And so it began…

The Stonehooker story began long ago, lasted some generations before it was history and today, forgotten. A home-grown industry that came and went, like the hundreds of brewers in Ontario who provided every community with the essential pints in that era. Concrete block and Prohibition ended these traditional livelihoods, leaving us with only a handful of breweries to control the industry. Ontario craft breweries have revived that industry with a link to a past history that valued independence, and dedication to a local, quality product. We’ve revived the Stonehooker history as we expect our beers to have a big personality just like they did.

So how did the Stonehooker Brewing Company come to be?

Our founder decided on a fresh start in a local business. Told that familiar line: Follow Your Passion! His first thought was beer and he stopped there. Ross loves beer. The bread of heaven. With no time to waste, Ross dug up his homebrewing recipes and bought a truckload of gear on Kijiji for $5,000, rented a space and madness began. The space was too big and Ross figured he’d be better off as a craft brewer. Craft brewery owners seemed like nice people and enjoyed sharing their own stories of how they got started, over delicious beer and food.

He discovered something very unique about the local history of Stonehooking. 19th-century Port Credit was a centre for stonehooking, with many employed in the trade and home port to the largest fleet of stonehookers on Lake Ontario, or anywhere. Some research yielded early photoraphs and stories that seemed to support the idea of these mariners having a fairly balanced lifestyle for their time; they were hard working day-sailors. Usually returning home daily, they would love a pint in the local tavern. Score one for beer and branding.

With this we have been inspired to carry on in the spirit of the stonehooker:
We laugh. A lot.
We work hard, we enjoy the fruits of our labours.
We embrace a challenge and stormy weather.
We have respect for all with whom we associate.
We take pride in what we do.

After some trials and tribulations with the brewery build and municipal red-tape that seemed to go on forever, Stonehooker is on the path to completion (although we know that breweries are never really complete). We are looking forward to opening our doors and inviting you into our taproom to enjoy some delicious beers and good old-fashioned Port Credit hospitality. Discover our brewery, here on Lakeshore on the outskirts of Port Credit. Relax, have fun, enjoy a cold one or a flight with some old friends or perhaps some new ones. Taste the difference a Stonehooker makes.

Remember, “When you’re down by the lake, drop in!”

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Captain of the Ship

Ross Noel

Chief of Moving Stuff Around, Project Managment Guru, Historian, Storyteller, Jack of all trades, Master of a few and Expert beer taster

Chief Mate

Adam Cherry

Brewmeister, Beer flight builder, Social media maniac, Website creator, Taproom chief, Marketing man

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Chief Administrator

Lisa Orenbach

Quartermaster, Headhunter, Bounty hunter, Rock slinger, Lover of IPA’s and Stouts

Purser

Jake Filteau

Financial guru, Spreadsheet jockey, Whip cracker, Lover of craft beer from the beginnings

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Stonehooker History

We get it! When we tell people that our name is Stonehooker Brewing Company, it raises a few eyebrows. So we follow it quickly with a brief history, and it goes something like this:

There was an industry that was very specific to Lake Ontario and it was booming in the mid-1800’s to the early 1900’s. Schooners sailed along Lake Ontario’s northern shoreline as the crew would hook stone out of the shallow waters and haul it up on to the boat. They would sail into Toronto and unload the stones at Queen’s Wharf at the base of Bathurst Street. The stone was used to construct foundations for buildings and as the base for roads. There was no concrete or cinder block back in those times, the technology did not exist. To make the most of their day, the schooners would usually load up with grains or manure for the return trip back to Port Credit.

The Captain of the ship and the schooner itself were called Stonehookers while the crew were called Hookermen. They worked hard, had a great sense of humour, were always ready to help their neighbours and enjoyed coming home to enjoy a well-deserved beer at the local tavern after a long day.

Port Credit, Bronte, Frenchman’s Bay and Oakville harbours were home to many Stonehookers.  In the pictures above, we have highlighted some of the ships and families that were central to the history of our brewery’s name.