How can craft bars differentiate themselves

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nickw
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Re: beerbistro

Postby nickw » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:15 am

groulxsome wrote:
Craig wrote:
ercousin wrote:I think there are still a few ways to differentiate your draft list that people aren't doing.

There are 125 breweries, 38 brew pubs, and 47 contract brewers in this province, yet draft lists at Volo/Bar-Hop etc focus on a subset of about 20-30 of them. You can make arguments that these 20-30 brewers are the "best" ones, but there are still 150 breweries out there that are making beer, there has got to be some gems left to discover. There's a whole smattering of breweries in Ottawa with very little presence in Toronto, Beyond the Pale for example.

It would be cool to see more bars branching out and getting kegs from some of the further out breweries. Like Lansdowne is doing by focusing their draft list on homebrewers that have gone pro. One of the only places in Toronto that carries 5 Paddles, Garden Brewers, etc...


I think it's harder to get kegs here from far-out breweries. Most of them are likely selling out closer to home, especially if you're trying to get out of their core lineup.


And someone from those breweries has to deliver from whereever to the bar and then get the keg back when it's done. If you're outside Toronto, you need enough accounts to reliably sell and turn kegs to make the trip worth it (if you're even two hours out, getting in and dropping kegs can eat a whole day). It isn't like breweries can be on a truck with other breweries so it's not like a shipment can come down from Ottawa from a few breweries (i.e. Beau's can let BtP piggy back on a truck for a few kegs). If you're a small brewery where your keg stocks (even empty kegs!) is at a premium, making a trip to some of the hardest bars to get into in the city is a big time investment. Especially if your already selling all your beer in your local market.



The bolded is changing though, right? According to the province's website: http://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2015/09/i ... hoice.html

    Allow small brewers' to pool deliveries and improve efficiencies;
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Craig
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Re: beerbistro

Postby Craig » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:58 am

nickw wrote:
groulxsome wrote:
Craig wrote:I think it's harder to get kegs here from far-out breweries. Most of them are likely selling out closer to home, especially if you're trying to get out of their core lineup.


And someone from those breweries has to deliver from whereever to the bar and then get the keg back when it's done. If you're outside Toronto, you need enough accounts to reliably sell and turn kegs to make the trip worth it (if you're even two hours out, getting in and dropping kegs can eat a whole day). It isn't like breweries can be on a truck with other breweries so it's not like a shipment can come down from Ottawa from a few breweries (i.e. Beau's can let BtP piggy back on a truck for a few kegs). If you're a small brewery where your keg stocks (even empty kegs!) is at a premium, making a trip to some of the hardest bars to get into in the city is a big time investment. Especially if your already selling all your beer in your local market.



The bolded is changing though, right? According to the province's website: http://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2015/09/i ... hoice.html

    Allow small brewers' to pool deliveries and improve efficiencies;



I believe this is the case. It should lead to more Ottawa stuff in bars in Toronto and vice versa, since they can just send one truck with lots of people's stuff on it every week or two.
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Craig
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Re: How can craft bars differentiate themselves

Postby Craig » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:58 am

Oh, and I split this conversation into it's own thread, if anyone was wondering why all the posts moved.
The Mick
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Re: How can craft bars differentiate themselves

Postby The Mick » Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:56 am

Most of the breweries from GTA area all come to Ottawa on the same two trucks, currently. RG Transfer and Cold hauls Direct are two companies that do distribution and many West Ont breweries are coming to Ottawa via these companies. Nickel brook, Muskoka, Flying Monkeys, GLB, Side Launch, Sawdust City, etch all delivered by the same companies. If Ottawa brewers wanted to be in Toronto, they could use the same company.

I think the real problem for Ottawa breweries is that few hold a candle to what's happening in Toronto. BTP, at least for my taste, is the most exciting and quality brewer here. They had some trouble w consistency when they transitioned to the new location, but that seems to be ironed out now. They could hold a spot on draught lineups, but that's it (others could by putting down cash for a committed line, but not on quality alone). Dominion is very good, but they are still very small and haven't scratched the surface of what they can do here. Everyone else is mediocre with occasional flashes of promise. Tooth and Nail is a new brewpub that just opened here and they have been exceptional thus far (for beer, not food). Best pils in Ontario.... yes, better than King Pils (which is great).
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Re: How can craft bars differentiate themselves

Postby midlife crisis » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:09 pm

The Mick wrote:Tooth and Nail is a new brewpub that just opened here and they have been exceptional thus far (for beer, not food). Best pils in Ontario.... yes, better than King Pils (which is great).


