canada to Europe and back in his Cessna 182. Flying over the Atlantic in a single-engine plane is risky but bold. Gershkovitch said that he would not have done it if he did not feel in control, and he said that the same idea applies when it comes to business growth. He only expands using controlled growth to ensure a successful outcome. Eli Gershkovitch also has a classic car collection that he enjoys expanding. He originally went to school to be a lawyer. After earning his law degree, he went on a tour of Europe and developed a taste for fine beers. That was when he had the idea to make craft beer and have it available on tap at its brewing location.