June Issue: Toronto craft brewer shaking up the local beer scene with artsy glass packaging and Old World authenticity.
And while it has taken a little time and a couple of strategic focus realignments for the Toronto-based microbrewer Amsterdam Brewing Co. Limited to finally make itself an indispensable part of the local craft beer marketplace, the company’s evolution from a tiny brew-pub into one of Ontario’s most prominent premium microbrewers has been well worth the wait, according to the company’s easy-going brewmaster Jamie Mistry, a life-long beer industry insider who joined Amsterdam Brewing four years ago just as it was starting to diversify its core keg business with new product launches of innovative bottled-beer products that quickly caught the imagination and brand loyalty of discerning local beer-lovers.
But the new home is hardly on top of minds at this time of the year for the 35 full-time workers brewing, packaging and delivering its premium suds to a steadily growing range of upscale restaurants, bars, pubs and LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) retail outlets across a geographic region now stretching from Ottawa in the east to London west of Toronto.
With current annual production capacity of 24,000 hectoliters, a rough equivalent of 300,000 cases of 24 bottles, Amsterdam Brewing currently ranks as one of the top four biggest microbreweries out of the more than 30 craft brewers operating in Ontario, according to Mistry, with only the Mill St. Brewery and Steam Whistle Brewing of Toronto, along with the Waterloo-based Brick Brewing Co., boasting bigger capacity.
“Considering there were over 4,000 entries from 75 countries in the competition, with more than 40 entries in the Fruit Beer category, this was definitely a very nice validation of what we do here at Amsterdam Brewing,” Mistry reflects.
While keg sales still account for about 60 per cent of the brewer’s revenues, Van Delft says the company has been very pleased with the brisk rise in sales of its bottled product, which features distinctive container shape and colors—accentuated to maximum effect by the ACL (applied ceramic labeling) process used to mark the individual bottles, supplied by Que.-based glass broker United Glass, with paperless permanent labels to achieve a classy, elegant look befitting the premium-priced product.
“It’s a little more of an investment cost upfront, but if you get decent recycling rates on the bottle’s reuse, then you can recoup that.”
“I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people to work with, and I’m really looking forward to starting up a new chapter at our new facility next year.”