Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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Alberta gov issues fines for inducement, governing body in Ontario confirms they never have

Breweries providing cash and incentives in exchange for exclusivity in bars and pubs is an ingrained part of the beer industry.

I’ve written about this a few times over the years (most recently last week for my bi-weekly column Full Pour in the Metroland Media publication Our London). If you’re new to this issue (or my impotent ranting on the subject), the TL;DR version is this: if you’re sitting in a bar that has dedicated all of its draught lines to one particular brewery or are sitting in a pub that seems to be decorated entirely in swag from one particular company, you can virtually guarantee that cash and / or incentives were provided to that bar in exchange for space on that draught lineup.

The kicker here, of course, is that this entire practice is technically illegal per Ontario’s liquor licence act, specifically Regulation 720:

A manufacturer of liquor or an agent or employee of a manufacturer shall not directly or indirectly offer or give a financial or material inducement to a person who holds a licence or permit under the Act or to an agent or employee of the person for the purpose of increasing the sale or distribution of a brand of liquor.

Again, this isn’t new ground and is something I’ve been talking about since roughly January of 2013 when I wrote the post, In Toronto Pubs, Breweries Battle for Beer Taps With Persuasion and Cash, for the website Torontoist.

In the roughly four years since I wrote that post, nothing has changed about the prevalence of the practice except that, for the first time in my beer writing career, I’ve learned two fairly interesting things about penalties for inducements:

  1. A fine was actually issued to a Canadian brewery for this practice in May, and
  2. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has apparently never issued monetary penalties in response to inducements.

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Haiku reviews: Big Rock Brewery’s Citradelic Single Hop IPA

Haiku reviews is a feature wherein I invoke the brief and impressionistic style of poetry to devote exactly 17 syllables to reviewing a beer.
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Big Rock Brewery’s Citradelic Single Hop IPA

If, five years ago,
this beer hit Ontario,
it would have been great.

What they have to say: “A refreshing IPA, Citradelic Single Hop IPA gets its name from the Citra hops used in the brewing process. For Citradelic, repeated heavy dosing and dry hopping brings out the smooth citrus and tropical tones of the Citra hop. These hops are grown in Washington’s Yakima Valley, one of the most fertile and productive hop-growing regions in the world.”

Want to send me a beer for the haiku review treatment? Drop me a line.


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Big Rock SAAZ Republic Pilz is coming to Ontario

*an earlier, stupid version of this post was written as though SAAZ Republic Pilz was Big Rock’s first foray into Ontario. As Toronto Star Beer Columnist Josh Rubin helpfully pointed out, Big Rock beers have actually been here for about 20 years. This post has been revised to reflect the fact that this Big Rock Brewery is indeed the same Big Rock Brewery that currently has Big Rock Grasshoppper Wheat Ale, Big Rock India Pale, Big Rock Light Lime, Big Rock Traditional Ale, and Big Rock Warthog Ale all listed at The Beer Store. Yes, the entire conceit of this post–which was intended to be a transcript of my initial thoughts on the news–has essentially been destroyed, but I’m going to try to salvage the thing anyway because I don’t have time to rewrite it and oh great the baby’s crying I have to go. 

Saaz PPilsner

A couple weeks ago, the interwebs were all a-twitter with news that one of Canada’s oldest craft breweries–Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery–was bringing some new beer to Ontario.

The obligatory press release explained that the first of a series of new beer releases here would be SAAZ Republic Pilz, a pilsner with “a distinct but mild bitterness on the front end followed by a slight hop middle and a clean, refreshing finish.” It also explained that this release represented the first of of a total of three new beers slated for release in Ontario.

I don’t really know how I feel about this release, so, in order to convey my thoughts on the news, I’ve attempted to transcribe the conversation that occurred between the conflicting optimistic and typically dominant cynical voices in my own brain whilst drinking one last week.

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