Mark Zemlak, president and brewmaster at Boiling Oar Brewing Co.

Calgary International Beerfest x Baron
Publish date:



Who are you and your current job?

Mark Zemlak I am the President and Brewmaster at Boiling Oar Brewing Co.


What was the inspiration behind your brewery? 

I was a home brewer who got the unique opportunity to build breweries in Alberta. When the province changed the restrictions to allow little breweries to open; Boiling Oar was born. The name has some imagery, with our small brewing system. I use an Oar to stir the mash, with the steam rising it gives that image…


Can you give us a tour of your brewery scene? 

Calgary and our entire province of Alberta are booming. It seems every day you hear about someone new who is planning a brewery. As far as the local beer scene, our community is tight-knit but friendly. You see many of the same faces at each event drinking your beer. As far as the brewery scene, we have adopted the same culture as many... Us versus the big guys. I have plenty of support from the people who were brewing beer in Calgary long before Boiling Oar was around. I plan to share what little knowledge I have with anyone who is planning to start their own.


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

Do your homework. Most of us are brewers who think they can make the best quadruple double IPA out there. Don’t spend all your time planning out your equipment buy list. Be highly critical of your business plan. Your finances are everything. After all, you ARE a business. Once yo think your business plan is perfect, go back again and again until it isn’t necessarily perfect but realistic. This isn’t the time off be an optimist.