Looking for the original Bar Towel blog? You can find it at www.thebartowel.com.

We have a trivia question in order to register to prevent bots. If you have any issues with answering, contact us at cass@bartowel.com for help.

Introducing Light Mode! If you would like a Bar Towel social experience that isn't the traditional blue, you can now select Light Mode. Go to the User Control Panel and then Board Preferences, and select "Day Drinking" (Light Mode) from the My Board Style drop-down menu. You can always switch back to "Night Drinking" (Dark Mode). Enjoy!

Breweries closing and/or restructuring and/or bought out

Discuss anything and everything about craft brewers from Ontario here.

Moderators: Craig, Cass

User avatar
distr0
Posts: 266
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:48 pm
Location: St. George

Post by distr0 »

2 more down. I don't think I've actually heard of either of them before this

Laylow:


Katalyst:

User avatar
MatttthewGeorge
Bar Fly
Posts: 946
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:45 pm
Location: Woolwich, ON
Contact:

Post by MatttthewGeorge »

Never heard of Laylow but Katalyst I had their NA pale ale... which was just ok by na beer standards.
I used to sell beer. Now I don't.

User avatar
Cass
Beer Superstar
Posts: 3839
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Post by Cass »

I never quite understood Laylow. It was in a very small space on College and I visited a year ago. There was no brewing equipment that I could see and all their beers were other people's taps. I guess they brewed at other breweries as I saw can and bottle pics on their IG. It was a nice enough place but felt more like a downtown bar than a brewery (which isn't a bad thing, as many breweries kind of feel the same).

seangm
Bar Fly
Posts: 607
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:44 pm

Post by seangm »

I also thought Laylow was just a neighbourhood bar, didn't realize they considered themselves a brewery. Katalyst, I've seen that name pop up but never came across any of their beers.

Economic challenges for craft breweries notwithstanding, I do wonder if the industry grew too fast to be sustainable anyway. We've lost some truly good ones, but a lot popped up that only struck me as trying to capitalize on a trend. Perhaps some of this consolidation will strengthen those that remain, and hopefully those that have weathered the past few years will continue to hang on.

User avatar
Napalm Frog
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon May 04, 2015 10:01 am
Location: Toronto

Post by Napalm Frog »

I think part of it may be the rapid growth of many breweries in a saturated market, but what is really being downplayed is the interest in other beverages such as RTD cocktails, seltzers, wines, etc as younger generation's tastes change or we become more health conscious.

As an anecdote, I just came back from a Korean vacation where they are seeing a shift from beer consumption to wine and whisky (specifically cocktails, eg, premade 'highballs', now taking up to 50% of the previous beer shelf space in convenience and grocery stores). The reason for this shift was because during the COVID lockdowns, those of drinking age were no longer forced to go to work events where beer was the norm, and they were able to drink more of what they were interested in. I think wine exploded right at peak COVID, with whisky following suit this year.

seangm
Bar Fly
Posts: 607
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:44 pm

Post by seangm »

Napalm Frog wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2023 2:13 pm I think part of it may be the rapid growth of many breweries in a saturated market, but what is really being downplayed is the interest in other beverages such as RTD cocktails, seltzers, wines, etc as younger generation's tastes change or we become more health conscious.

As an anecdote, I just came back from a Korean vacation where they are seeing a shift from beer consumption to wine and whisky (specifically cocktails, eg, premade 'highballs', now taking up to 50% of the previous beer shelf space in convenience and grocery stores). The reason for this shift was because during the COVID lockdowns, those of drinking age were no longer forced to go to work events where beer was the norm, and they were able to drink more of what they were interested in. I think wine exploded right at peak COVID, with whisky following suit this year.
Absolutely, I was wondering about that as well. Especially RTD cocktails and seltzers, I've noticed they've taken up a good chunk of shelf space at the LCBO that used to be devoted to beer. I go to Vic Park/Ellesmere a fair bit and the craft selection seems to have been cut down by a good 25% or more. Cutting overall consumption is a big factor too, I've seen a fair share of articles talking about how more and more Gen Z aren't drinking at all.

At the very least, and it seems a number of breweries have picked up on changing trends. Lots are making RTD cocktails, seltzers and even getting into distilling. Seems like that'll be the way forward for the foreseeable future.

User avatar
Cass
Beer Superstar
Posts: 3839
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Post by Cass »

seangm wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2023 1:36 pm Economic challenges for craft breweries notwithstanding, I do wonder if the industry grew too fast to be sustainable anyway. We've lost some truly good ones, but a lot popped up that only struck me as trying to capitalize on a trend. Perhaps some of this consolidation will strengthen those that remain, and hopefully those that have weathered the past few years will continue to hang on.
Running a business is hard, and to succeed you have to be good at it. I think many people were like "let's start a brewery!" and rode the wave of customers appearing at their door simply due to existing where there wasn't anything prior. I have long rambled on at CBA conferences to whomever that will listen that making decent beer will not be sufficient enough to survive, and we're definitely starting to see that now.

