Merit Brewing to open in downtown Hamilton

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In some very exciting news this morning, we learned that Merit Brewing, the brainchild of Tej Sandhu, Jesse Vallins and Aaron Spinney (former Sawdust City brewer) has been formally announced, with it’s location at 107 James St. North.  Congratulations to Bottomless Pint friend Tej and his team!

Check out the text of the full release below!


It’s not often you get to build your dream alongside other talented professionals that you also call friends. MERIT Brewing Company is the realization of that dream for Tej Sandhu, Aaron Spinney, and Jesse Vallins.

MERIT will operate out of 107 James St. North, which will be home to an expansive taproom serving 14 rotating offerings brewed in-house by Aaron (formerly Head Brewer, Sawdust City Brewery), a kitchen directed by Jesse (Executive Chef, Maple Leaf Tavern) that is focused on sausage and beer-friendly bites, a rear patio, and a retail store that will have beer available to-go in 500ml bottles and 2L growlers. “The downtown brewpub is a homecoming of sorts for Tej and I” says Aaron, who met Tej while studying marketing at Mohawk College during Tej’s studies at McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business. After graduation, Aaron went on to excel as a brewer at some of Canada’s most well recognized breweries after completing the initial class of Niagara College’s brewing program (2010), and Tej continued to further his career in the music industry.

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They bonded over the exploration of craft beer, love of cooking, and excitement about the growth of Hamilton. “Since food is such an important part of the enjoyment of beer for us, when we had the idea to start MERIT we knew we wanted to find another partner who saw the importance in the connection” says Tej. Through some mutual friends, the pair met Jesse and knew he would be able to provide the same creative spark with MERIT’s food as they would with the beer and business. “It’s very exciting to be involved with a project like this. Beer and sausage are a tried and true combo, and two of my biggest passions in life. I’m really looking forward to working with classic pairings, but also delivering the unexpected.” says Jesse, who will remain at Maple Leaf Tavern while playing an active role in developing MERIT’s recipes and food business.

Built on the shared passion for growing community, the trio sees MERIT as their way to support and drive creativity in the city. Tej adds, “We’re excited to join the likeminded community of young entrepreneurs that have been leading the re-development of the downtown core, and to further Hamilton’s artistic growth through beer and food!” Aaron continues, “Much like the artists in the city, we want to push boundaries, expand people’s horizons, and to create genuine art in a glass.”

While an opening date is not yet set, the team is working hard to open its doors to the community soon.

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