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Philip1
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Postby Philip1 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:51 pm

Cape Cod Chips used to be available at one of the big supermarkets (Zehrs?) but I haven't seen them in a while. When I lived in Ireland I was addicted to them so it's probably just as well for the sake of my health that they are no longer around. I've seen them on the continent (The Netherlands to be precise) too.

That brings up one of the things that I think people find frustrating and you see it when the LCBO is mentioned: It's annoying that products made close to the Canadian border (Cape Cod Chips, Goose Island beers, etc) aren't available here yet are widely available in Europe and who knows where else - maybe Asia too. (Saranac beers, brewed close to our border, are available in Asia). However, as a frequent traveller to Ireland and Europe I know that the beer selection at the LCBO compares favourably to most places I've been. I'd say only Belgium and the US are better. In Belfast the three best places are barely at the level of the average TBS and the vast majority of off-licences sell absolutely nothing that anyone on these boards would drink, just Eurolager and cheap cider. So whilst the LCBO has its faults - and I see nothing wrong with mentioning them - Ontario is still a pretty good place for the beer enthusiast and there's reason to believe it will get better in the future.
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Belgian
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Postby Belgian » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:12 pm

Philip has a balanced point, which is the USA products are frustratingly close to us, and yet the brewers likely have bigger fish to fry abroad.

We have a very uniform yet stiffly-controlled province-wide store system that is hard to penetrate with new product.

But whatever - the situation is showing sure signs of gradual change.
Last edited by Belgian on Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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cmadd
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Postby cmadd » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:23 pm

It's annoying that products made close to the Canadian border (Cape Cod Chips, Goose Island beers, etc) aren't available here


Just read that Founders' Canadian Breakfast Stout will be bottled. The name just adds insult to the injury that we likely will not be seeing it in Ontario.


:( it sounds so good.
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Cale
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Postby Cale » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:29 pm

cmadd wrote:
It's annoying that products made close to the Canadian border (Cape Cod Chips, Goose Island beers, etc) aren't available here


Just read that Founders' Canadian Breakfast Stout will be bottled. The name just adds insult to the injury that we likely will not be seeing it in Ontario.


:( it sounds so good.


It drives me crazy that the labels for KBS, and now CBS, don't even tell you what the damn letters mean. And by "crazy" I mean slightly bothered before I forget all about it 10 seconds later.
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cmadd
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Postby cmadd » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:38 pm

It drives me crazy that the labels for KBS, and now CBS, don't even tell you what the damn letters mean. And by "crazy" I mean slightly bothered before I forget all about it 10 seconds later.


the 10 seconds it takes to crack a bottle and pour it?
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ErkLR
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Postby ErkLR » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:57 pm

Philip1 wrote: It's annoying that products made close to the Canadian border (Cape Cod Chips, Goose Island beers, etc)


Have you emailed Goose Island to say "Hey, the LCBO buys for 10 million people, why don't you sell your beer there?" You may get answers that range from "meh" to "Metric? WTF?" to "The Federal import regulations are such a pain, we can't be bothered when we can sell to more places in the US".

I once emailed an ON brewer to ask why their stuff never got south of K/W. Turns out that's as far as they could afford to drive it themselves, and they didn't want to use the LCBO warehouse because they thought their product wouldn't survive well. I think they were right, it was Heritage and when they started regularly selling their product in London, it was often infected.
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Postby Kel Varnsen » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:51 pm

ErkLR wrote:
Philip1 wrote: It's annoying that products made close to the Canadian border (Cape Cod Chips, Goose Island beers, etc)


Have you emailed Goose Island to say "Hey, the LCBO buys for 10 million people, why don't you sell your beer there?" You may get answers that range from "meh" to "Metric? WTF?" to "The Federal import regulations are such a pain, we can't be bothered when we can sell to more places in the US".


I imagine that for a lot of smaller US breweries, that those answers are probably bigger reasons for why they stay out of Canada then the fact that the LCBO doens't want them. I mean if you are a company that only has a tiny share of your own domestic market, why would you try to expand to other countries and have to deal with things like language and metric label requirements and importing regulations and a different tax structure (all things that you would have to deal with whether you were selling in the LCBO or in 7-11), when you would probably get more bang for your buck spending that same money promoting your beer in your own country. I can't see why any brewer would even think about expanding to Canada until they had the continental US covered.
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Tapsucker
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Postby Tapsucker » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:23 pm

Last I checked, Canada's economy is smaller than California's. Any given province is a fraction of that. Just because there are passionate brewers who might take business risks, does not mean they are in a position to chase every little market and hope there is a return.

I do not chastise the LCBO for it's import policies, other than when they often make a greater effort to market foreign wines and beers while creating obstacles for taxpaying Ontario brewers who, like us, are ultimately shareholders in the corp.

Frankly, as much as I like some of the fantastic beers from other provinces and outside Canada, the only thing I expect from the LCBO is to provide a fair and level playing field for distribution of Ontario product. Favouring foreigners should not be an acceptable part of their mandate. The TBS already does that.

