Plain old beer is looking like a thing of the past as new fruity-flavoured sours and many other creative recipes are turning attention to local craft beer.
“Some of the restrictions that were holding this industry back changed and jeez, has it ever exploded since,” said Will Lisson, president of Trans Canada Brewing.
“We’ve seen this industry go from very, very few to now I think we are over 30,” Lisson said. “It’s such a great thing.”
Lisson called it an “explosion” in popularity and he attributes this to a number of things, including taste and personal connections.
“All the different breweries in town allow people to do different flavors, varieties. There’s also that local connection. You probably know the person who brews that and sells it.”
Lisson said Winnipegers love to support local, a sentiment that Steve Nelson, manager at The Beer Boutique says he has seen in action. He said that the boutique opened in 2019, right before the heat of the pandemic, and it is the only beer boutique in the city that is privately owned.
“We look to serve not your regular macro brands but (put) a big focus on local product,” he said. “What gets us going is being able to help the local beer scene.”
Nelson said the growth over the last four years has been exponential and people seem to be loving the sours. “Those are very popular but we are also seeing a lot of uptake on ready-to-drink beverages as well, like a lot of coolers as well as ciders.”
As craft beer gains more popularity, regular beer consumption as a whole is actually down, according to Neil Reid, a professor of geography and planning at the University of Toledo who studies, writes, and lectures about the beer industry, and who publishes a website called the BeerProfessor.com.
“What we have seen is people shifting from mass-produced beer to craft beer and that’s because craft beer is simply more exciting,” Reid said.
Lisson said this that great news for local breweries as they can expect that the demand will not die down anytime soon. The future looks very bright for the industry, he added.
“With all the great breweries in town now that are doing some incredible things, I have a hard time believing it’s not just going to keep taking off,” he said.
— with files from Global’s Teagan Rasche
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.