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Eat & Drink

Amsterdam Brewery to move to Leaside, open brewpub

Posted by Ben Johnson / September 10, 2012

Amsterdam BreweryAs we mentioned a while back, Amsterdam Brewery will be moving at the end of the month. Today Amsterdam revealed that not only will they be relocating their brewing operations to an industrial park in Leaside, they'll also soon be opening a brewpub on the Toronto waterfront.

As of November 1, 2012, production of Amsterdam's beer will move to 45 Esandar Drive, just east of Laird Drive and south of Eglinton. Amsterdam has revealed that this new brewing space will feature a sampling facility with over ten beers on tap as well as a cutting edge retail experience replete with a 400 sq/ft glass wall to allow for a view directly into the brewing facilities. The space will also feature a 2000 sq/ft event space for dinners, brewing seminars weekly casking events and corporate bookings.

Amsterdam Brewery LeasideThe move wasn't just prompted by a foreseen lease-expiry, but also a need to expand production in response to increased demand for their products--not to mention their clear plans for wider distribution. "We can't make enough beer to keep bars in Toronto stocked," says Iain McOustra, Amsterdam Brewmaster, "so if we want to expand more in Ontario or other provinces, we need bigger capacity."

The move also means that some of Amsterdam's lesser-known beers are going to get some much-deserved exposure in the space's new retail area, a prospect that's got McOustra, who recently shifted his focus to working Amsterdam's pilot system to craft more experimental beers, very excited.

"It's going to be pretty badass," he says.

Increased capacity will allow McOustra to brew larger quantities of seasonal beers and one-offs, those Amsterdam beers that may not have enjoyed a very broad audience previously. "The goal is to always have some experimental beers in the new retail space. Always. So when you walk in you may be there to buy a six pack of Blonde, but now you'll probably grab one or two experimental beers too."

Some of those beers McOustra hopes will get a broader audience include those in his "Adventure Series" of brews. A series much-lauded by the city's beer fans that has thus far featured a Berliner Weisse, a Smoked Porter, a Pale Ale, a Barley Wine, and even a sour cherry Imperial Stout, to name just a few.

Amsterdam Brew Pub TorontoFollowing their move, in May of 2013, Amsterdam will also open a 900-seat restaurant and brewpub at 245 Queen's Quay West (near the Radisson Hotel) that will feature Amsterdam's specialty beers and a beer-inspired menu. The location will also function as the brewery's main retail outlet, offering Amsterdam's entire portfolio in every size. The brew pub will also host tastings, educational tours, beer dinners, special events, and what seems destined to become Toronto's best patio with a planned 300-person outdoor space directly on Lake Ontario. Details of the menu and management will be released sometime closer to opening.

The addition of a brewpub to Amsterdam's beer production echoes back to the company's past. Founded in 1986 as The Amsterdam Brasserie and Brewpub at 133 John Street, and followed shortly thereafter by The Rotterdam, a second brewpub location on King Street, one might say beer and food in the same place was part of the original concept for Amsterdam.

"We hope that through reflecting on our history and continuing our passion for authenticity, the brewpub will become a destination for the people of Toronto and it's visitors" says Jeff Carefoote, owner and operator of the Amsterdam Brewing Company.

Amsterdam BrewerySince moving into their current space at 21 Bathurst, the company's focus has been squarely on beer production, but they always knew the location was temporary.

"This is a space that we knew had a shelf life when we moved in," says McOustra, "We were always aware that we'd have to move at some point" he says, and with the move to Eglinton and Laird and the announced brewpub, obviously Amsterdam's got their sights set clearly on the future.

In addition to the increased focus on retail sales, a broader distribution, and the obvious draw of being one of the city's handful of brewpubs, McOustra is confident the new exposure for the more complex beers he's passionate about is going to help create a big boom in the company's future. "I think these beers are what's going to take Amsterdam to the next level," he says.

He's probably right, but a brewpub with a massive waterfront patio probably won't hurt either.

