Craig wrote:It remains to be seen if craft will actually show up on grocery shelves. Grocery stores are just as, if not more, brutal than TBS when it comes to listing fees. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the macro/craft split ends up the same in grocery stores as it is in TBS today. Even if it does, this is still a huge step forward.
There is no way that it doesn't end up on shelves. Really small batch stuff like Bellwoods? That's not going to be on shelves. They don't make enough beer to be on shelves anywhere. What I think everyone is forgetting is that Mill Street, Steam Whistle, Nickel Brook, Muskoka... these are still craft breweries. In the long term those players gaining foothold in the public consciousness really helps everyone. We on this forum are not about gateway craft beer. We're about more impressive stuff that has a smaller target audience. What we're looking at is momentum.
Just like with any situation we've got the ability to help control the narrative on this. The reason The Beer Store is finally going to see action against it is because people like Martin Regg Cohn and Ben Johnson and (not to toot my own horn, but I did commission a professional poll and provide a lot of economic criticism) me set out to raise public awareness about its ownership. Now, The Beer Store wasn't trying to please the consumers and they weren't trying to improve.
Grocery stores, for all that I see listing fees and supply chain issues bandied about, are in the business of trying to cater to their market. Longo's or Sobey's or even Loblaw's all carry boutique products. A lot of the Loblaw's locations carry organic produce and upscale groceries of every variety. The idea that they're not going to carry craft beer is ridiculous. Can you imagine the amount of scrutiny their selection is going to be under? Can you imagine what a PR win it is for them to provide locally made products in addition to a range of macro things people also want?
Besides which, even if there are listing fees, would you rather pay a listing fee for The Beer Store where you get a coaster sized label on the wall or a grocery store where your product is visible to consumers? People who complain about there being listing fees at all are being a little naive. Even if we had specialty stores there would still be listing fees to get in them as there are in Quebec.