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Breweries closing and/or restructuring and/or bought out

Discuss anything and everything about craft brewers from Ontario here.

Moderators: Craig, Cass

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Craig
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Post by Craig »

A couple years back, they kept the Highlander branding on their flagship beers, but changed the name of the brewery.

https://ridgerockbrewco.ca/blogs/indust ... er-brewing

Seems like they left the old branding website and social media up too, but just stopped posting to them, so it's pretty confusing in general.

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S. St. Jeb
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Post by S. St. Jeb »

seangm wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 3:37 pm When did they rebrand? I swear I just bought some of that Highlander Smoked Porter the other day. Indeed it's currently listed in the LCBO right now.
It is a little confusing. Here's a couple of items to help explain.

Highlander Brew Co. Rebranding as South River Brewing (2020 November 13)

United Craft and New Ontario Brewing Sign Production Agreement for Highlander Brew Co. Brands (2020 December 4)


How are we going to know these things without Canadian Beer News? :(

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S. St. Jeb
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Post by S. St. Jeb »

Cass wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2024 8:22 pm South River Brewing:

https://southriverbrewing.ca/
IMPORTANT ANNOUCEMENT! It is with heavy hearts that we announce the closing of South River Brewing Co. As I reach my 20th birthday (Feb 29) I feel that it is time to take a break and after consultation with partners we have decided to close the operation. We have been negotiating with a series of buyers over the last year and are still in talks with several groups. However, we are uncertain that these discussions will yield a positive result in the near term. We want to assure you that we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible for everyone involved. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all agencies and institutions that helped us get as far as we have and who have supported us though a very difficult last 4 years. As well, we are grateful for the trust, confidence and support of our customers and fellow brewers for whom we have manufactured and canned product. I am especially grateful to my partners Martin and Bernie Liehs whose patience, engineering skills and technical support have been the essential elements in keeping the operation going. We are especially grateful to our operations team at the brewery who have managed to deliver very efficient results, fantastic quality product, some innovative new products as well as stellar initiatives to develop new business. Our retail store will remain open until February 29, 2024. Please stop in and take advantage of some great savings on the beer you love! We are truly grateful for all the support and assistance that has been provided. Thank you again for your support and understanding. Dwayne Wanner President South River Brewing Co
I thought I might make one last order from them, but on their website, 12 out of 13 beers show as sold out.

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MatttthewGeorge
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Post by MatttthewGeorge »

seangm wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 3:37 pm When did they rebrand? I swear I just bought some of that Highlander Smoked Porter the other day. Indeed it's currently listed in the LCBO right now.
Highlander is brewed at New Ontario in North Bay. South River Brewing is their old physical location.
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seangm
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Post by seangm »

Thanks for the info everyone, think I've got it now. Not confusing at all haha. Just happy to know the Smoked Porter should stick around seeing as it's brewed at New Ontario.

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Post by arjun756 »

what's the actual reason behind the closing of these many in this indusrty?

:o

JasonTremblay
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Post by JasonTremblay »

arjun756 wrote: Tue Jan 30, 2024 2:37 pm what's the actual reason behind the closing of these many in this indusrty?

:o
It’s the sum total of lots of things.

Input costs for breweries skyrocketed in the early days of the pandemic and haven’t come down much.

Commercial and industrial rents have gone up.

Shroom and weed stores all over the place. You can get bent for cheap.

Craft has a bit of an “it’s for old and generally white guys” problem.

Most of the industry didn’t reach out to diverse communities (breweries that did tend to be doing OK).

Bars and restaurants are also feeling squeezed, so they’re being a little slow to pay and they’re looking for unsustainably cheap prices.

There’s also been a slow simmering exodus of talent, particularly in sales and marketing, out of craft brewing which ties into some previous points.

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Post by midlife crisis »

JasonTremblay wrote: Thu Feb 01, 2024 12:54 pm Craft has a bit of an “it’s for old and generally white guys” problem.
Really? Every time I go to a craft brewery, I feel like I'm the oldest guy in the room, by far. Lots of young people, many with families. Maybe I only go to the good craft breweries. :)

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Cass
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Post by Cass »

BlogTO reporting that Louis Cifer is closing in the spring, although does not cite a source.

https://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2024/0 ... o-closing/

I don't think they will be missed by serious beer fans.

