Great Lakes Brewery (Toronto)

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Great Lakes Brewing Company
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1987
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Area served
Ontario, Canada
Key people
Peter Bulut Jr (President & Chief Brewing Officer), Mike Lackey (Brewer)
Products #FreshGLB Craft Beer
Services
Website www.greatlakesbeer.com

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.[1] 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.[1]

The brewery currently employs approximately 40 people. For three years in a row (2014, 2015, 2016) Great Lakes Brewery has been named the "Best Brewery in Ontario" at the Golden Tap Awards as voted on by the citizens of Ontario.

Great Lakes timeline[edit]

Highlights Year
  • Opened a malt extract brewery in Brampton. Two beers – Great Lakes Lager and Unicorn Ale
1987
  • Peter Bulut Sr. purchases the brewery and plans are underway to move production to Etobicoke
1990
  • Etobicoke brewery opens. All malt brewing commences. One beer is the focus – Great Lakes Lager
1991
  • Great Lakes Lager only available in draught format to bars & restaurants
1991-2000
  • Retail store opens to the public.
2000
  • Devil’s Pale Ale 666 is created on June 6, 2006, for the Toronto Festival of Beer.
2006
  • 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
2007
  • 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
2009
  • Introduces Canuck Pale Ale in time for the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Name later changes to Crazy Canuck.
2010
  • 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
2011
  • 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
2012
  • 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
2013
  • 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
2014
  • 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
2015
  • 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
  • Brewed a collaborative beer with Toronto City Councillor, The #6Dad Norm Kelly, for charity and called it "We the Norm #6Dad Pilsner"
  • Installed a new canning and bottling line, increasing output
  • Purchased a number of custom made fermenters and brite tanks from a local Etobicoke company
2016

List of Great Lakes beers[edit]

Brand Style Year of Debut Availability
Canuck Pale Ale West Coast Style Pale Ale 2010–present Year-Round
Pompous Ass English Ale 2014–present Year-Round
Devil's Pale Ale 666* American Pale Ale 2006 - 2015 (Discontinued)
Red Leaf Lager Amber Lager 1996–present Year-Round
Blonde Lager (Formerly Great Lakes Lager, Golden Horseshoe Lager) North American Lager 1987–present Year-Round
Pumpkin Ale Pumpkin beer 2007–present Seasonal: Fall
Winter Ale Spiced Winter Warmer 2007–present Seasonal: Winter
Saison Dupump Belgian Pumpkin Saison 2013–present Seasonal: Fall
RoboHop Imperial India Pale Ale 2013–present Tank Ten Series
Octopus Wants to Fight India Pale Ale
My Bitter Wife India Pale Ale
THRUST! an IPA India Pale Ale
Karma Citra India Pale Ale
No Chance with Miranda Saison
Maniacal Hopshop India Pale Ale 2015–present Tank Ten Series
Lake Effect India Pale Ale 2013–present Tank Ten Series
Harry Porter American Porter 2012–present Tank Ten Series
Audrey Hopburn Belgian India Pale Ale 2013–present Tank Ten Series
Chill Winston Belgian Grisette 2013–present Tank Ten Series
Limp Puppet Session India Pale Ale 2013–present Tank Ten Series
Johnny Simcoe American Pale Ale 2012–present Tank Ten Series
Citraddiction XPA
Miami Weiss American Wheat Ale 2012–present Tank Ten Series
Etobichoker Double Belgian IPA Tank Ten Series
Long Dong Pilsner Pilsner 2012–present Tank Ten Series
Apocalypse Later Imperial Black IPA 2012–present Tank Ten Series

Awards[edit]

Canadian Brewing Awards logo - Brewery of the Year

Awards Competition Year
Ontario Brewery of the Year Golden Tap Awards 2016
Best Regular Produced Beer in Ontario - Canuck Pale Ale Golden Tap Awards 2016
Best Seasonal/Specialty Beer in Ontario - Karma Citra IPA Golden Tap Awards 2016
Ontario Brewery of the Year Golden Tap Awards 2015
Best Seasonal/Specialty Beer in Ontario - THRUST! an IPA Golden Tap Awards 2015
Gold Medal - Canuck Pale Ale Ontario Brewing Awards 2015
Canadian Brewery of the Year Canadian Brewing Awards 2014
Swept American Style IPA category Canadian Brewing Awards 2014
Ontario Brewery of the Year Golden Tap Awards 2014
Best Brewery for Cask Conditioned Ale in Ontario Golden Tap Awards 2014
Canadian Brewery of the Year Canadian Brewing Awards 2013
Best Brewery for Cask Conditioned Ale in Ontario Golden Tap Awards 2013
Gold Medal - Canuck Pale Ale Canadian Brewing Awards 2011
Gold Medal - Canuck Pale Ale Canadian Brewing Awards 2010

See also[edit]

References[edit]