After battling with construction problems over the last year, Silversmith Brewing Company has a reason to pour one in celebration.
The local brewing company took home the title of Canadian champ for black lager at the World Drink Awards this year, vice president and director of operations Kate Brzozowski says the brewery is just getting started.
“I think it just kind of reminds us of some of the good stuff that we still are doing. Over the last couple of years with all that’s happened with our construction projects, we have kind of lost a lot of our lustre,” she says, adding that the award reminds the team that they’ve “still got it.”
Although the distinction as one of Canada’s best dark lagers was reaffirming for the brewery and staff, she says she's also looking to spread the word about their other beers, which she thinks have just as much award-winning potential.
“Our Breakfast Wheat is one that we’ve been brewing since the beginning alongside the Black Lager, and we’ve never kind of given it its due.”
Head brewer John Legassicke says the Black Lager is the flagship beer, which means they make “an awful lot of it.” That has allowed them to really fine tune the process and consistently put out a quality beer, he added. But The Bandit Smoked Lager is his personal favourite.
“For a smoked beer it actually has a subtle smoked flavour and it comes across nicely, at least to me, and it's very easy to drink,” he says.
The brewery planned to expand last year, but the project came to a stall, Brzozowski says. Now, the company is working with a new set of designers and contractors to finalize the designs and pick up work on the expansion.
She says it was time to reassess the brewery’s vision for the future.
“It was a bit of a mess, everything started to fall apart in about October of last year.”
It became clear to them that their projected deadline wasn’t going to be met, she says, so the decision was made to put plans on hold. Parting ways with the initial contractor, the company took some time to revisit the direction of the brewery moving forward.
She says the new plan is relatively similar to before.
“The plans before were very much focused on customer space and production down below. We’re going to stick with those plans conceptually but the layout of things is going to be a little but different,” she says. “We’ve got a lot of changes happening in the next year and we’re hoping this building will be able to support that.”
Right now, the brewery can only accommodate about 60 people. Brzozowski says she would like to see a larger capacity, especially in the summer months and on the weekends. More space for production is also in the works to meet the brewery’s vision for future growth.
Legassicke says he'll be happy to see more production space with the new expansion.
“Hopefully it will lead to more local jobs as well and once the craziness of the expansion is behind us it will allow us to focus more effort back on the community, which has been supporting us throughout this whole process,” he says.
“Until everything’s finalized I’d just like to say we have really great people helping us out,” Brzozowski says.
In late October, the brewery has planned a three-day celebration to commemorate the new vision for the Niagara Stone Road location. Silversmith is, Born Again, will take place on Oct. 25 to 27.