As for offering import product, I like the choice and the chance to experience great beers from elsewhere, but there are many things in other lands that I can't get here. What's the big deal?

However, I can say that the availability of good imports has probably encouraged local breweries to up their game. Competition is always good. As long as it's a level playing field...
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Ale's What Cures Ya
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Postby Ale's What Cures Ya » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:31 pm

elproducto wrote:I'm guilty of complaining about the LCBO, and I feel like most of my complaints are justified.

However my solution to not getting the beers that I want, homebrewing. I've been homebrewing for a year now, and I prefer my IPA's to pretty much anything I can get at retail. They are fresher, tastier and a hell of a lot cheaper.

Not getting enough sours? Brew your own.

Seriously I've all buy given up on buying anything from the LCBO but I'm also going to quit complaining about it. I'll support things like the latest Lindeman's release, or Red Racer, etc. But in the meantime I'll put my money into my homebrew, my family and friends will thank me for it.


Thanks Bartowel though, it is a great source of information... complaining notwithstanding.


Unfortunately home brewing isn't a feasible option for everyone.
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Postby matt7215 » Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:38 am

Ale's What Cures Ya wrote:
elproducto wrote:I'm guilty of complaining about the LCBO, and I feel like most of my complaints are justified.

However my solution to not getting the beers that I want, homebrewing. I've been homebrewing for a year now, and I prefer my IPA's to pretty much anything I can get at retail. They are fresher, tastier and a hell of a lot cheaper.

Not getting enough sours? Brew your own.

Seriously I've all buy given up on buying anything from the LCBO but I'm also going to quit complaining about it. I'll support things like the latest Lindeman's release, or Red Racer, etc. But in the meantime I'll put my money into my homebrew, my family and friends will thank me for it.


Thanks Bartowel though, it is a great source of information... complaining notwithstanding.


Unfortunately home brewing isn't a feasible option for everyone.


why?
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Postby Steve Beaumont » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:03 am

Cale wrote:It drives me crazy that the labels for KBS, and now CBS, don't even tell you what the damn letters mean. And by "crazy" I mean slightly bothered before I forget all about it 10 seconds later.


I'm not sure about KBS, but CBS is so called because of the legal implications of them putting "Canadian" on the label. Since it might imply that the product is made in Canada, the word is verboten. (Note the emphatic "Product of the U.A."on the label.) KBS, I would expect, probably has something to do with the bourbon powers.

Incidentally, for those near the Michigan border and not familiar with this beer, it is aged in bourbon barrels that have also held maple syrup, which gives it remarkable character. Simply an outstanding beer! (And the maple syrup is pretty aamazing, too!)
Philip1
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Postby Philip1 » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:08 pm

If things like metric were a major problem then many of the US beers would not be sold in Europe either. Although the EU is obviously a bigger market their distributors don't have the near monopoly reach of the LCBO. The link below shows the Goose Island beers sold by a company in England. Getting metric measurements doesn't seem to be a problem. If regulations for Canada, or Ontario specifically, are more complicated than for the EU thus putting off US brewery's from entering this market, then I'm going to guess that's the intended purpose of such regulations.

http://www.beersofeurope.co.uk/acatalog/Beers_of_Europe__Goose_Island_Beer_Co_656.html
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ErkLR
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Postby ErkLR » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:19 pm

Tapsucker wrote:Last I checked, Canada's economy is smaller than California's. Any given province is a fraction of that.


This is a key part in the equation of any talk of what's available here; that and population density, as someone came close to mentioning before. In a previous thread, someone stated how much better the beer selection was in Cali, which I imagine it is. The thing is, they have a much larger population in a much smaller area, thus distribution is much easier and the market is comparatively large. No matter what our model is for beer/wine/liquor distribution, that is a factor we won't overcome. I think people in SWO are fortunate to live so close to a couple large US markets. As far as producers, Cali has about 3x ON's population, for every great brewer we have, they have 3 just in Cali, and they have the population to buy the products.

I'm all for the LCBO making a level playing field for ON alcohol producers, even making it tilted in their favour. How do you think the LCBO is favouring foreign producers?
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ErkLR
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Postby ErkLR » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:31 pm

Philip1 wrote:If things like metric were a major problem then many of the US beers would not be sold in Europe either.


I threw that out there because it popped into my head, I don't imagine it's a major barrier, but any random brewery may not want to bother for any number of their own reasons.

Speaking of which, your comment made me do a bit of Googling and I found these labelling requirements. Interesting info. The UK requires labels be in British English, heh.

http://www.icap.org/Table/AlcoholBeverageLabeling
mistermurphy
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Postby mistermurphy » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:54 pm

In California alone they have over 220 breweries and the state has more people than Canada. Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America, it would be wise for more east coast breweries to expand into our market especially those that have already satisfied local/regional demand.

I think it all comes down to money though. If a brewery has production restraints and it's more profitable to sell down there, then there's actually an incentive not to come here.

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