Government Grant Supports Industry Growth Initiatives, Retail & Quality Programs
Ontario Craft Brewers today acknowledged the Ontario government for its industry support in the 2016 provincial budget. Government announced that it will extend funding for the Microbrewery Strategy for a total of $1.4 million over two years.
"We are very happy to receive this funding," says Darren Smith, president, Lake of Bays Brewing and vice-chair of Ontario Craft Brewers.
"We will use it to assist us with the rollout to grocery stores, which we are very excited about, and, we will use it to support our continued efforts to have a brewery in every city and town in the province."
Ontario Craft Breweries are now located in over 80 communities and the goal is to expand to 150. OCB knows of approximately 130 bricks and mortar breweries and another 40 or so contract/breweries in planning.
"Of course, we will also use grant money to continue to build our quality programs, to explore trade/export opportunities, to work with all industry stakeholders and suppliers (ie: Ontario’s hop industry)," says Smith, "and for tourism opportunities and OCB brand building including PR, marketing, social media, website and events such as Ontario Craft Beer Week, Ontario Craft Brewers Conference (OCBC) and festivals."
Ontario Craft Brewers is an association of over 60 small brewers dedicated to making great tasting, high quality beer in Ontario. Ontario Craft Brewers brew their beers locally using fresh, all natural ingredients in communities throughout Ontario - from the Ottawa Valley to Windsor and Niagara to Muskoka and as far north as Kenora. Handcrafting over 450 premium beers, Ontario Craft Brewers employ well over 1,400 people (FTEs) in Ontario, accounting for over 30 per cent of the direct brewing industry jobs in the province. As of 2014, Ontario's Craft Brewers' share for premium priced brands was almost 5% of the beer volume sold. Craft beer continues to be the fastest growing segment within the LCBO's beer category. The OCB's long term vision is to have at least one brewery in every city and town in the province and to make Ontario a North American Centre of Excellence for Craft Brewing.