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Our Story

CRAFT Beer Market is a premium casual restaurant with a passion for fresh local food and great craft beer. Launched in Calgary in 2011, the CRAFT movement has been spreading ever since, bringing our special recipe of sophisticated comfort food, unique craft beers and active community involvement to new cities every year. 

Read on to learn more.

CRAFT Founder PJ L’Heureux has long been interested in beer. At the age of 18, he started brewing his own beer at his parents’ house. Much to the delight of his folks, that venture never took off. But his passion for beer continued to blossom.

A trip to Portland, Oregon – the craft beer capital of America – gave PJ a glimpse of the emerging shift toward craft brewing and local food. He envisioned creating a place where people could enjoy fresh local food and beers from all over the world under one roof. And so the idea for CRAFT Beer Market was born.

After working on the concept for a year, PJ approached his childhood friends John Liwag and Rob Swiderski about joining forces to make it happen. The three of them got to work, honing the idea, assembling a great team, and securing a perfect location in Calgary’s historic Beltline. CRAFT Calgary launched in 2011 and was an instant hit.

CRAFT has since expanded to Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa, with more locations on the way. As it happens, people everywhere love to enjoy great food and drinks in a welcoming environment (big surprise!) – and we’re passionate about delivering just that.

CRAFT Leaders

PJ L’Heureux, Founder & President

From a young age PJ has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. At the age of 16 he started a DJ service which he grew to include concert and nightclub promotion and opened two of his own night clubs all before the age of 25. For the past 22 years he has continued to be a leader in some of Calgary’s most exciting food and entertainment venues.

PJ’s passion for craft beer goes back to his first attempts at home brewing when he was 18 years old. He quickly found out that brewing beer wasn’t for him but that serving it was. Through his travels and relationships with brewers across the globe, PJ realized that a concept like CRAFT Beer Market could truly change the way people think about restaurants.

His passion for the craft beer movement and community is evident in everything he does. He loves the small business model and the ability to have a positive impact in the communities where he opens his restaurants. PJ’s family values and belief in community involvement run deep through the entire CRAFT concept and he would have it no other way. The biggest excitement he gets about opening in new markets is getting to know the local breweries and farms that he can partner and connect with in the community.

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Beer Recommendations: Deschutes Mirror Pond, Cascade Vintage Gose, Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

CRAFT Crew

We couldn’t do what we do without an amazing team. These are the people that guide the CRAFT ship.

AJ Park, General Manager

AJ joined CRAFT as one of the first members of the Toronto team. Originally from Peterborough Ontario, AJ's parents ran their family owned coffee shop throughout his childhood, and he developed an early love for hospitality. Once moved to the big city, AJ cut his his teeth in the restaurant business at the Keg, then moved to the Bier Markt, where he developed his love of beer, as well as his skills as a corporate trainer and restaurant opener. After a chance meeting with the CRAFT owners in Germany, AJ reconnected with PJ 4 years later, joining the team as Bar Manager, Regional Beverage Manager and now GM of the Toronto location. AJ believes building strong relationships is the key to success. When not steering the ship at CRAFT, AJ can be found watching professional sports, and spending time with best fur-buddy Jasper.

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Beer Recommendations: Fairweather Home Free Sour IPA, Blood Brother’s Orthus Hazy IPA, Godspeed Ochame Green Tea IPA

Jacob Metcalf, Executive Chef

Jacob was born and raised in Cobourg Ontario. Working at a mom and pop burger shop through high school, Jacob very quickly realized his passion for food. He also knew early on he wanted to leave small town life behind, and started his culinary education at Fanshaw College. After working for a year under one of his professors, Jacob headed to big city Vancouver, working in several seafood and fine dining restaurants. 10 years later Jacob joined the CRAFT family and excelled as a sous chef. An original member of the Toronto opening team, Jacob has progressed to the position of Executive Chef. In his spare time, Jacob loves working on his Ford Focus RS, and spending time with his growing family.

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Beer Recommendations: Partake IPA, Erdinger Alkoholfrei

Community

CRAFT isn’t just a place where people go to have a beer and a bite. We are actively involved in our community and, like a good neighbour, we try to make positive contributions wherever possible. We have partnerships with several organizations doing great work in Toronto.

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St. Vincent de Paul Society

Over the holiday season we challenge our staff to donate funds to provide groceries, clothing and gifts for families in need. We then match their donations. Since 2011, we’ve raised over $70,000 for this program across Canada. Check out some of the amazing work our team did in 2014: CRAFT Cares - Christmas 2014.

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Mealshare

Buy one, give one - it's that simple! For each Mealshare menu item purchased, one meal will also be provided to someone in need. Half the meals provided stay right here in our city while the other half are provided internationally. We are proud to be partnered with Mealshare, a non-profit dedicated to fighting hunger throughout Canada and around the world.

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Broiler Chicken Welfare

We are proud to have worked with Mercy For Animals on the adoption of the Better Chicken Commitment. As such, CRAFT is committed to working with our suppliers and others in the food industry to, by 2024, align with broiler chicken welfare standards established by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) for 100% of our chicken. These GAP standards include a transition to breeds that have improved welfare outcomes, reduction in maximum stocking density to provide more space for birds per GAP standards, and improvements in growing environment for birds – including litter, lighting and enrichment. We will also ensure they are processed using a humane, multi-step controlled-atmosphere system. We will demonstrate compliance with all standards via third-party auditing.

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Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto

Once a month, our team members volunteer with the Home For Dinner program at Ronald McDonald House where they cook up a delicious dinner for families and children. We also donate $1 from the sale of every CRAFT branded glass to this great organization.

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TOMS Shoes

We encourage our team to wear TOMS shoes as part of their dress code. Under TOMS’ “One-for-One” program, for every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is donated to a child in need. To date our staff has helped donate over 2000 pairs of shoes!

Sustainability

We believe that environmental and economic sustainability go hand in hand. From composting and recycling to clean energy and green tableware, we pursue a variety of earth-friendly initiatives as part of our sustainability program.

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LEAF Certified

We are the largest LEAF-certified restaurant in Canada. LEAF, which stands for Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice, is an independent body that measures restaurant sustainability.

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Broiler Chicken Welfare

We are proud to have worked with Mercy For Animals on the adoption of the Better Chicken Commitment. As such, CRAFT is committed to working with our suppliers and others in the food industry to, by 2024, align with broiler chicken welfare standards established by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) for 100% of our chicken. These GAP standards include a transition to breeds that have improved welfare outcomes, reduction in maximum stocking density to provide more space for birds per GAP standards, and improvements in growing environment for birds – including litter, lighting and enrichment. We will also ensure they are processed using a humane, multi-step controlled-atmosphere system. We will demonstrate compliance with all standards via third-party auditing.

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Ocean Wise™

Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ program educates and empowers people to make sustainable seafood choices. We support the health of our oceans by serving certified sustainable seafood and donating $1 of every Vivreau and Q Water sold to the program.

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Vivreau & Q Water

This system, which supplies still and sparkling water in reusable glass bottles, eliminates regular deliveries, disposal and packaging while conserving energy. $1 from each bottle sold goes to Ocean Wise.

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Dress Code

Our team uniform includes Levi’s waterless technology jeans, chosen specifically because the manufacturing process saves tens of thousands of gallons of water every year.

Think Global, Support Local

We use local or regional products whenever possible to minimize our environmental impact and help support businesses in our community.


Waste Management

Every year, our composting and recycling program diverts thousands of kilograms of garbage from the landfill. We also use biodegradable to-go containers, napkins and other paper products.

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