“I would like to see an end to the illegal under-the-table dealings of most major and some craft breweries.
When dealing with licensees this activity completely distorts the true reasons for doing business which is surely to buy or make a product that is good and truly popular and then sell it for a fair markup with no further influences.
In order for this to happen the AGCO will have to enforce the rules that exist instead of slapping the hands of major corporations every few years with a fine that is so relatively small that it is seen to be merely the cost of doing business.”
Michael Hancock is veteran of Ontario’s beer scene, having worked in the industry for nearly 40 years. He was one of the founders of Denison’s Brew Pub where he developed his world class Denison’s Weissbier and since 2010 has been a partner in Collingwood’s Side Launch Brewing Co. He delivered the remarks above as part of a “Pioneers Panel” at the Ontario Craft Brewer’s Conference on October 16, 2014, when he was asked what he would like to see change in the brewing industry in the next few years.
Hancock’s comments come following mini-uproar in the United States started when Dann Paquette, co-founder and brewer of Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project in Cambridge, Massachusetts, went on a late night twitter rant about the practice of larger breweries purchasing draft lines and the difficulties small brewers have getting into bars as a result. A handful of larger media outlets have since picked up Paquette’s story and, as a result, Massachusetts lawmakers are now looking into the practice.
As Hancock points out, the practice is likewise rampant in Ontario and is similarly illegal (and it’s an issue that I have written about previously).
Following Dann Paquette’s public comments, some Ontario beer industry folks suggested that perhaps this practice would be less widespread if people had some means of outing bar owners who don’t play fairly. To test this theory, I created a completely anonymous website for submissions about tales of “dirty draft lines.”
Since it was created on October 15, 2014, Dirty Lines has received zero submissions.
Photo credit: Ian Willms