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Friday, January 29, 2010

Steelback Closes Their Doors?

It appears Steelback Brewery has closed up shop.

I received an email from someone in the industry earlier this week hinting that the Tiverton, ON brewery was about to close for good. The brewery had been laying people off recently and rumours were swirling about the brewery's demise. The person that contacted me had it on good authority that the closing was going to happen soon, so I started making some phone calls to get a confirmation from anyone at the brewery. No dice. Everyone's answering machines are full - messages can't be left. Calls to President. Jonathon Sherman went unanswered today, yesterday, the day before, so I couldn't get a confirmation from him. But here is the email I received today (used with permission from the author):

Yes, they closed the doors officially yesterday. The staff were told late day Thursday. Jonathan is a good guy, but he was ill-advised and he had the D'Angelo legacy ruining anything that he did.

As of twenty minutes ago the Kincardine Newspaper hadn't heard anything from the brewery, but an employee did mention that there wasn't many people left working there.

The brewery, which has been around in one shape or another since 2002 when opened by the colourful, and not to pleasant, Frank D'Angelo. Steelback had tacky commercials, plastic bottles, 11 or more beers in their regular line-up, and a President who was brass, cocky, and outspoken. D'Angelo spent more on advertising than the brewery was bringing in with beer sales and eventually Frank was shown the door in 2008.

Stepping in as President was the young son of billionaire owner Barry Sherman - Jonathon. At 25 years old he was controlling the brewery and his intention was to steer it in another direction. One mistake I think he made was keeping the Steelback name. The years of bad beer, D'Angelo's antics, and images of plastic bottles, never did leave the beer drinkers psyche and it went downhill from there.

I'll be sure to post more information once it becomes available.


bushidoka said...

Yup, keeping the name was definitely a huge mistake. Their original beers were terrible - just terrible. And Stephen Beaumont was convinced they were made from extract since when he was there he could not find any grain, and there were a whole whack of huge plastic containers around.

ogof said...

Steelback really needed a good product. A new brewer with a good quality beer would have made all the difference. As it was the original Steelback beer was more akin to the biologically processed product of previously ingested beer.

boogie said...

D'Angelo left an albatross around the neck of Steelback that was the size of an elephant. I don't think there was any way for them to rise from the ashes of that mess. I'd say more, but he'd probably sue

Beer Inc said...

That is sad news to hear.. maybe its time to regroup, change the name and try and get back into the market with a good Canadian type beer.


Aaron said...

A very sad day,as a beer drinker from England during my stay in Toronto a close friend introduced me to Steelback Draught, for the next 2 years i drank nothing else,not before or since have i tasted a beer that even comes close.
My thoughts go out to the staff but my thanks also.
You created a thing of beauty and to this day when i close my eyes here in England and think of Canada its not Molson or Labatts i think of but Steelback.
Its a shame that market share and profit tell us the bottom line, if it were down to taste things would be bright in Tiverton. Steelback thank you and you will be missed.

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