Would you line up for Ontario beer?

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Bytowner
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Postby Bytowner » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:45 am

Anyone have a good idea of what the breweries per capita comparison of Ontario to the North East states looks like?
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nickw
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Postby nickw » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:25 am

Ontario (just southern Ontario, looking at the "extended area" definition here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Ontario) =
12,118,805 people, 139,931km2

Breweries
142 open minus 4 in N.Ontario (Sudbury and beyond) = 138 open in S.Ontario
(http://www.momandhops.ca/brewery-listing/)

Population density: 86 people/km2
1 brewery per 87,817 people


New England (ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI) + New York state = 34,269,993 people
327,744km2

Breweries
NH - 22
VT - 29
ME - 47
MA - 57
CT - 23
RI - 8
NY - 165 = 351
(http://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/by-state/)

Population density: 105 people/km2

Brewery density:
1 brewery per 97,635 people


I'm sure there are differences in the definitions of the types of breweries between the US and Ontario figures that could be nitpicked, but it's a rough idea of what we're talking about here.
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Postby groulxsome » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:39 am

One thing that I think kinda matters is that most of the breweries in Ontario that one would line up for are within rather large cities where there are rather good bars. I know Ottawa has line ups for Beyond the Pale, but most of the other breweries in Ontario that have had lines are within Toronto (Bellwoods, GLB, Amsterdam). There is a lot less need to line-up for Thrust an IPA! when it's going to be on tap at Bryden's, Volo, the Only, Bar Hop, Thirsty and Miserable, etc. Except for one or two bottle-only releases (Double Tempest, Cru), being in a city cuts down on the need to stock up for home consumption. Less need for cars, easier to drink out, etc.

I imagine if Great Lakes was really far from an urban centre, which is admittedly hard to do in Southern Ontario, and if they didn't distribute through the LCBO there might be more need to line up to stock up. Or, imagine this, if Bellwoods was in Goderich. Same size, same quality, same variety and with only a few kegs ever making it into Toronto. Think they'd be swamped every day with folks stocking up? Hell, Roman Candle sells out over a weekend in the summer as it is. I'm sure if they were in Goderich the beer scores would be much higher too...
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Postby PeenSteen » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:45 am

Belgian wrote:Who thinks IAH is at least as good as Bellwoods?


Bellwoods is better by a large margin, Indie Ale House would struggle to crack my top 5 in Ontario
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Postby Craig » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:56 am

groulxsome wrote:One thing that I think kinda matters is that most of the breweries in Ontario that one would line up for are within rather large cities where there are rather good bars. I know Ottawa has line ups for Beyond the Pale, but most of the other breweries in Ontario that have had lines are within Toronto (Bellwoods, GLB, Amsterdam). There is a lot less need to line-up for Thrust an IPA! when it's going to be on tap at Bryden's, Volo, the Only, Bar Hop, Thirsty and Miserable, etc. Except for one or two bottle-only releases (Double Tempest, Cru), being in a city cuts down on the need to stock up for home consumption. Less need for cars, easier to drink out, etc.

I imagine if Great Lakes was really far from an urban centre, which is admittedly hard to do in Southern Ontario, and if they didn't distribute through the LCBO there might be more need to line up to stock up. Or, imagine this, if Bellwoods was in Goderich. Same size, same quality, same variety and with only a few kegs ever making it into Toronto. Think they'd be swamped every day with folks stocking up? Hell, Roman Candle sells out over a weekend in the summer as it is. I'm sure if they were in Goderich the beer scores would be much higher too...


I think if Bellwoods was in Goderich they wouldn't have nearly the hype. I think if they were where Innocente or Kichesippi are, they would be pretty well known, but not nearly as hyped. They did well to go into that location at that time. A perfect storm, by Ontario standards.

I think one thing many haven't considered is even if a brewery like Bellwoods or Great Lakes wasn't in Toronto, why would Torontonians go line up for their beer? Because our market has such artificial scarcity of nearly all US craft, beer geeks around here are going to go South if they're making a beer trip. I mean I just did a Vermont weekend where the only brewery I visited was Hill Farmstead. But while I was there I got beer from them, The Alchemist, Lawson's, Alesmith, Verhaeghe, Grassroots, Lindeman's, Mikkeller, Oud Beersel, Reinaert, Stone and Victory. I also got to drink an assortment of other awesome stuff on tap I'd never get to touch here. If I had to drive to Barrie for Bellwoods, all I would get is Bellwoods.

Americans going to HF from the Boston area (that seemed to be the largest group in line both times I was there) can go to their local bottle shop to get most of that stuff whenever they want. They get US craft stuff on taps all over the place.
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Postby A » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:10 pm

PeenSteen wrote:
Belgian wrote:Who thinks IAH is at least as good as Bellwoods?


Bellwoods is better by a large margin, Indie Ale House would struggle to crack my top 5 in Ontario


Disagree :) IAH, for the most part, I enjoy drinking more than Bellwoods. I will say however that the Warp and Weft tequila BA that Bellwoods did was head and shoulders above anything else I've ever had from Toronto (or Ontario)

Regarding Cass' initial post, I was just at HF a couple of weeks ago and out of the 10-12 people around me only a single person was a local, and he was just picking up bottles (for which there is basically no lineup).
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Ale's What Cures Ya
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Postby Ale's What Cures Ya » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:34 pm

Short answer: nope.
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Postby Kekumba » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:19 pm

There's yet to be anything in Ottawa I would line up for. There's only one brewery here I trust the wait would be worth.

