Raise a Glass to Ontario Craft Beer Week 2015
Festival Celebrates 50 Local Breweries Across Ontario
Ontario Craft Beer Week, a 10-day provincewide festival celebrating over 50 local breweries, will hold a number of events across the province this weekend, including brunches, boat cruises and barbecues.
Premier Kathleen Wynne visited the Walkerville Brewery in Windsor today, where she praised the craft beer industry for its contributions to Ontario's economy and culture. She also reaffirmed the government's commitment to supporting the industry and modernizing Ontario's beer retailing and distribution system.
New measures include opening up ownership in the network of Beer Stores to all Ontario beer makers, creating a new craft category to better profile craft beer in the Beer Store, and requiring the Beer Store to devote a minimum of 20 per cent of available shelf space to small brewers.
Starting this December, beer sales will be available in some grocery stores, and will eventually be expanded to up to 450 grocery store locations across the province, giving Ontarians more convenience and choice while maintaining a strong commitment to social responsibility. The government will mandate that the sale of alcohol be restricted to set hours of operation, in cordoned-off sections designated for beer retail. The government will also ensure that staff members are suitably trained to sell beer to the public. All new private retailers will be required to support the sale of small brewers' products.
These measures represent the most significant changes to the province's alcohol retailing sector in nearly 90 years.
Creating new opportunities for Ontario's thriving craft beer industry is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- Ontario is entering into a new 10-year framework with the Beer Store that will help strengthen the position of small and craft breweries across the province.
- Ontario Craft Beer Week, which began on June 12 and ends June 21, features more than 200 craft beer-themed grassroots events throughout the province.
- Craft beer is a vital industry in Ontario, employing more than 1,000 people in direct brewery jobs, almost double the number from 10 years ago.
- In 2014-15, LCBO sales of Ontario craft beer grew to over $68 million, up almost 36 per cent over the prior year.
“Supporting Ontario’s craft beer industry is just one example of how our government is investing in the skills, talents and passions of the people of Ontario. By opening up more retail space for craft brewers, we are exposing consumers to great, Ontario-brewed brands and supporting local entrepreneurs.”
“Through its many diverse events, Craft Beer Week encourages people throughout the province to try Ontario’s world-class craft beer. Through the changes to beer retailing and distribution, we look forward to continuing to expand growth opportunities for Ontario’s craft and small brewers, while offering more choice and more convenience to all consumers.”