In 2019 we found ourselves at a crossroads; we had been brewing over capacity for 4 years at our Bloor St. brewery and needed to expand so we could make enough beer to keep up with the demand. We had two options: move out of the city where space was more affordable and convenient for a la(r)ger brewery, or do the hard thing and build a production facility in downtown Toronto. We did the hard thing.
The stars aligned and we found the perfect spot in Kensington Market - the old SASMART building. Construction was a two-year process, and we took a lot of photos throughout. Read through this post and check out some of our favourite behind-the-scenes moments.
The old SASMART building is an amazing building. It has ample square footage (6000 sq. ft.), tall ceilings (24’), great natural light, and is situated right on a park in one of our favourite neighborhoods in the city – exactly where we wanted to put our second brewery.
Construction started in early 2021. We took out a large section of the first floor to accommodate taller fermenters, updated all the utilities and replaced the glass with more energy efficient glass. We changed the SASMART sign to say BREWERY and did our best to preserve the historical feel of the facade. Matching the sign font was tricky – we found a similar font and did some manual adjustments to the letters to make it feel the same (the “R” was the hardest).
We rigged the brewing tanks into the building on July 12th, 2022. The equipment was all manufactured in Abbotsford, BC by König Brewing Systems and was trucked across the country on flatbed trucks. Because some of the tanks are so tall (22 ft.), we had to crane them in through the roof. We decided to put a 12’ x 12’ skylight in to cover the hole we needed to fit the tanks through. As a result, the retail store has some of the best natural light in the city aside from Allan Gardens.
The brewhouse is a 3-vessel brewhouse with a dedicated mash tun, lauter tun and combined kettle/whirlpool, with a sizeable hop back for using fresh hops. This brewhouse has capabilities that our current system does not allow for, like decoction mashing that will help us make more European-style lagers.
We have 10 fermenters and 2 brite tanks which gives us enough capacity to grow into 4-5 times as much beer as we make now per year, with ~40-50% of that being lager.
With this new state-of-the-art brewhouse, our plan is to make more, better beer. 6 Denison Square will be our flagship production site, where you can come and see beer being made for yourself. With the extra tank time capacity at Denison, you’ll see us make a lot more (and different kinds) of lager. We’ll also be using more whole leaf hops in our giant new hop back. Whole leaf hops give a beautiful fresh & herbaceous flavour to beer that we really like.
We’ll still brew (lots) of beer at our original Bloor Street brewery, but we will focus more on experimental beers, small batch beers, and recipe development there. The restaurant, music hall and bottle shop will operate the same as always!
This new Kensington location will have a (big and glorious) beer shop and market with a broad selection of food and goodies from our favourite local producers.
Come see us!
We couldn’t be happier to be brewing beer in Kensington Market. We love Toronto, we love downtown, and we’re excited to be able to continue our beer making journey in the heart of the city. We’ll be making a lot of great beer on Denison Square for decades to come, so swing by and say hi whenever you’re in the market!
Burdock Kensington Market
Brewery & Bottle Shop
Open daily 11am to 11pm
6 Denison Square, Toronto