I'd line-up for BOYD if Bellwoods released it again. Though Hill Farmstead is a slightly shorter drive away...
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Postby Ceecee » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:52 pm

A wrote:Regarding Cass' initial post, I was just at HF a couple of weeks ago and out of the 10-12 people around me only a single person was a local, and he was just picking up bottles (for which there is basically no lineup).


Don't mean to thread-jack but...HF has 2 lines? Heading there in a couple weeks with wife and toddler and am hoping not to spend 2 hours in line.
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Postby iguenard » Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:05 pm

Ceecee wrote:
A wrote:Regarding Cass' initial post, I was just at HF a couple of weeks ago and out of the 10-12 people around me only a single person was a local, and he was just picking up bottles (for which there is basically no lineup).


Don't mean to thread-jack but...HF has 2 lines? Heading there in a couple weeks with wife and toddler and am hoping not to spend 2 hours in line.


One for bottles, the other for bottles with growlers. Bottle line can be fast (20/30. Mins) and the other even when short can take 1-2 hours... Damn foaming IPAs... Figure about 5-6 mins per growler, 3 growlers per person.
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Postby rejtable » Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:20 pm

iguenard wrote:
Ceecee wrote:
A wrote:Regarding Cass' initial post, I was just at HF a couple of weeks ago and out of the 10-12 people around me only a single person was a local, and he was just picking up bottles (for which there is basically no lineup).


Don't mean to thread-jack but...HF has 2 lines? Heading there in a couple weeks with wife and toddler and am hoping not to spend 2 hours in line.


One for bottles, the other for bottles with growlers. Bottle line can be fast (20/30. Mins) and the other even when short can take 1-2 hours... Damn foaming IPAs... Figure about 5-6 mins per growler, 3 growlers per person.
Is this new since they renovated? When I was there a year ago it was the same line for me just wanting some bottles as it was for the goober in front of me shuffling along with his growlers. Grr.
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Postby Craig » Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:25 pm

rejtable wrote:
iguenard wrote:
Ceecee wrote:
A wrote:Regarding Cass' initial post, I was just at HF a couple of weeks ago and out of the 10-12 people around me only a single person was a local, and he was just picking up bottles (for which there is basically no lineup).


Don't mean to thread-jack but...HF has 2 lines? Heading there in a couple weeks with wife and toddler and am hoping not to spend 2 hours in line.


One for bottles, the other for bottles with growlers. Bottle line can be fast (20/30. Mins) and the other even when short can take 1-2 hours... Damn foaming IPAs... Figure about 5-6 mins per growler, 3 growlers per person.
Is this new since they renovated? When I was there a year ago it was the same line for me just wanting some bottles as it was for the goober in front of me shuffling along with his growlers. Grr.


It's new.

They might not even have any bottles available in the fast-track line either. Last weekend they had the Peleg old ale and the Nordic Saison, which was a collaboration brew that they did under the Grassroots brand which was actually brewed in Alaska. Only the Grassroots could be bought in the fast line for some reason. Also, while you were limited to 3 growlers and 3 Pelegs a person, everyone could get 3 cases each of the Saison. You could also get the Saison in grocery stores all over the place, so they clearly made loads more of it than they did the other stuff. If all you wanted was it there was no point in going to the farm other than to poke around.
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Postby Kekumba » Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:56 pm

I think if there's a chance the bottle could sell out if everyone currently in the growler line maxed out on it, they don't allow people to buy it in the bottle line. Makes sense to me.

If you ask me there's no perfect time to visit HF (besides if you think a bottle is going to sell out...then by all means get there early). I've gotten there at 11am Friday on a holiday weekend and no one else showed up until 11:50. Two weeks ago we got there at 2:30pm on a Wednesday and were 15th in line. If we had showed up 5 minutes later that would have been 50th in line. Just show up and expect to be there for 1-2 hours.

Thread derailed.
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Postby toweringpine » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:29 pm

In response to Cass' original question... no I would not line up for beer. Maybe if there were a couple people in front of me at the cash register but that is about it. After reading these last few posts about lining up at HF, I all of a sudden have zero desire to go get any of their wares. I sure hope this trend never takes off in Ontario. I think the post about how the people at Vintages have managed supply vs demand and hype illustrates the problem. I love beer. I really love beer and I really love great beer but I just can't see myself driving to a relatively out of the way place and spending hours in line waiting to be able to purchase some beer no matter how good it is or is reported to be.

I guess if I was planning a beer themed trip and some of the planned events involved getting hard to get beer and scheduled in time spend in line as part of the trip I could sort of see it but there are a million different vactions I would plan long before this trip ever made it to the top of the list.

There are just too many good brews available without extra effort for me to justify waiting somewhere to get a bottle or two. I would feel like such a heel if I got to the front of the line after waiting for hours to learn they are out of what I was there for.

Everyone has a hobby and if yours is all about getting the rare beer no matter the cost in time then more power to you but I just can't understand it. I however am a longtime Nascar fan and can totally understand why many people just can't get into watching cars go round in circles even though it entertains me. To each his own.
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Postby A » Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:50 pm

Ceecee wrote:
A wrote:Regarding Cass' initial post, I was just at HF a couple of weeks ago and out of the 10-12 people around me only a single person was a local, and he was just picking up bottles (for which there is basically no lineup).


Don't mean to thread-jack but...HF has 2 lines? Heading there in a couple weeks with wife and toddler and am hoping not to spend 2 hours in line.


There was essentially no wait for bottles only. I don't understand why they don't pre fill a bunch of growlers before they open - it would speed up the process tremendously.

I went because I was relatively close but I don't think I would go again.

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