5 Things we learned at this year's Ontario craft beer conference

Posted by Anita Baldwinson on November 3, 2017
Anita Baldwinson
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On October 19th, a TNG delegation attended the Ontario Craft Beer Conference to learn more things about the craft beer market, to chat with other attendees ~ typical for all conferences. What was different, was the beer sampling that began at 11am. So many varieties for so many different palates. The raspberry beer was my absolute favourite, but I really enjoyed the Wolfe Island Spring Brewery beer that was served with the Keilbasa... 

But, I digress, this is about learning! Here are the 5 things:

1. The craft beer culture is unique and rich.

This industry greatly values collaboration, which is contrary to many industries in business today. Along with this, 'do good to be good' efforts, which are so valued by consumers, can be found everywhere. The industry very much values sustainable practices and innovation is key. They are proud of what they make and should be, because craft beer, after all, is combining art with science. All of this ignites passions and engages those that work in the industry.

2. Collaboration in the industry raises all boats

When the industry works together to educate and get consumers excited about craft beer, the market for it grows and there’s more share for everyone.

3. The industry is growing

The craft beer industry grew by 25.6% in 2016. That’s a number that we don’t really see in other industries. There are now a staggering 400 craft brew companies and these companies are employing the bulk of the people in the entire beer industry.

4. Grocery will experience a lot of growth.

While grocery is a new channel and people aren’t used to purchasing their craft been there yet, they will. As long as the craft brew industry understands that grocery cares about building basket and can communicate how craft does that, the interest will increase. Shopper data shows that the consumer likes choice and craft provides that also. Plus the alcohol-purchasing shopper is a desirable one to retail as they are often retailers most profitable shoppers.

5. What food profiles go with what beer.

The really cool and final learning, was what beer pairs with what foods. Similar to wine, the taste profile of a beer can change dramatically when paired with certain foods, making it an ultimate mouth sensation. Fruit and wheat beers pair well with fatty or spicy foods. Darker beers work great with beef and stronger flavoured meals. Lighter beers are great for fish. Bitter beers pair well with anything sweet, acidic with more fatty items and sweet with salty. People love experimenting and having experiences and that is what pairing is all about.  

Such a great day!

We think this is a very exciting industry to be in. It is growing in leaps and bounds and the people we’ve partnered with, embody its collaborative culture.

We’re so thankful for the support the industry has shown us and we were so happy to give back and offer the Ontario Craft Brewers digital billboards in Ontario for a month, through our sister company Pattison Outdoor. So look for those in the spring.

Topics: Retail, Distribution, Craft Beer, Ontario craft beer conference, DSD

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