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An “all or nothing” approach to craft brewing

Eric Dornan, co-founder of All or Nothing Brewhouse, has maintained a strong connection with Seneca. He recently addressed more than 100 HELIX students at a forum on entrepreneurship.

“We are one of the few who currently make commericallyavailable meads in Canada.”

Eric Dornan
All or Nothing Brewhouse

ERIC DORNAN’S NICKNAME SHOULD BE “24-7.” That’s how dedicated he is to his latest venture, All or Nothing Brewhouse. This graduate of Seneca’s Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management program has venture capitalism in his blood and a relentless drive to succeed.

In two short years, Eric, along with his brother, Jeff, have established the All or Nothing brand as a unique, locally brewed Hopfenweisse wheat beer, which is now distributed across Ontario at 550 locations.

The two recently expanded All or Nothing with the purchase of Oakville-based Trafalgar Ales & Meads, Black Creek Historic Brewery and Trafalgar Artisanal Distillery. These acquisitions have grown the brewhouse’s offerings to include ciders, meads and even craft distilled spirits. These unique products—especially the meads—help to differentiate All or Nothing in a very competitive craft beer market.

“We are one of the few who currently make commercially available meads in Canada,” says Eric. “It’s a kind of honey wine that in medieval times was a luxury for royalty because honey was really hard to source. We feel it is an enormous opportunity for us and look forward to introducing more varieties to the public.”

Eric has brought an “all or nothing” mentality to this venture, as he has done to past projects, including a sales and marketing agency called 3D Business Solutions. Beer production appealed to him because, unlike most sales, the product is produced locally and regulated so that every business is on a level playing field.

While sales came naturally through Eric’s dad’s work as an entrepreneur, Eric had to learn the beer business from scratch. He obtained certification as a master beer sommelier, travelled to Germany and Belgium to observe the world’s best breweries and joined the Ontario Brewers Association to have a voice within the industry.

The next steps for All or Nothing include consolidating all of its properties under one roof (Oshawa and Oakville aren’t exactly within shouting distance), installing a canning line and getting inventory into Ontario grocery stores. The coming months will be critical, and Eric is up to the challenge.

“I don’t have time for anything else, not even a social life,” says Eric. “We don’t know what the future will hold. We do know the next few years will be quite an adventure.”

Learn more about these homegrown Seneca businesses at and

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