Ontario Craft Brewers embrace major changes to Ontario’s beer system

Toronto, Ontario – The Ontario Craft Brewers welcomes the Government announcement to open up Ontaro’s beer retailing industry for craft brewers and increase convenience for all consumers.

Read the full press release below.


Improved Retail Access will Unlock Industry Job Growth

Ontario Craft Brewers enthusiastically welcomed today’s announcement by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to open up the province’s beer retailing industry for craft brewers and to increase convenience for all consumers
“This is a monumental day for craft brewers and for all consumers in Ontario,” says Cam Heaps, co-founder of Steam Whistle Brewing and chair of Ontario Craft Brewers. “We believe that this package of fundamental changes, when fully implemented, will unlock craft brewers’ true growth potential, allowing us to quickly double or triple our direct brewery jobs.”

Through these changes, Ontario’s government has recognized the widespread job growth potential of Ontario’s craft brewing industry.

There are currently well over 150 operating breweries in the province with many more in planning. The industry employs over 1,000 people in direct brewery jobs and more than four times that in indirect jobs (using a standard multiplier of four). They account for well over 30 per cent of the direct brewing jobs in the province.

“These new changes will allow craft brewers to double or triple our share which will create another 1,000 to 2,000 direct craft brewery jobs across the province,” says Heaps. “The spinoffs jobs could create an additional 4,000 jobs.”

“There are about 50 cities and 90 towns in Ontario,” said John Hay, President of Ontario Craft Brewers, “and we expect to see at least one brewery in nearly every community and multiple breweries in the larger communities. This will give a real shot in the arm to smaller communities and particularly to downtown cores that could really benefit from this economic stimulus.”

There are many benefits associated with Ontario’s craft brewing industry. When a brewery opens in a city or town in Ontario, jobs are created in the brewery (could be anywhere from three to 100). Craft breweries move into Ontario communities, refurbish old buildings, host events and sponsor local events, programs and teams. They attract visitors and tourism dollars and build relationships with local chefs and restaurants, increasing the culinary appeal of a community.

Market share for Ontario Craft Brewers in 2013 was well over three per cent for premium priced craft products. Compared to other jurisdictions that have more retail access, craft brewing market share could be anywhere from six per cent (as in Quebec) to 14 per cent (as in B.C.), and possibly higher (as in some U.S. states). There are currently more breweries per capita in Ontario than in the United States and consumers are looking for more opportunities to see, taste and buy their craft beer.

OCB worked closely with the government and its’ Asset Review Council over the past few years on this process. “They have all been excellent to work with and we are very happy that many of our recommendations were adopted,” says Hay.

This economic development partnership with the Ontario government is key to balancing their ability to set the right environment for growth with craft brewers’ ability to produce great products and create jobs in Ontario.
“These changes will take us closer to our vision of making Ontario a North American Centre of Excellence for Craft Brewing,” says Heaps.



Watch the What’s Brewin’ video with Darren Smith of Lake of Bays Brewing as he speaks about the system.

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