October 3, 2022

To kick off a new exhibit at the Guelph Civic Museum, a panel was held on Jan. 29 all about the changes in the brewing industry.

Museum curator Dawn Owen welcomed guests and speakers warmly, before passing the mic to guest curator Eric Payseur.

Payseur introduced the panelists: technical sales manager for Ontario and Manitoba Shelley Beirnes of Brewers Supply Group Inc.; brewmaster Marvin Dyck of Wellington Brewery; and technical brewing specialist Jonathan Crawshaw of Sleeman Brewery. Payseur dove right into the prepared questions for the panelists.

“What do you think is the most significant change in the production of beer since you first began?” Payseur asked before passing the mic off to Crawshaw who then spoke about his 25-30 years of experience in the brewing industry.

“The biggest change has to be automation. When I started working in brewing, we shovelled the grain by hand. Now, this is all done automatically by a machine. You tell it the temperature you want, and it takes care of it,” Crawshaw explained.

As far as day-to-day tasks that need completing, Beirnes handles many that don’t involve the actual brewing process. “I do not do beer to beer every day. What I focus on is bringing things in and distributing them out,” said Beirnes.

Communication is also very big between breweries. They try to keep others up to date with the types of equipment they are using and what is working for them.

“Every brewery is unique. By getting to know the different breweries, you get to learn new things,” explained Beirnes.

There are times during the year, however, when the brewing company is affected negatively.

“Someone decided to invent Sober October and Dry January,” said Dyck, which are occasions when consumers choose to opt out of drinking for the entire month. “Overall, I think there is more of a focus on quality over quantity and I am all for taking breaks for consuming — but maybe not for an entire month,” Dyck said with a laugh.

The exhibit runs at the museum until Feb. 24.


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