Presented x Mondial de la Bière [June 14-18, 2017 - Montréal]
Who are you and your current job?
My name is Chris Pontsioen and I am the President & CEO of Silversmith Brewing Company in Virgil, Ontario.
What was the inspiration behind your brewery?
Our brewery is located in the heart of Niagara wine country. When I moved here with my wife back in 2010, it became very clear that there was something missing in the region. It didn't take me long to determine that there was a need for great beer in the region and that we could be the ones to make it.
It was pure luck that we stumbled into an old antique shop housed in an old church, that was getting ready to hit the market. That church would soon become the home of our small brewery and is now a destination not only for visiting tourists but also for many locals.
Can you give us a tour of your beer scene?
In the Niagara region, we are one of 12 breweries. The majority of these breweries have popped up within the last 5 years, so we are defiantly seeing a spike in the craft beer scene locally. Our customers are looking for quality products, made with real ingredients - and if it's brewed locally they are more than eager to stand behind it and spread the word - that is what we have found with our brand, the local support has been unwavering.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?
If you are looking to open your own brewery, prepare for the process to take longer than you planned, and prepare to grow much faster than you anticipated. Also, make connections within the industry. The craft beer industry is a wonderfully collaborative community, with many creative individuals who are happy to lend a hand or share advice - take the advice, but also find a way to forge your own path. No two breweries are the same, and there is room for everyone.