We are a fiercely independently owned craft brewery… and we’re damn proud of it! Great Lakes celebrated 35 years in the craft beer business in 2022, making us one of the oldest independent craft breweries in Canada.
We specialize in producing flavourful beers that will be sure to awaken your taste buds with each sip. From unique seasonal ales, bottle conditioned releases, year-round ales and premium lagers to our 7 Barrel and Tank Ten Series of beers, GLB produces a variety of products to be enjoyed by everyone!
Based in Etobicoke at 30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd., and at 11 Lower Jarvis (GLB Brewpub), GLB has two retail stores, offers free local home delivery, participates in a number of community oriented initiatives, and firmly believes that supporting local tastes GREAT.
The Beginning OF SOMETHING SPECIAL
Great Lakes Brewery incorporated on February 12, 1987 and soon after opened their brewery at 155 Clark Blvd in Brampton, Ontario. There were 5 co-founders who named the brewery Great Lakes because they dreamt of opening 5 breweries around the Great Lakes.
Those early days – trials & Tribulations
Between 1987 and 1990, Great Lakes produced only two beers – Unicorn Ale and Great Lakes Lager. Each beer was brewed using malt extract, yet both beers got awesome reviews from the beer community. Both were packaged in green 1L PET bottles with a focus on the home consumer.
The Move to etobicoke
The brewery was purchased by the Bulut family in 1991 who immediately noticed a change in venue was needed in order to expand. They moved the brewery to our present day location in Etobicoke in 1992 and changed it to all grain brewing.
Great Lakes Owner and Chief Brewing Officer, Peter Bulut Jr., and Head Brewer, Mike Lackey, have known each other since public school. When the Bulut family purchased the brewery in 1991 Lackey immediately sought them out for summer work.
A BREWERY RETAIL STORE OPENs
Great Lakes did not operate a brewery retail store until 2000. When they opened their doors to the public for the first time, they offered 6 packs of Golden Horseshoe Premium Lager and Red Leaf Lager in 341ml bottles. The store is now a community hub in Etobicoke.
ANOTHER NEW CHAPTER
The early beginnings of what would become Project X beers started in 2006 when Great Lakes purchased a very small pilot brew system. The first beer to go from pilot brew to large scale production was the Winter Ale, a seasonal favourite. First brewed for friends and family.
DEVIL’S PALE ALE
Another big milestone took place in 2006 when Devil’s Pale Ale 666 was introduced at the Toronto Festival of Beer. It was so popular that Great Lakes decided to make it year-round. Packaged in 473ml cans, it was an instant success when it hit the LCBO in the fall of 2007 and helped start the hop craze in Ontario.
THE BIRTH OF CANUCK
Canuck Pale Ale first debuted in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics and was available at the Ontario athletes pavilion in Vancouver, BC. It also won its first Gold Medal at the Canadian Brewing Awards the same year. First offered in 650ml bottles, Canuck actually had two different bottle designs.
Canuck Pale Ale became such a popular beer right out the gate that Great Lakes decided to make it a year-round brand in 2011. It was renamed Crazy Canuck Pale Ale, after the ski team of the 1980’s, and packaged in 473ml cans. It won its 2nd consecutive Gold Medal at the Canadian Brewing Awards.
2012 marked Great Lakes 25th anniversary and to celebrate the momentous occasion, GLB released five new beers in a variety of styles in 750ml bottles. Four of those beers were sold at the LCBO and Peter Bulut (Owner) said they were some of the best beers ever brewed at GLB.
Due to the overwhelming success of the 25th anniversary beers that Great Lakes released in 2012 the brewery made the decision to introduce a new series of beers, Tank Ten, which would allow them to brew one-off beers in greater quantity and distribute them throughout the province.
2012 was also the year that GLB underwent a transformation with respect to branding, ushering in a new look and brewing attitude.
CANADIAN BREWERY OF THE YEAR
2013 was a great year for the Great Lakes family as they won the prestigious “Canadian Brewery of the Year” award during the Canadian Brewing Awards.
2014 was the year of awards for Great Lakes Brewery. They were named the Canadian Brewery of the Year for the 2nd consecutive year, swept the American IPA category at the Canadian Brewing Awards (Gold: THRUST! an IPA, Silver: Karma Citra IPA, Bronze: My Bitter Wife IPA) and were named Best Brewery in Ontario at the Golden Tap Awards
TANK TEN ARRIVES
GLB introduced a number of new Tank Ten series of beers to the LCBO in 2014 & 2015 in both 650ml bottles and 473ml cans. RoboHop Imperial IPA, THRUST! an IPA, Karma Citra IPA, Octopus Wants to Fight IPA, Audrey Hopburn Belgian IPA, Saison Dupump, Lake Effect IPA, Sunnyside Session IPA and more…
INTRODUCING GORDIE LEVESQUE
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of “Crazy Canuck Pale Ale”, Great Lakes decided it was time for a rebrand. The beer was renamed Canuck Pale Ale, going back to its roots, and Gordie Levesque, the burly Canadian lumberjack who graces the can, was introduced to the public in the summer of 2014.
We celebrated our 34th anniversary the only way we know how – brewing a big beer to mark the occasion. It was #GLBDAY on February 12th and we were humbled by the amount of love and support we received, virtually of course (COVID). The beer, 3.4 IIIPA (More-Than-Triple, Less-Than-Quad IPA), an 11% heavy hitter, sold out in a day and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who got some.
GLB BREWPUB – COMING SOON
One wintery day, right before our 34th anniversary, we announced that the brewery would be opening the Great Lakes Brewpub in the fall of 2021 in the heart of the East Bayfront neighbourhood in Toronto.
GLB BREWPUB – IT’S HERE!
The brewery opened the doors to the GLB Brewpub on May 17th, much to the delight of GLB supporters who patiently waited for the big day. 20 beers on tap, a comprehensive food program and a welcoming retail store that is open seven days a week.