User avatar
Cass
Beer Superstar
Posts: 3839
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Post by Cass »

seangm wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2023 3:08 pm Absolutely, I was wondering about that as well. Especially RTD cocktails and seltzers, I've noticed they've taken up a good chunk of shelf space at the LCBO that used to be devoted to beer. I go to Vic Park/Ellesmere a fair bit and the craft selection seems to have been cut down by a good 25% or more. Cutting overall consumption is a big factor too, I've seen a fair share of articles talking about how more and more Gen Z aren't drinking at all.
With the small sample size of teens in my life, they definitely *do* drink, but it is a mix of RTDs and mass beer like Corona & Heineken. I have never seen them with a craft beer. But I think it's fair to say that people's tastes evolve as they get older and I'm sure today's teens will seek bolder flavoured beers as I did. But we'll see!

User avatar
Cass
Beer Superstar
Posts: 3839
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Post by Cass »

Napalm Frog wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2023 2:13 pm As an anecdote, I just came back from a Korean vacation where they are seeing a shift from beer consumption to wine and whisky (specifically cocktails, eg, premade 'highballs', now taking up to 50% of the previous beer shelf space in convenience and grocery stores).
This made me think about the last time I was in England and saw how popular ready-made gin and tonics from Marks and Spencer were. People would grab one with a sandwich and take it on the train or wherever they were going.

I wonder about this beer framework deal and how open it may become, and if spirt based RTDs would be included in convenience store sales, which would be a major boon for them.

User avatar
Cass
Beer Superstar
Posts: 3839
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Post by Cass »

Not a closure, but Covered Bridge is for sale for $370k:

https://www.probrewer.com/user/cbbrewin ... lassifieds
Complete brewery for sale in Ottawa Canada. 9 years in operation. Physical location with retail shop, tasting room and patio area, and production facility in approximately 3000 square feet of an industrial building. Lease is up for renewal in April. Landlord is keen to renew lease, which permits new owner to renegotiate lease or relocation is a possibility if desired. Equipment as part of sale includes 10 BBL brewhouse (20 BBL hot liquor tank, 10 BBL mash tun and 10 BBL kettle), grain mill and auger, 30 plate heat exchanger, 7hp glycol chiller with reservoir, 3 10 BBL unitank fermenters and 1 10 BBL brite tank, portable CIP unit, portable brewery pump, 3 head semi-automatic canner with twist rinser, 2 head keg washer, 2018 Nissan NV2500 ¾ ton delivery van, and more. Currently have 2 LCBO listings, 4 grocery store listings and 2 Beer Store listings.

seangm
Bar Fly
Posts: 607
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:44 pm

Post by seangm »

Cass wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 9:32 am
seangm wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2023 3:08 pm Absolutely, I was wondering about that as well. Especially RTD cocktails and seltzers, I've noticed they've taken up a good chunk of shelf space at the LCBO that used to be devoted to beer. I go to Vic Park/Ellesmere a fair bit and the craft selection seems to have been cut down by a good 25% or more. Cutting overall consumption is a big factor too, I've seen a fair share of articles talking about how more and more Gen Z aren't drinking at all.
With the small sample size of teens in my life, they definitely *do* drink, but it is a mix of RTDs and mass beer like Corona & Heineken. I have never seen them with a craft beer. But I think it's fair to say that people's tastes evolve as they get older and I'm sure today's teens will seek bolder flavoured beers as I did. But we'll see!
Here's hoping! However I've noticed people I know in my age bracket (elder millennial lol) have actually moved away from craft beer/beer in general in favour of RTD cocktails and seltzers. I wonder if maybe the industry jumped the shark so to speak with increasingly elaborate and expensive beers, whereas people seem to be seeking out simpler and/or what they perceive as healthier choices.

Now luckily this does seem to be reflected by the fact that most breweries are all-in on the classic, well made lagers and simpler styles; I recommend them to anyone who'll listen. You'd be surprised at how many people I still meet who turn their nose up when they hear the words "craft beer" saying that stuff is way too bitter or hoppy, seemingly never moving past that west coast IPA they tried years ago.

User avatar
distr0
Posts: 266
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:48 pm
Location: St. George

Post by distr0 »

Shit, this sucks


anthony9
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2022 9:00 pm

Post by anthony9 »

Sad to see Still Fields close shop.

Sad to see any brewery close, but selfishly for me, one that makes my favourite kind of stuff.

I haven’t heard much from Small Pony Barrel Works and hope they aren’t featured here.

seangm
Bar Fly
Posts: 607
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:44 pm

Post by seangm »

phat matt wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 9:38 am Just noticed that Little Beasts Brewery has been closed for 5 weeks now without an update. Doesn't look promising for them.
Good news, they just posted to their Instagram account and they'll be reopening. Dates TBD.

I believe it is under new ownership as I understand owner and head brewer Erin was stepping away, although I don't know definitively.

I am certainly happy to hear they're reopening though, as they've been a favourite of mine in Durham Region.


User avatar
tupalev
Seasoned Drinker
Posts: 1019
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 7:00 pm

Post by tupalev »

Cass wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 9:28 am
Running a business is hard, and to succeed you have to be good at it. I think many people were like "let's start a brewery!" and rode the wave of customers appearing at their door simply due to existing where there wasn't anything prior. I have long rambled on at CBA conferences to whomever that will listen that making decent beer will not be sufficient enough to survive, and we're definitely starting to see that now.
Preach - I was certainly listening! I've been saying the same for years now as well. There is oversaturation for sure, but there are also a lot of breweries that do not seem to have a solid business plan at all.

Post Reply