Eli Gershkovitch CEO @Steamworks Brewery

After graduating from Toronto University’s Law school, Eli Gershkovitch went on a European tour, a tour that would ignite a passion that would eventually birth one of Canada’s best craft beer breweries. Mr. Gershkovitch’s first taste of craft beer was when he tasted Belgian beer during his tour. It ignited in him a passion to want to create a beer system that was from the tank to tap.


To his advantage, Mr. Gershkovitch had already begun research on the craft brewing business while engaging in law practice, where he had represented a couple of craft beer brewers in cases against the municipality on liquor licenses (Montreal Gazette). Getting a 100-year-old building with a steam heat system as his brewing location, he went about trying to get a license.This he would get after one year and holding of a referendum, the issue was that his choice of location did not sit well with the liquor licensing board, but his legal skills saved the day and a referendum was held, to which the locals voted in his favor.


The steam system in that 100-year building is what Eli Gershkovitch used to start the innovative way of making craft beer using steam power; he also named his brewery Steamworks, befitting the environment in which the beer was being made. Steamworks produced only 6 beers in its year one in operation.




Steamworks was started by Eli Gershkovitch in 1995 in Gastown (https://ca.linkedin.com/company/steamworks-brewing-co). It moved to its present location in Burnaby in 2013, it has a brewery and taproom. The current product range from Steamworks includes all year round beers and seasonal beers. Some of their all year round beers flowing in their taprooms include Pilsner, Ales (Signature pale, Imperial Red, Jasmine India pale), Kölsch among others. Seasonal ones include stouts( Oatmeal, Winter White) and Ales such as ( Wheat, Pumpkin, Killer Cucumber, Farmhouse Wheat). They also brewed special Ale called Copper Roof to commemorate 100 years. Steamworks is currently selling its craft beer to 14 US states and several Canadian provinces. Mr. Gershkovitch’s motto still remains small or chose to go big.


Other types of Canadian beer


Spruce Beer

Medicine meant to cure scurvy is now one of Canadians favorite beers. Spruce beer originated back in the 16th century and has continued to exist in alcoholic and non- alcoholic versions, with the non -alcoholic being the most preferred. Paul Patates remains Spruce beer main tap and has stayed true to its roots by still sticking to an 1896 brewing recipe. Others include Halifax’s Garrison Brewery.


Ice Beer

Ice beer is formed by simply freezing beer, this is done by lowering its temperature until the beer has crystalized into ice, and these crystals are then sieved out to leave a high alcohol to water volume ratio, a process aptly referred to as freeze distillation. Bush Ice and the Labatt Ice are some of the common Ice beer types in Canada.


Craft Beer

The most popular of the beers with a 10% share in Canadian beer market, craft beer breweries, otherwise known as microbreweries, have risen from 88 breweries in 2006 to about 520 as at 2015 and the figures keep going up. The preferred packaging for craft beer is the can, which is light and therefore brewers can maximize by transporting high numbers of beer in one trip. They are also resistant to the two factors that reduce craft beers shelf life; oxygen, water. Cans, therefore, guarantee a longer shelf life for the beer.It is therefore used since the overall effect is that packaging and shipping costs are lowered. It is safe to say the ‘C’ in Canada stands for Craft beer.