Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Antigonish has spoken, and the CBC covers craft brewing!

Well, the survey results are in, and, yes, it appears Antigonish does want a brewpub! Thanks you all for responding to our call. More than 500 people filled out our survey, and with overwhelmingly positive responses, which really helps to back up our claim that there is a demand in this town for a cozy local brewpub and eatery. If you'd like to see the results for yourself, click here.

Things have shifted into high gear once again in the planning department, we're busy talking numbers, so stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to be part of making this thing happen and get the suds a'flowing! Terry has a great new hoppy West Coast IPA on tap (in our porch only, at this point), his first cider in the works (we picked and squeezed the apples with my family on Thanksgiving weekend), and a Piccadilly Porter coming on. On a sad note, our little camera found a new home somewhere on the bottom of the James River, so the visual element of our blogs may be somewhat lacking for the next little while.

Archival photo of apple pressing c. 2009, photo credit to Kip (Action) Jackson

Below are some excerpts from yesterday's CBC news story trumpeting the virtues, vision, and small victories of Canadian craft brewers, including McAuslan's (QC) (who make a terrific pale ale, but are teetering dangerously close to no longer being independent), Steam Whistle (ON), and Central City Brewing Co. (BC).

Canadian craft brewers turn passion into profit

Posted: Oct 24, 2011 10:31 AM ET 

It has long been the lament of small business owners that so-called big business controls too much of the economy, and there remains little room for effective competition. This sentiment would seem to ring truest in the Canadian beer industry, but small players are making surprising headway with innovative approaches to marketing and operating their craft breweries.
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In Quebec, there are now upward of 70 craft breweries catering to an increasingly diverse client base. McAuslan says the choice for consumers has never been more robust.
"The emerging specialty beer consumers are much more numerous – there is a younger clientele than when we started," he said. "The beer landscape is totally different now than it was and consumer attitudes about beer have changed as well."
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Community connection
A key facet of any micro-brewery is its connection to the local community, something that Toronto-based Steam Whistle Brewing co-founder Cam Heaps says harkens back to the time when local breweries dotted the country and were synonymous with their communities.
"The breweries used to be located in the centre of [a town] and be active participants within those communities," he said.
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McAuslan says he attributes part of his success to maintaining an active connection with the thriving arts community in Montreal, sponsoring a number of art exhibitions and concerts.
"In the beginning we did a lot of small, supportive things for various arts and community groups," he said. "That helped us establish a reputation as good brewers and good members of the community, a position we still maintain – we just sponsored the free Arcade Fire concert at Pop Montreal in September."
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Chipping away at a big rock
In Ontario, where craft beer represents six per cent of the province's total beer sales, the public's appetite for independent brews is growing despite the fact alcohol consumption on the whole is flat.
"Generally, people aren't drinking as much as they used to — per capita consumption is flat or down," said Gary McMullen, president of Muskoka Brewery and chair of Ontario Craft Brewers. "So if people are only looking to have one beer, they want something special to enjoy."
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To see the full article, click here.

That's all for now. Happy halloween (or Punky Night as I fondly remember), and remember, we love hearing from you! Comments, queries, and e-mails of any sort are greatly appreciated.

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