Canadians love their beer. Like hockey, beavers, and maple leaves, beer is considered an essential part of the Canadian identity, to the tune of 9 billion dollars a year. The last decade, long after Eli Gershkovitch opened Steamworks Brewing in Vancouver, has been an especially good one for craft beers in Canada. Canadian brews are winning awards and gaining market share across the country.
According to the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture, even as overall beer consumption dropped, the consumption of craft beers increased between 2004 and 2012 (Twitter). Some industry analysts believe craft beers are gaining attention because they focus on a flavorful, cosmopolitan experience directly tied to favorite flavors and local pride.
The 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship showed just how far Canadian craft beer has come. Canada took home 24 awards, including 10 gold medals. Eli Gershkovitch, a Canadian craft brewer out of Vancouver, has been an instrumental part of this change, having worked tirelessly since 1995 to put Canadian craft brewing on the map.
There are many craft breweries across Canada winning awards. Some hail from the East Coast and others from the West Coast. A few notables from the East would be Propeller from Nova Scotia, and La Fin de Monde and McAuslan in Quebec. From the West Coast, favorites include Electric Unicorn and Eli Gershkovtich’s Steamworks.
Eli Gershkovitch is the brewing mastermind behind Steamworks (http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Gershkovitch+owner+Steamworks+brew+Vancouver+with+1948+Plymouth+Special+Deluxe+Woody+station+wagon/8035571/story.html). Gershkovitch was an unlikely brewing company CEO. He took a tour of Europe in the early 90s and sampled microbreweries in Germany that tasted like nothing he had ever experienced before. While Eli Gershkovitch was hesitant to give up his law school aspirations, he never forgot the lessons he learned there in Europe.
Still, his legal knowledge gave him a crucial edge when he opened up the first ever Canadian steam brewing company. Legal complexities and lack of knowledge had prevented anyone else from trying it, but the pioneer flavor intrigued many Canadians, who had been accustomed to watery, mass-produced tastes.
Now, Steamworks Brewing is a Vancouver hotspot for craft beer connoisseurs and Eli Gershkovitch is a hero of the Canadian brewing industry.