Photos by Paul Aihoshi. Renderings courtesy of Amsterdam



Rick / September 10, 2012 at 03:42 pm
Awesome news. Love a lot of their beers. Boneshaker IPA is my new go-to beer.
AKap / September 10, 2012 at 04:00 pm
Sad to see them move since it was walking distance from me but excited to hear about the new brewpub. TO is in dire need of credible waterfront patios. Excited!!
Syncros / September 10, 2012 at 04:08 pm
Eat your heart out Mill St. The brewpub they're building looks excellent. Much better use for that space than a Pawsway dog toy store.
Michelle / September 10, 2012 at 05:12 pm
Nice to have a decent drinking option other that the (absolutely wonderful, don't get me wrong) Granite Brewery in the area!
Johnny / September 10, 2012 at 05:18 pm
Sweet, this is minutes away from me!
oirew~ / September 10, 2012 at 06:56 pm
Welcome to the East Side!
Lorenzo / September 10, 2012 at 08:31 pm
Amsterdam is quite possibly the worst beer in the world! I'd rather drink toilet water.
Norm replying to a comment from Lorenzo / September 10, 2012 at 08:59 pm
There's a difference?
Spike replying to a comment from Lorenzo / September 10, 2012 at 09:00 pm
Right, I'll bet that you have. Are you sure that it wasn't a case of Labatts's that you drank?
Benoit / September 10, 2012 at 09:08 pm
So happy they are opening a nice brew pub on the central waterfront. The waterfront needs these high quality restaurants and bars for locals and tourists alike.
Thank you Amsterdam for this great move!
Benoit replying to a comment from Syncros / September 10, 2012 at 09:10 pm
By the way it's not replacing Pawsway but the Pier4 restaurant behind which is not a big loss ;)
Alison replying to a comment from Lorenzo / September 10, 2012 at 09:12 pm
You're an idiot. They make a lot of great beers. Go drink a Molson Canadian.
Man U. / September 10, 2012 at 09:20 pm
I live across the street from Amsterdam. I always used to laugh when I see a bunch of Toronto FC fans gathering at the brewery. Fans of the worlds worst soccer team, drinking the worlds worst beer.
Lorenzo / September 10, 2012 at 09:41 pm
No thanks i'll drink my Heinekin. Sorry hipsters you wouldn't be interested since its not "local" enough for you.
SW / September 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm
You mean the crappy pub Wallamaguffingoogle's across the street is closing and a GOOD pub is going in there?! Yeaaaaaaaaaah!!
Hipster replying to a comment from Lorenzo / September 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm
Oh man you are a beer expert. Sorry, I didn't realize you drank Heineken, sir. That's a great company that's passionate about making interesting small batch beers for knowledgeable beer consumers.
Spike replying to a comment from Lorenzo / September 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm
At least Heine's not made by (or owned by) the 2 big conglomerate that make beer (ABInBev, Molson Coors/SAB Miller) but it's still the same commercially brewed stuff from abroad that's as boring as dishwater.
jeremy / September 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm
I'm not quite seeing the correlation between wanting to drink excellent, local craft beer and being a hipster? I think that you'd find that the majority of people who drink craft beer are just those looking for beer with a unique flavour profile or something completely out of the ordinary. That said, Heineken is a great beer as well.

I've never really understood the animosity that some people have towards other's beer preferences - can't we all just rejoice in the fact that beer exists and raise a glass together?
Hipster / September 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm
user-pic least Heineken's not a big corporation...

