Great Lakes Brewery is a craft beer brewery in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2013 and 2014, Great Lakes won the top honour in Canadian brewing, named Canadian Brewery of the Year.
Great Lakes Brewery was started in 1987 in an industrial unit in Brampton by Bruce Cornish and four other silent partners. The group produced two beers, an ale and a lager, using malt extract, a far cry from all grain used by craft breweries throughout North America. The beer was packaged in 1 litre plastic home brew bottles with a focus on the home retailer. After four years of production, Cornish and the silent partners had run out of capital to keep the brewery functioning. A construction magnate in Etobicoke by the name of Peter Bulut Sr. had been introduced to Cornish through respective business deals and plans were underway to sell the brewery to him. Bulut Sr. purchased the business in 1990, made the change from malt extract brewing to all grain, and in the early months of 1991 moved the brewery to its current home at 30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd. just off the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), where Cornish continued on as head brewer for a short time.
In 2009, with the health of Peter Bulut Sr. in decline, his children, Peter Bulut Jr. and his sister Anetta Jewell, took on more responsibility of the day-to-day operations. They, along with the brewing team, introduced new brands and marketing initiatives that led to increased sales through the LCBO, bars and restaurants. The brewing team experimented with flavours, gave their beers weird and wacky names, and showcased their creations with monthly Project X nights (no longer taking place). Bulut Sr. died in 2010, leaving the brewery to his family. Bulut Jr. took over the brewery, operating as President and Chief Brewing Officer.
Opened a malt extract brewery in Brampton. Two beers – Great Lakes Lager and Unicorn Ale
Peter Bulut Sr. purchases the brewery and plans are underway to move production to Etobicoke
Etobicoke brewery opens. All malt brewing commences. One beer is the focus – Great Lakes Lager
Great Lakes Lager only available in draught format to bars & restaurants
Retail store opens to the public.
Devil’s Pale Ale 666 is created on June 6, 2006, for the Toronto Festival of Beer.
Winter Ale, Pumpkin Ale and Orange Peel Ale all make appearances at the LCBO and brewery retail store for the first time in 750ml and 650ml painted bottles respectively
Great Lakes is awarded a Golden Tap Editor’s Circle Award for leading the push for seasonal products in the Ontario craft brewing scene
Project X launched at brewery. A monthly event where brand new beers were created on the pilot system and offered to Project X members. Many of the Tank Ten series of beers were first born at these events. Project X events officially ended in 2012, yet beers are still created under the Project X brand for the GLB retail store
Introduces Canuck Pale Ale in time for the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Name later changes to Crazy Canuck.
The popular one-off, Canuck Pale Ale, becomes Crazy Canuck Pale Ale and launches in the LCBO full-time in 473ml cans. Wins its 2nd consecutive Gold Medal at the Canadian Brewing Awards
Celebrated 25th Anniversary with the launch of five brand new beers: Robust Porter, Vanilla Bean Imperial Espresso Stout, Belgian Saison, Imperial Black IPA and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout.
Named Best Brewery for Cask-Conditioned Ale in Ontario at the 10th annual Golden Tap Awards
Named the Canadian Brewery of the Year at the 11th annual Canadian Brewing Awards
Named Best Brewery for Cask-Conditioned Ale in Ontario at the 11th annual Golden Tap Awards
Introduced the Tank Ten series of beers
Named the Canadian Brewery of the Year at the 12th annual Canadian Brewing Awards
Awarded the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the NA India Pale Ale category at the Canadian Brewing Awards for THRUST! an IPA, Karma Citra IPA, My Bitter Wife IPA
Named the Best MicroBrewery in Ontario at the 12th annual Golden Tap Awards
Named Best Brewery for Cask-Conditioned Ale in Ontario at the 12th annual Golden Tap Awards
Canuck Pale Ale - Gold Medal at Ontario Brewing Awards
RoboHop Imperial IPA - Gold Medal at Canadian Brewing Awards
THRUST! an IPA - Silver Medal at Canadian Brewing Awards
Named the Best Brewery in Ontario at the 13th annual Golden Tap Awards
THRUST! an IPA - Best Seasonal/One-Off in Ontario at the 13th annual Golden Tap Awards
Canuck Pale Ale - Best Regularly Produced Beer in Ontario, Golden Tap Awards
Named the Best Brewery in Ontario at the 14th annual Golden Tap Awards
Karma Citra IPA - Best Seasonal/One-Off in Ontario at the 13th annual Golden Tap Awards