Friday, February 25, 2011

MBD Presents Beer in the News: Good News for Craft Brews!

Craft Brew Sales look up.  Wayyyyyyyyyyy up!

A vision of the future in Ontario?  Only time will tell!

An LCBO spokesman, speaking to TAPS magazine, announced that Ontario craft brewery sales are up a whopping fifty percent from 2009 to 2010.  That's a monumental achievement, and something the OCB and the brewers can be very proud of.  While beer in general has seen sluggish sales over the past decade or so, craft brews have been the only market to see genuine growth.  Hopefully this means more craft brews on the shelves in the coming year!

Ontario Takes Steps to Stop Being So Lame, "Grow Up."

For many foreign or out-of-province tourists, Ontario's draconian liquor laws might come across as...well, draconian.  (It could be worse, I know) Fortunately, change seems to be horizon, as the governing Liberals have stated their intentions to relax liquor laws at our province's festivals and major events.   Instead of forcing beer lovers to consume their drinks in cramped, isolated, stigmatizing "beer tents" and "alcohol zones", the proposed change would allow patrons at licenced festivals to take their booze with them freely around the grounds.  Control would still be an issue, and the details of enforcement still need to be worked out, but I think it's a step in the right direction.  Maybe if the Bills move to Toronto we might actually be allowed to tailgate like everyone else.

Whither Canned Beer?

Fox News, that bastion of logic and not-yelling-at-your-guests, also got into the discussion, giving American craft brews a rare moment in the spotlight, zeroing in on the recent trend for craft brewers to put their products in cans, rather than bottles.  Although Ontarian craft beers have come in cans for many years (Neustadt, Mill Street, Steam Whistle, and recently Wellington), there still remains a stigma against the aluminum packaging method, with most craft breweries and reviewers preferring the stuff to come out of the bottle.  But canned beer is making a comeback and seems to be gradually winning over fans, especially in the United States.  Canned beer is cheaper, lighter to ship, takes up less space on the shelf and in the fridge, is immune to light pollution, and easily recyclable - pour it into a rinsed beer glass and there really isn't a difference in taste.  Not that there should really be a tinny taste to the beer, as modern canning methods utilize non-reactive materials to keep the metallic flavor out and the goodness in.  One brewery in particular has made a name for itself by virtue of this canning method.  Oskar Blues Brewery of Colorado has pioneered the concept of releasing exceptional craft brews in cans with tremendous success.  Oskar Blues brews have taken the nation by storm; their Dale's Pale Ale and Ten Fidy Imperial Stout are consistently rated among the U.S.'s best craft beers - and both come almost exclusively in cans.   Other breweries, like 21st Amendment and Maui Brewing have also adopted the canned route.  Clearly, this article is geared towards the less discerning drinking fan, but still, it's nice to see great craft breweries make the major news networks now and then.

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