Two Good Men, A Long Time Gone
The Silversmith Brewing Company journey starts in 2005. Like all good stories, this one starts with two buddies in a ‘95 Corolla heading to Vegas, or rather, to a campground just outside of Las Vegas. Chris Pontsieon and Matt Swan were headed to the American South-West on a rock climbing trip that would become the spark for Silversmith Brewing Company.
After a day of climbing the two buddies headed into Sin City to grab some food and beer. They walked into a Wholefoods and hit the meat aisle for some organic dry-aged steaks and then went looking for the beer fridge. What they found was nothing short of a suds mecca; Imperial Stouts, IPA’s Bitters, Porters, Pilsners and Kolschs. They loaded the cart and headed back to their desert campsite and took a couple days off from climbing.
Fast forward to 2011 and Chris had settled into a sweet domestic groove in Niagara-on-the-Lake when one day he was struck by the fact that while the area had 38 wineries there wasn’t one brewery. Chris called Matt and they started looking for a home for Silversmith Brewing Company.
St. John’s Anglican church was built in 1894. It stayed that way until 1954 when it was deconsecrated. Trinity Lutheran church used the building from 1955 until about 1965. That would be the last time the building was used for religious service. From 1965 to 2012 it was a private residence and an antique shop (twice). That’s when Chris stopped in to poke around for chic vintage gems. The owner of the antique shop overheard Chris talking about it and the two struck up a conversation. That was August 2011 and by November the building was sold to Silversmith and in March 2012 they moved in and began the transformation into what you see today.
On Canada Day in 2012, Silversmith poured its doors and poured its first beer for the public. Various family members, friends and a handful of new employees worked the door, poured beers and collected cash. There were emergency runs to get change from the bank, an unthinkable amount of glass washing, and plenty of strategically-placed fans from Home Depot and Lowe’s to keep things “cool.” On tap was The Black Lager, Breakfast Wheat and an Imperial Stout. More than 1,500 thirsty and excited Virgilians ended up stopping by and it was an all-day, all-hands-on-deck experience to satiate thirst. Chris & Matt’s crazy dream had finally become a reality.
Since that hectic summer day, Silversmith has grown up quite a bit. We’ve expanded to stockists across the province, brewed countless new beers, added many employees to our beer family, and are now in the midst of an expansion that will see a dedicated event space and a doubling of the brewery’s capacity. Each day, however, still feels a bit like that first one – we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring great people together, to ferment fantastic ideas, and to build a community that values craft beer and one another. Here’s to many more years of great beer and even better vibes, Cheers!