Graham Sherman, co-founder of Tool Shed Brewing company

Calgary International Beerfest x Baron
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Who are you and your current job?

My name is Graham Sherman I am the co-founder of Tool Shed Brewing company

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What was the inspiration behind your brewery? 

My business partner and I used to work throughout Afghanistan installing tactical SATCOM networks for government and military clients. When we weren’t overseas we brewed craft beer in my backyard tool shed. Most of us have that nagging concept in the back of our minds that we were supposed to find the thing we to do then spend the rest of our lives doing it! well for jeff and I…we realized that beer brought the best people together for the best times sharing the best stories! Turns out that’s the secret of life! so we quit our jobs and went after turning our dream into reality.

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 Can you give us a tour of your beer scene?

our local scene was helped back by decades to those surrounding us as we had provincial legislation that required any brewery application to show the government a facility that could produce 500,000 liters of beer annually! this massive barrier of entry meant that NO ONE could start a brewery in Alberta without millions of dollars invested before even APPLYING for a license. We shifted our direction and decided to make noise about this bullshit law by changing our business plans to become importers. We found a brewery 12 hours away in British Columbia brewed our beer, drove 12 hours back and then imported our beer back into our own city in order to make a big enough noise to help get these laws changed. since 2013 we now have 5 times as many breweries in the province so the scene in Alberta is much like everyone just arrived at a party here’s a great article about the history - thegrowler.ca

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What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?

my advice about starting a brewery is vast!! in fact Jeff my business partner and I run an event every quarter called “So you wanna start a brewery?” to help anyone who is thinking of starting a local brewery get all the answers they need! our last event had over 120 attendees! The biggest advice I give them is that it’s WAY less about the beer than everybody thinks! we all want to make the best beer on earth but without a magical sales and marketing team no one will every hear of it!, without ninjas in the back end keeping the books tidy clean you won’t last your first year!…there’s a sharp contrast to the front facing image of running a brewery to the behind the scenes insane amount of sacrifice and work that goes into it! You have to be prepared to lay awake sobbing in the middle of the night thinking up creative ways to crash through the many roadblocks you will face! It’s truly the most rewarding thing I’ve ever accomplished but that’s only because of the INSANE obstacles we’ve overcome to succeed! 

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toolshedbrewing.com

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