Last week I rounded up some of the biggest developments in beer in 2015 and it got me to thinking about the year ahead. Here are some of things I predict what we might see in beer in Ontario for 2016.
Small scale innovation
Grocery store sales are not going to be the tipping point for Ontario beer. As I noted in last week’s post, that development doesn’t seem all that ground-breaking for me. I think it’s possible that, as the grocery store program rolls out over the next couple years, there might be some outlier chains and independent grocers who opt to support local and craft beer exclusively; however, given that Farm Boy, who were rumoured to be aiming at 100% craft beer on shelves, has opted to stock big beer on store shelves, I think it’s more likely that grocery stores will simply bring us more of the same beer we already have access to through the Beer Store and LCBO.
Instead, I think 2016 will continue to bring interesting and innovative solutions to Ontario’s unique legislative problems by way of small businesses and entrepreneurs. I predict a rise in home-delivery services that bring unique craft offerings to people in areas where distribution is difficult and I predict the coming of increased numbers of niche-market bars and restaurants that can offer rare imported beers given how hard it can be to bring in beers from other markets. The forthcoming new bar from the family behind Bar Volo that will focus on barrel-aged and sour imports, to my mind, could be the first of many. Continue reading