Local breweries tap into marketing potential

By JT McVeigh, The Enterprise-Bulletin

The business of brewing has grown exponentially in Canada since the days of 25-cent drafts and beer sold in stubby bottles.

From Creemore to Collingwood there is an embarrassment of riches for lovers of the hop with five quality brewers in the area.

Now the breweries have banded together with the new Beer Around the Bay initiative that celebrates Southern Georgian Bay’s growing number of great breweries and beer working with local restaurants, shops and attractions.

With Beer Around the Bay, breweries will also continue to provide regular tours and tastings at their locations and are working closely with a growing number of local restaurants in Creemore, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach that are keen to showcase local beer on their menus and offer unique experiences such as locally sourced food and beer pairings. 

 Martin Rydlo, director of marketing and business development for Collingwood and spokesperson for Beer around the Bay says that there is a reason that the five breweries are so willing to collaborate.

“If you take a look at the Wasaga Beach Brewery, they know that they are about a lighter beer that you can enjoy on the beach in the summer time, they have the beach bar there and they have really tapped into it,” says Rydlo. “Northwinds is really all about the Road House experience with really unique beers that they can make in small batches. Collingwood Brewery looks at a little bit larger distribution but at the same time they are staying very closely tied to the community with events that they host at the brewery.”

“Then you have Sidelaunch that’s recognized as the top beer in Canada and they have visions of very rapid growth and they are certainly realizing that.”

“Then in Creemore you have the granddaddy of the brewers in the region and they are working desperately hard to make sure that they are maintaining their local roots,” says Rydlo. “So it is really neat to see how each is really confident with their identity, and that’s why they are able to work together because each one of them presents a different experience for the user and for the community.”

Rydlo sees this also not only a celebration of some fine brews, but also an exciting example of the type of entrepreneurial challenges that makes the area attractive for new business.

“All of these companies with the exception of Creemore, which is a great business story in itself, all have started in the last three years,” says Rydlo. “And in Collingwood they probably employ about 150 to 200 people in different capacities.”

Rydlo also sees how collaboration can also create new business opportunities.

“Then you have a whole new upstart with the Beer Bus company coming onboard which started about two months ago and has been doing really well,” says Rydlo.

The Beer Bus Company crew went to the five breweries to see if there was as opportunity to work cohesively with the brewers to compress a tour of all into one day for visitors and now offers tours for selected weekends over the summer.

“And once again you see that spirit of entrepreneurship expressing itself up here in a whole new form,” says Rydlo. “There are new companies that are saying, ‘you know, there is something really neat going up here.’”



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