We are honoured to be a recipient of Canada's Best Managed Companies this year. The 2023 award has a deeper meaning for our brewery as it is our 15th year receiving this award. With the twists, turns and pivots we've taken since we bottled our first beer in 2000 - there has been one thing that has kept us at the top of our game, and that is the people behind the beer we affectionately refer to as "The Good Beer Folks".
How The Brewery Developed Their Unique Workplace Culture
Walking around our brewery, you will meet many employees of all ages that have worked for us for a decade or longer, in fact a few of our original 16 employees are still working here. When recruiting, we look for a spark in every new hire, someone who wants to help us light the beer world on fire by independently brewing a beer in Canada that can compete with some of the best in the world - and have some fun while doing it.
Below we are sharing the secret sauce behind our success (other than the four all-natural ingredients).
Bottom's Up Leadership Style
Rather than top-down - we take a bottom's up approach to leadership, meaning everyone has a voice. Our CEO and Co-founder, Greg Taylor has an open door and can often be found cruising our production floor or front of house gathering feedback from staff on design, marketing, operating systems, and procedures. Some of our greatest innovations and solutions come from within. No one knows our beer better than the people working with it every day.
"Some of the brightest ideas at Steam Whistle have come about on our staff patio over a beer, much like the origin of Steam Whistle itself, when my partners and I were on a camping trip. It was around the campfire toasting our love of beer that the dream began", offers Greg Taylor.
Promoting from within
The nature of the alcohol industry attracts many lively hires, often first applying for a student job; a fun summer gig to get your feet wet in sales and marketing, delivering beer or working on the bottling line. For many new to Toronto, it comes with an additional perk, which is a built-in community - come for the pay cheque and stay for the band, book club or best friends you'll meet working here.
To help cultivate junior hires into longer tenured employees, our role as an organization is to discover and foster the unique strengths within these new staff members. For example, one might have a keen organizational sense that helps bring efficiency and order to our distribution fleet. In contrast, another might have the gift of empathy, turning customers into lifelong brand champions. We help to build long careers for people by seeking out these hidden talents and providing the mentorship and autonomy to flex these newly discovered muscles. No one understands the complexity of our business more than the people who have been along for the ride with us, so it's a win-win for all.
Our brewery operates smack dab in the economic hub of Canada, in the same neighbourhood as some of the country's top start-ups and tech incubators offering the siren song of gourmet lunches, nap pods and unlimited vacation days. Meaning, when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent - we need to think outside the beer box.
In 2009, we implemented several programs to incentivize loyalty amongst our staff. After five years at the brewery, you are treated to an all-expenses paid trip to Munich's Oktoberfest and to visit the birthplace of Pilsner; the Czech Republic. After 10 years at the brewery, you are given a paid sabbatical as a thank you for your service in building our dream.
There you have some of the secrets behind the success of Steam Whistle. If you're interested in becoming a 'Good Beer Folk' we are growing every day. Check out our careers page often for current work opportunities.
Posted on May 09 2023,