Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – From IT military and government work in Afghanistan to brewing beer with Alberta-grown barley, Tool Shed Brewing Graham Sherman’s story is unique.

Sherman was working on government and military infrastructure projects in Afghanistan for the Canadian and US military and government clients.

During his downtime, he would return to Canada and ‘nerd out’ on his hobbies.

“I fell in love with coffee, barbecue and with brewing beer and that’s the start of why I started brewing in my backyard toolshed,” recalls Sherman.

He adds that passion extended to bringing great people together, sharing great times and great stories over great food and drink.

That’s when he started asking himself whether he needed to go back to Afghanistan and whether this growing passion could translate into a full-time business.

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It was at this moment he decided to flip the switch and dive in head-first.

It was an exciting prospect for Sherman when he made the decision to start building up Tool Shed Brewing. However, that would soon change when he discovered that brewing under 500,000 litres of beer in Alberta was illegal.

So Sherman had to get creative.

“I got the license to be a beer importer, and then I took all this beautiful Alberta barley, and I exported it out of the province to British Columbia, and I drove out just outside of Vancouver.”

tool shed brewingHe says there’s a brewery that let him brew his beer in their facility.

“I brewed, and then I drove home, and I imported my own freaking beer back into the province.”

Eventually, he was able to prove to the provincial government that they needed to change the rules.

Sherman says one of the points that really sold it was the incredible barley that is grown in the region.

“Exporting barley out of the province so that you can brew it and then drive back home and import the beer back is so insane, but it was perfectly insane because it allowed me to use that as the platform on why I’m trying to do this is for the barley farmers and for the malt houses and promoting agriculture and economic diversity in our province.”

Sherman says the tremendous pride he took with Tool Shed Brewing is what farmers have to do more of.

He says screaming it from the mountaintop is the only way to get the message across.

“Canada is where you come for the best beer on Earth because this is where the best barley is grown.”

He adds that is the same with any crop, pointing to Alberta beef as a prime example of brand that has gotten it right.

“The world knows about Alberta beef, we got to do that for beer, we got to do that for lentils, and we got to do that for all these great crops.”

He hopes that is what the ag community is able to take away from his story.

“Taking pride in what we do to a point where we scream it to the rest of the world.”