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Brewery Tasting Rooms

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Province to Licence Tasting Rooms to Help Boost Local Craft Breweries

Manitoba Craft Beer Growing, Popular Growler Bottle Program to be Expanded: Minister Lemieux

Local craft breweries can now apply to open a licensed tasting room right next to their brewery production site and the refillable Growler Bottle program will be expanded as part of the Craft Breweries Strategy launched last December, Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux, minister responsible for Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, announced today.

“Interest in craft beer is skyrocketing in Manitoba.  We know beer tastes best when it’s fresh so it only makes sense to encourage brewing right here in Manitoba, where Canada’s Heart Beats,” said Minister Lemieux.  “Locally made beer also means jobs and opportunities in the province’s agriculture, hospitality and tourism industries.  Licensing tasting rooms and refillable growlers are important steps to support Manitoba’s craft breweries.”

Minister Lemieux noted the introduction of growlers, the refillable 1.89-litre glass jugs at select Liquor Marts and beer vendors in Brandon and Winnipeg, has been a very popular boost to the craft beer market.  As of mid-April, the number of growler fills was more than double what was anticipated, the minister said, adding overall growth in sales for Manitoba producers – Fort Garry, Half Pints and Farmery – is up 10 per cent since 2013.

During the past several years, craft brewery tasting rooms have become increasingly popular throughout North America.  For beer enthusiasts, the craft tasting experience focuses on freshly brewed beer served steps away from the brew house operation.  As part of the province’s commitment to modernization and consumer choice, the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba will licence brewery tasting rooms as unique hospitality venues focused on tourism, marketing and the brew house experience.

“The tasting room option will give Manitoba breweries the opportunity to feature and serve their products when customers stop by to make retail purchases, to try new brews or as part of a tour,” said Mineral Resources Minister Dave Chomiak, minister responsible for the Liquor and Gaming Authority.  “Opening this opportunity to showcase Manitoba’s craft brewing industry underscores the province’s support for this industry and the Craft Breweries Strategy.”

Minister Lemieux also announced the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation will launch an exciting summer promotion of new, limited-availability products from craft breweries across Canada, that have never been seen in Manitoba before, along with some unique local beers, brewed specifically for this event by Half Pints and Fort Garry.

The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation is undertaking an analysis and review of the growler program, including consumer and stakeholder feedback, which will inform recommendations and a plan for the expansion of the growler program by summer 2015, Minister Lemieux noted.

Input from an industry advisory committee that includes existing Manitoba brewers, as well representatives of the local hospitality industry, is aiding in developing the strategy. Provincial government departments and agencies, including Manitoba Jobs and the Economy, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and Manitoba Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection are partnering with both the Liquor and Gaming Authority and the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation to identify ways to improve awareness of craft beer and the current climate for craft brewing in Manitoba, Minister Lemieux said.  He added further announcements of measures to support local craft breweries are anticipated in the coming months.

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