From wikipedia:
"Heineken owns over 125 breweries in more than 70 countries and employs approximately 66,000 people. It brews and sells more than 170 international premium, regional, local and specialty beers, including Cruzcampo, Tiger Beer, ┼╗ywiec, Starobrno, Zagorka, Birra Moretti, Ochota, Murphy’s, Star and of course Heineken Pilsener."
Gabe / September 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm
NO WAY!!! Are they moving out of the downtown location? Bathurst and Queens Qway? Thats a holiday hotspot!!! Always open!!! We need this!!!! DONT MOVE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kensington replying to a comment from Lorenzo / September 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm
Lorenzo you sound like a douchebag greaseball poser who hangs out on college street who thinks he's a "big shot" because he buys overpriced beer. I can smell your over sprayed cologne over here at home.
Sean / September 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm
Steam Whistle Brewery will have competition with Amsterdam.
Steve / September 11, 2012 at 12:47 am
I agree with Lorenzo... Amsterdam is not good beer.

Speaking of terrible, this story... a word-for-word re-type of a press release, no? Corporate shill.
Ben replying to a comment from Steve / September 11, 2012 at 07:37 am
Thanks for your constructive feedback, Steve. The fact is this story was the result of a series of interviews with Amsterdam's Brewmaster and conversations with their media representatives. I actually went to Amsterdam and chatted with people and drank their beer to gather this information.

And yes, it is supplemented by a press release that came out yesterday (available here, if you like:, but the information it includes is not available elsewhere and I'd suggest that most people didn't receive Amsterdam's press release in their inbox so I'm sharing info they wouldn't otherwise get--as most media outlets do. I'd venture that more than a few "news" stories are supplemented by official press releases--how better to get the facts?

Furthermore, I assure you I shill for no corporation. I have no financial ties to any brewer aside from the odd free beer and it would certainly be a stretch to call blogTO a corporation--and they don't exactly make me rich for the beer writing I do for them. I do this because I like writing and I like beer.

Thanks again for your comment.
Mick replying to a comment from Ben / September 11, 2012 at 08:32 am

Good for you for standing up for your work. I for one enjoyed the article.


Ben S / September 11, 2012 at 08:33 am
Amsterdam has made some really god awful beer in the past, but they are turning a new leaf. Iain McOustra has been pumping some of the best beer in Toronto from what I assume is the pilot system. It sounds to me like they are doubling down on GOOD craft beer, which is good for everybody.
Jenn replying to a comment from Lorenzo / September 11, 2012 at 08:52 am
You cant be this dumb...can you? Go check out the Molson-Coors website

Your beer is a partnered brand of the Molson Coors Portfolio. ... which means they distribute,market, and sale it in North America.

Amsterdam is a great story..... they're one of the only independent breweries around. Even mill st. has a bunch of random investors. Their Blonde lager is not going to win any awards... but its fresh, light and fairly inexpensive.... what more can you want from a lager???? But Boneshaker is probably the best IPA iv ever had. But from a guy whose 'go to beer' is Heiniken....its probably to strong for you.

I know a few of people who work at amsterdam.... they had the option the move the brewery to much cheaper facility in scarborough or whitby. But they chose to stay in Toronto cuz thats their roots, they employ a bunch of torontonians, and now it looks like they will have an unreal patio overlooking the lake? Pretty excited for them

Chris / September 11, 2012 at 09:21 am
Glad to hear they found a brewing space located in the city, but sad to hear they're taking over that same cursed location that the Bamboo tried, and failed, to turn into a destination. I hope that the residential development of the waterfront gives them the foot traffic they'll need.

Also, Growlers! Growlers! Growlers!
ashleigh / September 11, 2012 at 10:17 am
A mildly different take...

Locating in Leaside at Laird and Eglinton will become a reasonably accessible location via the Eglinton crosstown LRT-subway whenever it opens. Drinking yes, driving no. Perhaps an early sign that this area won't continue to be victim of the bigbox stores with hectares of parking lot.
Mike replying to a comment from Lorenzo / September 11, 2012 at 01:23 pm
I actually think they brew it with toilet water. Most of these people must have shottie taste buds.
Rob / September 11, 2012 at 01:25 pm
I am glad to hear they are getting back in the bar and restaurant game....I miss the old Amsterdam! I was sad when they went to brewing only. I hope they can reclaim the magic of the...ahem...80's & 90's...
metric / September 11, 2012 at 01:45 pm
I was once told by the guy doing the brewery tours that Amsterdam's main ambition in life was to get bought out by one of the big breweries.
Greg / September 11, 2012 at 03:08 pm
Awesome news! Can't wait.
jessica replying to a comment from metric / September 11, 2012 at 06:12 pm
No that would be Mill St. I used to work with amsterdam.... Say what you want about the beer... even though I love the Blonde and Big Wheel. But one thing I can tell you is Jeff (the owner) not a sell out!

