Ottawa’s Craft Beer Market brews itself into Canadian’s Hearts

By William Scott with contributions from Darryl Bilodeau, MDK Business Law

Every country has its stereotypes—for many they are just caricatures based on pop culture portrayals handed down throughout the decades. However, for Canada one steadfast stereotype exists that holds true—our love for beer.

If you have ever traveled the globe, you will see the stereotype in all its glory—from the pubs in the Untied Kingdom, to the beaches of the Mayan Riviera, to the quaint café-style restaurants of Europe, in all cases you’ll find Canadians doing what they love to do—drinking beer.

And it’s that love of beer that has woven itself into our social fabric, one that we laugh about, take pride in, and practice at almost every event in our lives. So it’s no surprise that the national capital of Canada has embraced one of our most beloved pastimes, making it a part of our landscape—the craft brewery is literally growing by hops and bounds in the National Capital and, in turn, taking Canada by storm.

It seems that in almost every neighbourhood there is another brew pub serving unique flavours of beer, all brewed with ingenuity, determination, and the love of the craft. For instance, the ClockTower Pub has been a staple in the Glebe neighbourhood of Ottawa for 20 years—and because of its popularity the booming business has since opened multiple locations across the city, including Elgin Street, New Edinburgh, the Byward Market, and Westboro. And in every instance, the restaurant and its in-house brew has won the hearts and minds of many in those neighbourhoods.

Then, of course, there is the now famous Beau’s Beer located in Vankleek Hill. Opened in 2006, Beau’s boasts an all natural brewing process run by a close-knit, family and friends team. According to the folks at the brewery, they continually try to create real relationships with the people who buy their beer. As such, the brewery is open for tours seven days a week and when the Beau’s team has downtime, they quite often hang out in the retail store or visit a local restaurant to chat with customers at the bar. It’s this personalized approach that seems to be a constant in all craft brewers’ DNA—businesses based on a combination of great beverages paired with a unique social experience.

Speaking of social experience, that is exactly what newcomer to the Ottawa Beer Baron fold, Tooth and Nail Brewing Company, is doing. Its highly unique and beautifully rustic environment is built around the social aspects of pairing amazingly fresh beer with the “pull up a bar stool and relax” lifestyle. Matt Tweedy, Owner and Brewmaster, Tooth and Nail, explained, “The love of craft beer is directly related to intimacy that people have with the brewers, something that doesn’t exist with big beer companies. In our case, those who have come to love our beer know that Tooth and Nail is more than a logo, it’s a product that is brewed by people who love the art and who have the passion to create something amazing that people can really enjoy. It’s for this reason that we have also created an environment where people can come to spend time with their friends, and with us—a setting without pretence where the love of great beer truly comes alive.”

Despite the personal mantra of many of these local craft brewers, it does not mean that people can’t enjoy their favourite beer in the comfort of their own living room. In fact, the distribution channels in Ontario have recently opened up for small businesses, making their reach that much further.

Up until this past year, there were four channels through which Ontario craft brewers could sell their beer: direct sales to customers at their brewery, direct sales to local bars and restaurants, sales through the publicly owned LCBO, and sales through the foreign-owned Beer Store. However, in June this year the LCBO introduced a fourth sales channel allowing a chosen seventy Ontario grocery stores to sell Ontario craft beer and cider. The LCBO anticipates that the initiative will eventually be expanded to allow as many as three hundred grocery stores to sell beer and cider, and would include sales through both large chains and independent grocers.

The good news for our craft brewers—this latest LCBO initiative will undoubtedly continue to fuel the growth and demand for Ontario craft beer for the foreseeable future.

From: InvestCRE Magazine.

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