"I think it gets a little exaggerated,” says Jason Fisher, founder of Indie Alehouse. He’s talking about the Birroteca backstory – but when he gets into specifics on how his unwavering persistence ultimately landed him the in-house brewery at Eataly, I can’t help but wonder if he might be downplaying it.
“It was overwhelmingly amazing,” says Fisher of visiting Eataly in New York in 2012. A year later he started emailing (“I was stalking”) Eataly’s CEO, Nicola Farinetti and asking how he could become a partner.
“You’re gonna be at the wine festival? I’m gonna be at the wine festival,” he jokes.
Fisher’s hard work finally paid off when Eataly Toronto opened its doors at the end of 2019, with a beautiful downstairs brewery that connects to the Manulife Centre.
Despite the all-out experience that Eataly can be, regulars are finding their way back to the bar, which works well since they have new beers every couple of days.
Birroteca isn’t limited by the small size of their operation – in fact, they are able to offer a wide variety of beer. However, volume is a little harder to predict, as some of their beers will sit and age for a couple of months while others will sell out quickly.
“It’s almost not worth predicting,” says Fisher, who opened the original Indie outpost in the Junction in 2012. “It’s better to just make the beers that you want to make.”
The plan is to make “crazier,” high-end beers six to eight times a year and collaborate with other brewers from Italy, the U.S. and Canada. Perhaps the biggest adventure though was making a dry-hopped Pilsner – their first deviation from ale in seven years – to pair with all that pizza and pasta, which will remain a staple for Birroteca.
“Beer isn’t considered Italian, but their craft brew scene is world class,” he says.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Birroteca bottleshop and Eataly's Market are open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.