Do you realize that when amsterdam first started off they were only 3 micro brewers at the time in Toronto.... amsterdam, creemore and upper canada. Creemore bought by molson, upper canada sold out to Sleeman. Amsterdam said no thanks to Labatt.

I respect that!
metric replying to a comment from jessica / September 11, 2012 at 06:21 pm
I am 100% certain it was the Amsterdam brewery where the guy giving the tours said they were biding time until they got bought out - not to the entire group but to me on the side. This was about 3 years ago.
Keep dreaming replying to a comment from jessica / September 11, 2012 at 06:33 pm
I call BS. Nobody would buy out this crap!
Jason replying to a comment from Lorenzo / September 11, 2012 at 06:48 pm
Sounds like you already do drink toilet water, if you think Amsterdam is shit... enjoy drinking your watered down piss water you corporate sellout!
Danny replying to a comment from metric / September 12, 2012 at 12:02 am
A local business thats been in the city for over 20 years, is upping their game, offering something new and investing in Toronto. How can anyone have anything negative to say?

Cant wait to have a beer or two on their new patio

I will never support the Corporate bullies that buy up smaller breweries only monopolize the market. cough molson...cough labbatt...cough mooshead. cough sleeman.

I used to like the standard beers like stella, ketihs, coors, pilsner urkell, corona, mgd, strongbow etc.. etc... then i find out that basically every single "non craft brand" is owned or affiliated by one of molson, sleeman, labatt and moosehead.

Keep it local gang!

Spike replying to a comment from Danny / September 12, 2012 at 01:18 am
'I used to like the standard beers like stella, ketihs, coors, pilsner urkell, corona, mgd, strongbow etc.. etc... then i find out that basically every single "non craft brand" is owned or affiliated by one of molson, sleeman, labatt and moosehead.'

One smart man who knows what's what, just like I did when I found out the truth. Good thing, Danny.

BTW, here's a refresher on what Danny's talking about:

Mockba / September 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm
The argument here seems to be that because Amsterdam is local, therefore we should support it. Rob Ford is local too.

I drink all kinds of beer. Sometimes I'm in the mood for Heineken or Sapporo or Labatt 50 and other times I'll have Hogtown or (my favourite) Beau's Lugtread, but I've never had anything from Amsterdam I liked.
Spike replying to a comment from Mockba / September 17, 2012 at 02:55 pm
One is good, the other is crap? At least with Amsterdam, you're getting a consistent quality product and not junk, unlike Rob Ford and what he does as mayor.
FYI replying to a comment from Mockba / September 19, 2012 at 07:05 am
You don't actually drink "all kinds of beer" at all. Heineken, Sapporo, 50, Hogtown, and Beau's are all essentially the same style of beer (roughly)--easy drinking and not very interesting.

The argument that you should support small, local businesses is clearly very different than supporting every human who lives near you.

You should probably just stop talking.
Leasider / September 28, 2012 at 01:45 pm
Thanks to the blog for sharing this news. As a Leasider, i am thrilled to see some genuinely interesting development going on in the previously-abandoned warehouses east of Laird. First the Longos store in the old Ontario Northern building. And now the Amsterdam. It was one of my favourite watering holes back soon after it opened on John Street...and i'd like to try it out again.
ja / December 16, 2012 at 12:07 am
Isnt the new pub just going to be the old pier 4 with a new name?
I think I would rather go to the queens quay beer store, grab a can and drink at H2O park.
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