Graham Sherman

Graham Sherman

Owner, Tool Shed Brewing Company

Graham Sherman is a self-professed “high level geek” who has used his love of technology to help him master the craft of brewing artisan beer. Together with his partner, Graham launched the Tool Shed Brewery in 2013, and has never looked back. Speaking on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, Graham’s passion comes through in every talk.

Prior to starting Tool Shed, Graham and his Tool Shed partner worked on contracts for the Canadian and US governments and military forces, installing encrypted, tactical communication networks. By day, they rolled around Afghanistan in armoured vehicles, “geeking out” in the world of satellite communications. By night, they aimed their obsessive, high-level thinking at mastering everyday tasks such as coffee, learning to control their homes in Canada remotely with their iPhones, and finally, perfecting batches of beer.

Now sold in over 1000 locations in Western Canada, Tool Shed has its 15,000 square foot headquarters in Calgary, and the team behind the brand has also been nominated as Canadian Entrepreneur of the year, the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs, with programs in 145 cities in 60 countries. They were also named as two co-winners of the “40 Under 40” recognition from Avenue magazine.

Unleashing Your Disruptive Behaviour

The concept of “Disruptive Marketing” has become so buzz-wordy that we often mistake simply being “innovative” with being disrupting.

Truly standing out in a tough economy, against monster-sized competition requires the use of part of our brains we don’t often access. In fact, we’ve been taught to suppress our disruptive behaviour since childhood — but now it’s time to harness those powers of disruption for the benefit of successes as entrepreneurs.

Graham Sherman has been shaking things up since he worked on private-sector government and military contracts throughout Afghanistan, to when he began brewing beer and changing the game for small breweries across Alberta.

Tool Shed Brewing Company’s unique approach to disrupting the market has led to it being nominated for Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year; being named as Calgary’s “Top 40 under 40”; and the brewery’s position in the top five percent of breweries in North America.

After hearing Sherman’s story and insights, you’ll walk away incredibly inspired and with a clear path to unleashing your own disruptive behaviour to transform your business.

Igniting Your Passion as an Entrepreneur

The question of entrepreneurs being either born or made is irrelevant! The passion for the entrepreneurial journey is what’s important. This mindset begins simply as a spark, a business idea, a longing, a feeling. What follows next is often a lifetime of intense struggle, fear, sacrifice, and isolation. Why would ANYONE want a life of this?

With no money, no experience, and only four years after starting home brewing in his 8×10 back yard tool shed, Graham Sherman and his business partner, Jeff Orr, successfully transformed Tool Shed Brewing Company into a 15,000 square foot brewery. Sized in the top 5% of breweries North America wide, they sell their beer in over 1,000 locations.

Most importantly, however, was the complete entrepreneurial metamorphosis Sherman and Orr underwent as individuals, from their background working throughout Afghanistan on government and military IT infrastructure, to being nominated as “Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year”, as well as being named among Calgary’s “Top 40 under 40”.

The entrepreneurial passion in within us all simply needs to be ignited. Sherman explains how to get there, and what to do with the spark when it happens.

The Importance of Social Media when Building a Business

Why Collaboration Beats Competition

Since Graham Sherman and his business partner opened Tool Shed Brewing Company in 2013, they knew they wanted to do business differently. They didn’t want to just sell their beer, they wanted to elevate the craft beer industry in Alberta.

Four years later, not only do they have a 15,000 square foot headquarters in Calgary, sell their products in more than 1,000 locations across Canada, and compete with giants like Labatt and Molson, they’ve also helped create a budding, competitive, AND collaborative environment for craft beer to thrive in Alberta.

In this high-energy presentation, Sherman shares why adopting a collaborative approach with your competitors can actually be a healthier way to do business, leading to exponential growth and a loyal customer base.