Interesting. Would love to try it H2H vs. Burdock's, which is the best in my books (though I haven't tried Tooth and Nail's).
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Re: How can craft bars differentiate themselves

Postby The Mick » Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:01 pm

The first sample I tried wasn't that great, but that was before they opened and were still experimenting w the system. I've had it a few times since they opened now and I had a can a couple nights ago and was blown away. Great beer
I don't always drink beer ... because sometimes my friends win and we have to go to macro-only establishments.
Masterplan
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Re: How can craft bars differentiate themselves

Postby Masterplan » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:50 am

The only way I see craft bars differentiating is brewing in house or working with a Brewers to make their own house beer only available at their bar.
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Tapsucker
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Re: How can craft bars differentiate themselves

Postby Tapsucker » Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:07 pm

I'm thinking this is a moot point. While it's great that we have an increase of beer 'destination' bars in Toronto, I think it's even more important to have a wider dispersal of bars with good beers. At least one in every neighbourhood, I say.

We are starting to see such a concentration in certain trendy neighbourhoods, and that's fine, but other locals are left with nothing. Perhaps deservedly so if there is no market, but I'm sure there are plenty of people living in say North York, who would love a local that had even a modicum of choice. Instead of and budding entrepreneur wracking their brains on how to stand out on College St., perhaps take a look at a simple craft bar at Yonge and Sheppard. Greenfields could lead to success and customer appreciation.
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midlife crisis
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Re: How can craft bars differentiate themselves

Postby midlife crisis » Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:34 pm

Tapsucker wrote:I'm thinking this is a moot point. While it's great that we have an increase of beer 'destination' bars in Toronto, I think it's even more important to have a wider dispersal of bars with good beers. At least one in every neighbourhood, I say.

We are starting to see such a concentration in certain trendy neighbourhoods, and that's fine, but other locals are left with nothing. Perhaps deservedly so if there is no market, but I'm sure there are plenty of people living in say North York, who would love a local that had even a modicum of choice. Instead of and budding entrepreneur wracking their brains on how to stand out on College St., perhaps take a look at a simple craft bar at Yonge and Sheppard. Greenfields could lead to success and customer appreciation.


Couldn't agree more. I work at Yonge & Sheppard now, and it is still a desert. Union Social may be a slight improvement, but the area is crying out for an establishment with even a baseline of craft.

Conversely, Yonge & Lawrence has improved recently. Stack has a nice selection and the new-ish Uptown Pub House has installed a beer engine (yahoo!), the furthest north cask beer has ever appeared within the city. There are also three or four craft options at Scratch Kitchen. So not exactly a destination just yet, but it is nice that there are finally decent options within walking distance of (my) home.
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Re: How can craft bars differentiate themselves

Postby biegaman » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:50 pm

Ontario brewers have it much easier. They are free to brew and sell what they like. They are allowed to deliver and sell directly to on-premise accounts (bars) or from their retail shops.

Imports are another story. This isn't just American, Belgian, or German brands... out of province (i.e., Quebec, BC) as well. As for kegs, it costs $10K to register a new SKU at the Beer Store. Imagine how many kegs you have to sell just to make back that initial investment (which get's you nothing but the legal right to sell it) before you start turning a profit. And if it's a niche, expensive, or unknown brand?! There really aren't that many bars in the province that bring in quality imported stuff (and many of the ones that do have limited taps and/or will only buy occasionally or on a rotating/seasonal basis).

As for bottles, for retail you're at the mercy of the LCBO. 4 seasonal releases a year and each importer can only submit up to 3 brands for consideration per. Year-round listings are very difficult to obtain (and even then distribution is up to you and your resources). They refuse to allot more consignment licenses, meaning private order is the only other option. Without going into full detail, these are risky, logistical nightmares, mountains of paperwork, and extremely cost-prohibitive. It's possible, but to make sustainable income from it is unlikely... nevermind ensuring fresh stock, on time, with good prices, or even convincing breweries the small, one-off orders are worth their while in the first place.

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