Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Manitoba taprooms

Things are improving in Manitoba:
It may be late to the party, but craft breweries are on the verge of exploding in Winnipeg.
Once a smaller market with just two local craft breweries (Half Pints Brewing Co. and Fort Garry Brewing Co.), the city is set to quadruple that number by the end of next year when at least six breweries or brew pubs are scheduled to open.
From the opening of Nicole Barry's Peg Beer Co. brew pub this winter to Tim Hudek's One Great City Brewing brew pub opening in April, Manitoba will go from being the only province without a brew pub to hosting two.
Executives from Calgary-based Big Rock Brewery were here this week, scoping out Winnipeg as a possible location for one of their new urban brew pubs.
Local veterans of craft breweries are embracing the competition.
The province began trying to expand the local market for craft beer last year by introducing growlers, a refillable beer container that sells Fort Garry and Half Pints beer at participating Liquor Marts. It plans to expand the program.
In May, the province announced it would allow for taprooms at these breweries, with a maximum of about 50 patrons, to sample beer. The brewery only has to provide small snacks.
The decision in May to allow taprooms and tasting rooms helped convince Tyler Birch to get involved in craft brewing. He hopes to have his brewery, Barn Hammer Brewing, opened by late April.
"There weren't enough breweries in Winnipeg and Manitoba," Birch said, while on break at the Brewers Association meeting.
"Craft beer in Manitoba is definitely going to change. Everywhere else you go, there are so many breweries, and everyone drinks local beer. We don't have that here, and I think as people start to see what we're doing, that will all change," Birch said.
So far, only Half Pints has expressed interest in opening a taproom, but Ron Lemieux, the minister responsible for MLL, hopes these new breweries will pounce on it.
Winnipeg, about 700,000 people, in a province of a bit over million people, is about to expand to 8 breweries.

NZ, population 4.6 million, has about 80 brewers as members of the Brewers' Guild.

It's only recently (well, 2011) that the regulations smartened up a bit (but not entirely). I'm not sure what's up with the restrictions on taproom serving capacity.

HT: Mom


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