Original Founders

An impending closure spelled the end of an era and the loss of jobs for 40 employees.

But 16 men risked it all to start their own brewery. It took courage and a lot of nerve, but the Original founders stood up to take matters into their own hands.


Chapter 1: "The Merger"

A feeling of uneasiness people have when they're faced with an unknown outcome. Play


Chapter 2 - "Brewery Closure Announced"

Even the best of us have felt fear on more than one occasion. It’s the unpleasant feeling when you know that something is a threat or likely to cause pain. Play


Chapter 3 - "A Dream is Born"

After months of unsuccessfully finding a white knight to come in and save their jobs and the brewery, hope came from the most unlikely of places … from themselves. Play


Chapter 4 - "The Original 16"

With the dream of saving their jobs and keeping the brewery open as a real option, the employees began to really work through the challenges and opportunities of making this happen. Play


Chapter 5 - "Risking Everything"

Now that they were committed as a group, the 16 Original Founders each had to come to terms with their pending investment to save their brewery. Play


Chapter 6 - "Signing the Papers"

It all became very real for the Original 16 in January of 1990. With the transaction complete and keys handed over, the employee group who had formed the Great Western Brewing Company, became the new owners of the brewery. Play


Chapter 7 - "Genuine Support"

Part of what makes the story of the Original 16 so interesting, is that each of the 16 were backed by many people … their friends, their families, their neighbours. Play


Chapter 8 - "It's a Beer!"

After months of agonizing over the potential closure of their brewery to the excitement of their pending purchase, perhaps the most proud day was when the first brew was ready and the first bottle came off the line. Play


Chapter 9 - "Initial Success"

With a great new beer now in the local market, the Great Western Brewing Company enjoyed considerable success right out of the gate. Play


Chapter 10 - "Reality Sets In"

The runaway success wouldn’t go unnoticed however, and it wasn’t long before some of the industry’s biggest players felt it was time to snuff out some of the glow Great Western was enjoying. Play


Chapter 11 - "Fighting Back"

Faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, the team dug in with heart. Once again, they found themselves depending on one another. Play


Chapter 12 - "Committed to Quality"

It took some years, but eventually the team at Great Western Brewing Company received public validation for all the years of hard work. Play


Chapter 13 - "Proudly Independent"

Employee founded and proudly independent to this day, everyone on the team at Great Western Brewing Company is accountable to themselves, their coworkers, and most importantly, they’re accountable to Western Canadian beer drinkers. Play


Chapter 14 - "More Than a Beer"

Healthy market share, numerous international brewing awards and accolades, as well as recognition from industry peers all were well received by the Original Founders and the team at Great Western Brewing Company. Play


Chapter 15 - "A New Premium Beer is Coming"

Some beers have a story. This one has a legend. So it’s no wonder when plans were made to develop a new premium Canadian Pale Ale, Great Western Brewing Company did it in the most genuine and authentic way possible. Play


Chapter 16 - "It's Beer Time"

For some, the creation of Original 16 Canadian Pale Ale is a tribute to the shared risk that 16 people and their families took many years ago. Play