Increased access will provide more choice for beer lovers and opportunities for craft beer businesses to grow
As of today, the Ontario government is allowing eligible local brewers to sell their beer at farmers’ markets. Expanding the farmers’ market program to include beer, announced in the 2021 Ontario Budget, is part of the province’s commitment to support brewers, winemakers and distillers working in the province’s alcohol manufacturing industries and to help them respond to the impacts of COVID-19.
By eligible, they mean “brewers whose full brewing process takes place in Ontario at their own brewery” – which is good news for beer lovers! This will likely lead to more opportunities for breweries and brews not readily available in the LCBO to reach the hands of beer lovers. With over 180 farmers’ markets in Ontario, that’s a lot of new places to get your favorite craft beers!
“Our government is committed to supporting job growth in communities across Ontario by standing up for our vibrant hospitality, alcohol and agriculture sectors,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “Providing local brewers with the opportunity to join wineries, cideries and distillers in selling their products at farmers’ markets is another breakthrough for the many jobs and families that are supported by Ontario’s diverse alcohol manufacturing industry.”
Allowing the sale of locally-made craft beer at farmers’ markets builds on other measures to help businesses respond to COVID-19, including:
- permanently allowing restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders, including mixed cocktails and growlers
- reducing the minimum price of spirits consumed at licensed establishments to align with the reduced pricing introduced for takeout and delivery orders
- allowing the length of time for temporary patio extensions to be set out by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
- permitting alcohol service on docked boats with a liquor sales licence
- giving licensed establishments and retailers more flexibility in using liquor delivery services
“Supporting local business has never been more important and our government is making it convenient for consumers to pair up eligible Ontario craft beer, wine, cider and spirits with all the fresh and delicious food found at farmers’ markets,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Supporting local producers shows our commitment to the province’s agri-food sector while creating more jobs for Ontarians.”
“COVID-19 hit Ontario’s craft beer sector hard and the Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB), the voice of craft brewing in Ontario, sincerely thanks the Ford government for its tireless work to support Ontario’s craft beer sector throughout the pandemic” said Scott Simmons, President of Ontario Craft Brewers. “Allowing the sale of craft beer at farmers’ markets has been a great next step in providing real choice for consumers, and more retail opportunities for locally-owned craft breweries at this critical time for our sector. It has truly been a win-win for craft beer lovers and locally-owned craft breweries alike and we are raising a glass to this important change which has been good for local jobs, good for consumers, and good for our communities.”