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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Great Lakes Brewing Co. Adds Talented Brewmaster - UPDATE

Peter Bulut Jr. (GLB) welcoming Adrian Popowycz to GLB
Yesterday afternoon I broke the news about Adrian Popowycz, the former Brewmaster at the Black Oak Brewing Co., joining Etobicoke's Great Lakes Brewing Co. as their new Brewmaster and Plant Manager and it generated a number of emails and chatter on the social media sites.

Big news... Adrian Popowycz, former Brewmaster at Black Oak, has joined Etobicoke's Great Lakes Brewing Co. as their new Brewmaster and Plant Manager!

More information to come....

The announcement was made official yesterday at Great Lakes in front of a number of people during the 10th anniversary of Bar Towel collaboration brew. However, earlier in the day the rumour had been confirmed during a conversation I had with Popowycz and Great Lakes, thus the tweet and the subsequent post.

Popowycz confirmed that his last day with Black Oak was in fact yesterday afternoon and that he's set to start with his new employer on Monday. "It was a great run with Black Oak," Popowycz said, "we accomplished many great things during my time there and it was always fun. This new opportunity presented itself and I felt the timing was right to make a change, to take on a new challenge.... and I'm very excited!"

We chatted briefly about the new role he'll be stepping into and all Popowycz could do was smile and say, "Great Lakes have been doing a number of great things lately and their long-term plan is exciting and something that I'm really looking forward to being a part of."

Great Lakes new Brewmaster
Shortly after 1pm, Great Lakes President, Peter Bulut Jr. presented Popowycz with his Brewmaster staff shirt and welcomed him to the brewery, stating that they're very happy to be bringing him on board. "Adrian brings a wealth of brewing knowledge to Great Lakes and the whole team here is looking forward to working with him," said Bulut Jr.

Popowycz also addressed the group and mentioned that he leaves Black Oak on great terms and that he is excited to get started with Great Lakes.

Popowycz, who also serves as Chair for Niagara College's Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management Program Advisory Committee, has a very good reputation in the Ontario brewing industry and is one of a handful of brewers that were professionally trained at VLB Berlin, so the news of him leaving Black Oak, a place he called home for a number of years, came as both a shock to those who follow the industry, and excitement.

Great Lakes have been consistently building on their own reputation over the last number of years and have garnered praises for the seasonal, experimental and one-off programs. Adding a talented brewmaster like Popowycz to the fold is a very positive step for the brewery, for both their core brands and their seasonal/one-off program. Thus the excitement for the continued growth and development of Great Lakes.

I spoke with Ken Woods (Black Oak President and Founder) last night and he said he is happy for Popowycz. "Adrian gave us so much over the years and now it's Simon's turn (brewer at Black Oak - Simon DaCosta) to fill that role." Woods also mentioned the names of two local individuals who will be assisting with the brewing at Black Oak, but I'll reserve naming them for the time being.

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