Great Western Brewing Company
The regional brewery that’s been a fixture in Saskatoon, Sask., for close to
100 years came very close to closing its doors for good back in the late 1980s –
until a group of daring employees known as the ‘Original 16’ saved the day
The Saskatchewan brewery now known as the Great West-ern
Brewing Company is marking its 32nd year in business
this year, but its history stretches back well beyond that.
The brewery, located just north of downtown Saskatoon was
built in 1927, and operated under the names Hub City Brewing
Company, the Western Canada Brewing Company and Drewery’s
Limited in its early years. In 1956, the plant was acquired by
O’Keefe Brewing, which would later become Carling O’Keefe and
one of the big three names in Canadian beer along with Labatt
In 1989, it looked like the business would be shuttering its
doors following the merger of Carling O’Keefe and Molson, and a
planned closure of the Saskatchewan brewing institution. That is,
until 16 daring and determined employees stepped up and pooled
their resources to form the Great Western Brewing Company.
The “Original 16”, as the group came to be known, is
commemorated today in Great Western’s line of premium beers
that includes a Canadian pale ale, a Canadian red ale, a Belgian-style
wheat beer and a light lager.
Great Western’s president and CEO, Michael Brennan, says
Greg Kitz and his wife Brenda are credited with leading the group
that purchased the brewery. He notes that Kitz retired last year,
leaving one Original 16 member, Ian Senterre, who is still a fixture
on the brewing floor.
By Mark Halsall
14 § POURED CANADA § www.poured.ca