is Brewing Up
Behind the scenes at Ontario’s
first craft brewer
By Pat Rediger
Beer is not just another packaged good. It is a living, highly nuanced production
process that shares more with the making of fine wines, cheeses and baked goods
than your typical industrial manufacturing approach. It’s this philosophy that has
guided a significant organizational shift for Ontario’s oldest craft brewer over the past
decade – Waterloo Brewing.
Russell Tabata, the brewery’s chief operating officer, noted that, despite all the technological
advancements the brewery has made, the focus is still quality, and not taking
shortcuts. He said the company has stayed true to its method. A key concept the company
follows is the Reinheitsgebot (otherwise known as the German Beer Purity Law) regulations
limiting the ingredients in beer in Germany. The law states that beer must be made
with only four ingredients: malt, hops, yeast and water.
“A lot of our focus, especially on the craft side, is making sure brands conform to that
purity law,” Tabata said. “You do, however, have a tremendous amount of flexibility in
terms of recipes and flavour. There are a significant number of varieties when it comes to
malt, hops and even yeast.”
Waterloo Brewing’s products include a stable of four core beers: Waterloo Dark,
Waterloo Amber, Waterloo Craft Lager and Waterloo IPA. The brewer also offers seasonal
styles, including the Waterloo Salted Caramel Porter, Waterloo Grapefruit Radler and
Waterloo Raspberry Radler.
Waterloo Brewing – formerly known as Brick Brewing Company – has gone from
three operating facilities to one. At the same time, the brewer has heavily invested in its
one remaining facility and focused on honing its craft.
“It’s a very impressive story and we’re proud of what we have accomplished,” said
George Croft, president of Waterloo Brewing.
Waterloo Brewing was founded in 1984 by Jim Brickman under the name Brick
Brewing Company. The company was ahead of the curve when it came to craft brewing
One of the company’s blends is called Waterloo Raspberry Radler
The new canning line at the brewery in
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