There is a beer revolution happening in Canada. It’s the incredible rise of craft beer – small, local breweries with unique recipes and flavors that are carving out a huge place for themselves in a highly competitive market long dominated by giants, such as Molson and LaBatt.
The Craft beer phenomenon has also given rise to a new class of entrepreneur, one of whom is Eli Gershkovitch. He is the founder and CEO of Steamworks, an upstart craft-brewed beer that leverages “steam power” in its production process.
Steamworks was originally the house brand of the Steamworks Pub established in Gastown, Vancouver, B.C., by Eli Gershkovitch in 1995. After rave reviews from pub regulars, Gershkovitch brought his beer to the retail market in 2012. Since then, Steamworks bottled and canned beer has become one of the leading Craft Beers in Canada.
Eli Gershkovitch is an unlikely person to become a craft beer magnate. He is a lawyer by profession. He completed his LLB in law at the University of Toronto in 1987. His law office in the Vancouver area has served clients for the past 27 years. He’s also a licensed pilot.
But inside the professional barrister there stirred a restless entrepreneur. This prompted Eli Gershkovitch to open his sit-down establishment in 1995. He started with a 184-seat pub which has grown to 754 seats today. The simple combination of great food, exceptional beer and fun atmosphere has made Steamworks Pub a culinary destination for almost a quarter century.
Gershkovitch’s motto is, “You grow to meet demand, or demand will shrink to meet you.” He obviously has focused on the growth. Today, Steamworks and the dozens of other craft brands have wrestled away 20 percent of the market from the big brands in Canada.
Eli Gershkovitch is determined that his product will continue to lead the way in a burgeoning craft beer market – but while maintaining that special quality of a small, locally brewed beer.
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