2020 in review

Published, January 4, 2020

It’s been quite the year here at Great Lakes Brewery, to say the least, one that we won’t soon forget… and it’s all thanks to you!

Your continued support of our fiercely independent craft brewery is sincerely appreciated and very much valued.
 With 2020 in the rear-view mirror, and as we start planning 2021 (which will be a huge year – lots of fun things to announce in due time), the entire Great Lakes family wishes to THANK YOU all and wish you the very best in the new year!!

We can’t wait to host you once again on our brewery patio here in glorious Etobicoke. Until then, keep tippin’ your glass of #FreshGLB in the right direction, wear a mask and stay safe, 


2020 has brought with it many challenges and obstacles. It has also introduced us to, and you by extension, home delivery. When things got real in March and our industry took a big hit, you were there for us with open arms. You enthusiastically embraced our staff showing up at your doorstep. Your smile, your positivity, was inspiration for each and every GLB team member and helped us in more ways that you know. 


The brewery also made a conscious effort to invest more dollars and assistance here in our Etobicoke/Toronto community. We did this through various charitable campaigns using our beer as the driving force, but it was you who supported each initiative. Each of you reading this have helped make a difference – helped secure funds for organizations impacted by COVID and on behalf of the following groups, we thank you. 

Click each link to get more information:

2020 – PROJECTS 

While 2020 presented many challenges for our brewery, our staff never wavered, tackling new projects head on, which resulted in some pretty cool things:

  • Great Lakes Spirits – a new division of GLB, producing Vodka Soda and Gin Soda
  • Re-branded all core and seasonal brands (Canuck, Pompous Ass, Octopus Wants to Fight, Lake Effect, THRUST and more)
  • Introduced TWO new year-round brands (HazeMama New England IPA, BURST! … A New England Pale Ale)
  • Hosted our first annual Holiday Food Drive, collecting 2920 pounds of food for Daily Bread
  • Won an LCBO Elsie award – Made in Ontario
  • Turned our beer into Hand Sanitizer for frontline workers
  • Commenced the distribution of some GLB product in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba
  • Brewed a beer, virtually of course, with Charlie Papazian, for the Ontario Craft Brewers Conference – Papazian is consider the Godfather of homebrewing and a founding father of craft beer

2020 – BREWING

Our brewing and packaging teams have never been busier! Since March, the group has worked long hours, week in and week out, to ensure that GLB keeps things fresh. As of today, our brewery has launched over 100 different brands through our online shop and/or retail store in 2020!! Some of the new beers, approximately 50, include: 


As we mentioned above, we brewed and released A LOT of beer in 2020. Old favourites returned, recurring gems came back and brand new offerings were created.

We polled our team members to see what their favourite everyday beer is, what their ‘new’ favourite was, what Lager/Pale Ale/IPA they like the best and so on. See some of the answers below.

Favourite Everyday GLB beer
1. Canuck Pale Ale 
2. BURST! A New England Pale Ale
3. Octopus Wants to Fight IPA

Favourite New GLB Beer
1. BURST! A New England Pale Ale
2. HazeMama New England IPA
3. Three way tie – 2010 IPA, Frühschoppen German Pils, Absacker Helles

Favourite GLB IPA
2. As Far Back As I Can Remember NEIPA
3. HazeMama New England IPA

Favourite NEW GLB Character
1. HazeMama
2. New Gordie – both Canuck and Hanlan’s
3. New Sir Fuggled Doublebottom 

Favourite GLB Lager
1. Absacker Helles
2. Frühschoppen German Pilsner
3. Great Lakes Premium Lager


We asked our team members, “what is one thing you’d say to our supporters to end 2020,” and here are some of those answers: 

Mike Lackey – (Brewing Operations Manager)
– “Thank you for wearing a mask”

Corey Wells – (Home Delivery Driver)
-“Clearly you’re making great choices. Keep it up!!!”

Mike ‘Smitty’ Smith – (Home Delivery Driver)
– “Thanks so much for treating our delivery drivers (myself included) so well and thanks for supporting GLB!”

Megan Whiten – (Retail Territory Sales)
– “Thank You 🙏🏼”

Jen Reinhardt – (Retail Channel Sales Manager)
– “Thank you for your continued support. We have many incredible customers that have supported us this year and we appreciate all of you!”

Nick Densmore – (Retail Store Manager)
– “Thanks to everyone for their support! We’re all in this together!”

Nick Perry – (Brewer, 7 Barrel Series)
– “I just want to say thank you for enjoying the beer we produce making it possible for us to do what we love.”

Sarah Heatley – (Sales Support)
– “Thanks for ordering home delivery!”

David Bieman – (Licensee Sales Manager)
– “Support your local bar & restaurants”

Peter Murphy – (Home Delivery Driver)
– “Thanks for staying loyal and supporting us in these challenging times.”

Barry Pletch – (Licensee Territory Manager)
– “Thank you for keeping the liquid flowing.”

Katarina Vicentic – (Retail Store) 
– “Thank you for being the best!”