Flat promises and lost hop


Last fall I was ordering my go-to pint of Alexander Keith’s at a local pub when the bartender told me they had discontinued selling it.

As I expressed my disappointment, he assured me that what they had replaced it with was exponentially better: a beer from Torque Brewing Co., a Manitoban craft brewery.

I shrugged and decided to give it a try. The knowledge that I was drinking something locally crafted and the flavour quickly won me over. After my first sip, I had completely abandoned Mr. Keith and jumped ship to join the mass of craft beer enthusiasts in Manitoba.

According to Manitoba Brew Hub, Canadian craft beer sales in Manitoba grew 12 per cent in dollars in the last year. And across Canada, 640 licensed breweries opened in 2015, according to Beer Canada’s 2015 Industry Trends report.

The Brewers Association defines a craft brewery as small (produces 6 million barrels of beer or less per year), independent (less than 25 per cent of the brewery is owned by “an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer”), and traditional (the majority of the beer produced comes from traditional or innovative ingredients and methods).

A few months ago, craft breweries in Manitoba still had support from the province. In January 2016, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) launched an initiative to support the craft beer sector in Manitoba, which included a fund up to $5 million to support local craft breweries through loans up to $250,000.

But 11 months after the loan program was announced and a change in government happened, the funding was revoked.

According to 680 CJOB, MBLL said in a memo announcing the revocation it understands the importance of investing in Manitoba’s craft beer industry, but “these types of programs are outside our core mandate and expertise.”

A flourishing craft beer sector helps stimulate economic growth, with one in 100 Canadian jobs indirectly or directly supported by the beer sector, according to a report by the Conference Board of Canada.

I don’t know about you, but if there’s a sector worth supporting it appears to be the beer sector. So grab some friends and head out to buy some local brew.


Shaylyn McMahon is an aspiring communications professional,

an avid coffee drinker and a wannabe world explorer.

She’d rather be cuddling her cat at any given moment,

and if you can’t see her, you can probably hear her laugh.

Follow her on Twitter @ShaylynMcMahon.