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Cass
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Post by Cass »

Cassel Brewery closing:

https://casselbrewery.ca
Twelve years ago today, alongside Benjamin Bercier and Michel Racine, I embarked on a journey aboard the craft beer train, becoming the 8th brewery in eastern Ontario. Throughout the years, we forged countless friendships and were fortunate to have exceptional employees by our side.

While Michel played a crucial role in our early stages, familial and career commitments led him to depart in 2015. We extend our heartfelt thanks for his invaluable contributions, including the creation of our first logo—a milestone etched vividly in memory.

Our aspiration was clear: to see our beers on every LCBO shelf in the province. Despite the growing competition, our unwavering determination fueled our pursuit of this goal.

Many of you are aware of the financial challenges we’ve faced. In December 2018, confronted with the choice of closure or transition to a pub setting, our dedicated private investors, to whom we owe immense gratitude, enabled us to pursue the latter. Special thanks are due to Brian & Terry Lafleur whose financial support made this transition possible.

Subsequently, Benjamin chose a different path, relocating to Saskatchewan with his spouse. I’d like to extend my utmost appreciation to Benjamin who dedicated many years of his life to this great project. We had our moments of disagreement but we always ended up reaching a middle ground. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

In January 2019, renovations commenced at 2 Racine St., culminating in our reopening in July of the same year. Initial months of operation signaled positive momentum, affirming our decision’s soundness. However, the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020 precipitated a profound downturn. Since then, each day has presented formidable challenges.

Over a million liters of beer, distributed across bottles, cans, and kegs, symbolize the immense effort invested. Countless kilograms of grain, hops, and billions of yeast colonies underscore the magnitude of our endeavor.

Regrettably, the time has come to announce the closure of Cassel Brewery Company.
Despite steadfast efforts to restore financial stability, circumstances dictate this difficult decision.

Business success is often determined by net profit margin. I consider Cassel Brewery a success, money aside obviously. The journey of the past twelve years has enriched me with invaluable experiences and opportunities, shaping the entrepreneur I am today.

To our loyal patrons, whether regulars or chance visitors, I extend sincere gratitude. It has been an honor to occupy a place in your refrigerators and glasses, enhancing summer evenings and winter nights alike.

To the craft beer community, I express profound appreciation for your camaraderie and support—a rare quality in today’s competitive landscape.

Special acknowledgment is owed to Nicolas Malboeuf of Tuque de Broue, whose assistance prolonged our journey, albeit ultimately without the desired outcome.

In reflecting on this chapter’s closure, I am filled not with regret, but with a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

Thank you for being part of this remarkable journey.

CHEERS!

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El Pinguino
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Post by El Pinguino »

I never managed to try any Cassel beers. it does feel a bit weird having Ontario breweries open and close without having ever sampled their goods.

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Tapsucker
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Post by Tapsucker »

El Pinguino wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 3:00 pm I never managed to try any Cassel beers. it does feel a bit weird having Ontario breweries open and close without having ever sampled their goods.
I'm not sure I've even heard of Cassel. It makes me wonder if their outcome might have a bit to do with having been invisible to followers of the Ontario scene like me, let alone more casual observers. Were they even available in the GTA catchment area? Not that it would be a must, but it might have helped build some volume.
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Post by sofakingdrunk »

El Pinguino wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 3:00 pm I never managed to try any Cassel beers. it does feel a bit weird having Ontario breweries open and close without having ever sampled their goods.


I’ve never even heard of them.

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Craig
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Post by Craig »

I'm surprised you guys haven't heard of Cassel. They were one of the first in the wave of craft breweries in the Ottawa area after Beau's. I don't think they had huge distribution outside of that area, but they have been in the LCBO a few times, been in festivals, done some collabs with other brewers and such. Heck, back when they opened they even made and account here and posted a few times.

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MatttthewGeorge
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Post by MatttthewGeorge »

Yeah I'm surprised as well, as they've been around for 12 years, as the press release says, and have a couple of listings at the LCBO.

I had a few of their beers, nothing noteworthy. The Caboose IPA was ok for a WC I guess.
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