Ontario Brewer Podcast

Since 2010, I have been preparing and hosting the Ontario Brewer Podcast series for the Ontario Craft Brewers Association. These podcast feature interviews with Ontario brewers on a range of different topics.

Beer News & Updates

Sign up to receive the latest Beerology™ news and to find out about upcoming tastings, workshops and classes.

Contact: tastings@beerology.ca

You know what we need?

Posted November 25, 2011 | 8:25 pm, by Mirella

This has been on my mind for a while and I was reminded about it today whenI came across this news about Beau’s BYBO program being shut down…

We need a national craft brewer’s association in Canada. It’s time. Craft breweries in various provinces are gaining momentum and growing fast. What isn’t growing and changing along with the craft breweries is our distribution legislation. Legislation like the one that is preventing Beau’s from implementing the BYBO program, legislation that limits inter-provincial distribution, legislation that prevents beer from being shipped in the mail. We need an association which, like the American BA, lobbies for changes in legislature that take into account the fact that our brewing scene and the players within it are vastly different than they were when these legislations were first put in place.

Beau’s was shut down because what they were trying to do was not legal. I’m guessing that the fine folk at Beau’s must have had an inkling that this might happen. I’m not saying that what they were trying to do should be legal necessarily, because I’m not exactly sure why the regulation in question was put in place. I am, however, saying that our distribution laws should be re-examined to make sure that they allow for a fair playing field. There are a number of distribution laws (and I’m sure there are all kinds of other regulations) that are putting small brewers at a disadvantage and, in the absence of a lobbying group, breweries are constrained to take initiatives like these and hope that no one will notice / care.

Just like the first wave of movers & shakers took charge in the 1980s and pushed for changes in legislation that would allow small breweries to exist, we now need movers and shakers to push for changes that will allow these small breweries to continue to grow.

I wish I could propose a quick and easy way to make this happen, but instead all I can do right now is raise the issue. Maybe this kind of thing is already in the works (I hope so.) One thing I do know: when the industry decides to mobilize, our friends at the American BA will be a great resource. I just saw Pete Johnson speak at a conference in Québec and he was full of helpful advice and information. Maybe it’s time we started a dialogue…




  1. Thing is, Mirella, the amount of legislation governing alcohol in this country that falls under the auspices of the feds is next to nothing. So other than bringing together craft breweries from coast to coast, and maybe helping to turn Volo’s Cask Days into a massive national festival and the CBAs into the equivalent of the GABF awards — both of which seem to be happening on their own — there’s not much a national craft brewing organization could do. Hell, even the BAC has minimal national impact, and only seven staff members!

    The better route, IMO, would be to first strengthen the provincial craft brewers associations. Talk to a BC brewer sometime about how they envy the structure and strength of the OCB!

    Comment by Stephen Beaumont on November 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm

  2. Interesting. The OCB is definitely doing fantastic work. I see your perspective but feel like a dedicated group that brought together all of these associations would be helpful or, perhaps, at the very least an annual meeting to share tactics and goals and see if there’s anything that the provinces can work on together…
    By the way, I’m pretty sure that the US BA lobbies agains state-specific laws as well as federal ones.

    Comment by Mirella on November 29, 2011 at 3:28 pm

  3. Until somehow the monopoly that the LCBO/Beer Store has here in Ontario is broken, I see little hope for positive resolution of this problem. The system is rooted in a 70-80 year-old Prohibitionist attitude that alcohol needs to be closely regulated (the “Control” in the LCBO). It has far outlived its original intent and has instead become an extremely entrenched bureaucracy that perpetuates itself. I don’t see them going gently into the good night without a major battle. Their pockets are deep and their will unbent. They are also allied with an industry (the major brewers, wineries and distillers) that benefits from the current situation.

    Comment by Bill Pierce on December 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Leave a Comment

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

By submitting a comment you grant Beerology | Craft Beer and Sensory Consulting a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate and irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin’s discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.