A Cider House Divided: Meet the Only Canadian Cider House to Operate in Two Provinces

By: Briana Tomkinson

The craft cider industry in Canada is small but growing. Consumers in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, are increasingly turning to cider when selecting alcoholic beverages, and the drink is trending upward in other provinces as well.

  Yet as one Quebec cider producer found, it’s harder than it seems for Canadian cider houses to expand sales into other provinces, even when their production facilities are virtually next door. 

  Sarah Cole Cider was founded almost five years ago by Pierre Bissonnette and wife Nathalie Laurin in small-town Lachute, just over an hour’s drive from Montreal. Bissonnette’s back-ground was in the textile industry, but he was ready to make a career change and set his sights on entering the craft beverage industry. 

  Bissonnette considered opening up a microbrewery but decided there was too much competi-tion in the beer industry. He flirted with the idea of making wine but decided in the end to ex-plore the emerging cider market. It didn’t hurt that he already owned an established orchard.

  For 23 years, Bissonnette had lived with his family on a sprawling equestrian ranch in St.-André-d’Argenteuil, just outside of Lachute, and he had always dreamed that it could be more than just a beautiful place to ride horses. The property features a sugarbush and a small vine-yard, but in the end, it was the orchard that inspired Bissonnette to reinvent himself as a craft cider producer. The cidery’s name comes from two of Bissonnette’s horses: Sarah and Cole.

  Contrary to some other Canadian cider producers, who have followed the craft beer trend of developing a large variety of creatively flavored products, Bissonnetted decided to zero in on perfecting a limited selection of distinctive dry ciders. He narrowed the recipes down to three: Whip, a European-style dry cider, Snaffle, which he likened to a Prosecco, and a non-alcoholic option cheekily dubbed Mountie, the nickname of Canada’s Royal Mounted Police.

  “Dry cider was missing in the market. Customers found most ciders too sweet,” he said. “The ciders on the market that were dry were tasteless.”

  Initially, Bissonnette focused on selling bottled cider in grocery stores and dépanneurs (what Quebecers call the convenience stores that sell alcohol), but quickly realized the difficulty of standing out on crowded shelves as a still-unknown brand. He decided to switch gears and concentrate on getting his cider into Montreal bars and pubs, and getting customers to try Sa-rah Cole’s distinctive taste.

“Our strength is taste,” Bissonnette said.

  Montreal’s bar and pub owners are a chummy bunch, and Bissonnette said he found once he was able to place his cider in a few top-flight locations like the Burgundy Lion pub and Bier-Market, and hotels like the Fairmont and Sheraton, it became easy to get Sarah Cole on tap in other local hot spots. “It’s a small world. Once one pub discovers us, a whole bunch follow,” he said.

  When Bissonnette submitted Sarah Cole’s flagship Whip cider to judges at the World Cider Awards in 2017, he didn’t expect much to come of it. When he won the Canada Sparkling Dry Award, it turned out to be a game-changer. Doors began to open for Sarah Cole, and Bis-sonnette began to set his sights on growth beyond Quebec. In particular, he hoped to break into Ontario, where sales of locally made craft cider grew 54% between 2015 and 2016. How-ever, cross-border distribution of his cider would be more challenging than expected.

  “If you have a vision to sell outside your own province, it is tough,” he said. “It’s the provinces that make the barriers.”

  One of those barriers was taxes. When he did the math, Bissonnette found that factoring the cost of paying taxes in both provinces would require him to increase the price of Sarah Cole cider beyond what the Ontario market would bear.

  In Ontario, Sarah Cole cider would be primarily distributed through the provincial Liquor Con-trol Board of Ontario, which regularly spotlights homegrown products. Although Lachute is less than a half-hour from the Ontario border, being on the wrong side of that line would exclude Sarah Cole from being featured alongside the locals.

  Strategically, Bissonnette decided there was an advantage in entering the Ontario market as an Ontario cider house, as opposed to a Quebec import.

  That’s how Sarah Cole came to be in the unique position of having not one but two cider hous-es, making it a “local” producer in both Ontario and Quebec. It’s been one year since Bis-sonnette took the leap and opened an Ontario production facility in Vankleek Hill, right across the street from craft beer heavyweight Beau’s Brewing, and he said the risk has paid off.

  “Cider sales are just not comparable between Quebec and Ontario. Here in Ontario, the people already love cider; you don’t need to convince them,” Bissonnette said. “In Quebec bars, there is often only one cider on tap. In Ontario, there can be up to four or five.”

  Bissonnette said there is also a noticeable difference in culture among Quebec cider-makers compared to Ontario. In Quebec, he said, the cider industry is very competitive and tends to be marketed like wine. In Ontario, more cider producers are taking their cue from craft beer.

  According to information on the cider industry released by the provincial government, there are now 70 businesses producing cider in Ontario. The craft cider industry is now estimated to contribute $12.7 million to the provincial GDP. Cider sales at the LCBO in 2017-2018 were over $11.5 million, an increase of 42% from the previous year.

  According to the latest data from Statistics Canada (from 2016-2017), while beer remains the booze of choice for Canadians, representing 40% of total alcohol sales—$9.1 billion annually—the market share of other beverages is growing. Wine sales are growing, and now represent 32% of total alcohol sales.

  On a per-capita basis, Canadians of legal drinking age drink an average of just over 200 cans of beer per year, compared to only 20 cans of cider. While the market share of ciders, coolers and similar beverages remains tiny in Canada, this segment of the alcoholic beverage market is dynamic and growing.

  Tastes have been gradually trending toward cider and coolers over the past decade, with an average annual sales growth rate of 6.4% in this category since 2007. Growth of imported beverages in this category was stronger than Canadian products, increasing 13.9% annually compared to 4.6% for domestic brands.

  Sales of ciders, coolers and other refreshment beverages in Canada totaled $0.9 billion in 2017, an increase of 8% year-over-year. Ciders and coolers are most popular in the Yukon, with 7.2% market share, and least popular in Quebec, representing just 1.2% of alcohol sales.

  In May, the governments of Canada and Ontario announced a joint investment in Ontario craft cider production through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to support cideries to expand into new markets and increase productivity.

  Canadian consumers’ growing interest in cider is now drawing attention from larger beer manufacturers, Bissonnette said, which is increasing competition in the industry. Canadian beer giant Labatt bought Quebec’s Lacroix cider last fall and is using its marketing muscle to edge out smaller players like Sarah Cole.

  Although Bissonnette has lost some market share to Lacroix since the acquisition, he said there is a silver lining: in promoting Lacroix, Labatt must convince Canadians to consider cider as a beer alternative, which could ultimately increase the number of consumers willing to give other ciders a try as well.

  “The cider industry has been sleeping,” he said. “No cider house has the money to put cider on the map like Labatt does.”

Fernie Distillers: Thinking Outside the Box

By: Adrienne Roman

The first licensed craft distillery in Fernie, East Kootenays, British Columbia, opened its doors July 1, 2018, and there’s a good reason why their vodka, gin and liqueurs are flying off the shelves. Husband and wife team Jillian Rutherford and Andrew Hayden dedicate themselves to expanding sustainable practices, preserving Fernie’s industrious history, and providing small-batch, high-quality spirits individually created with local, seasonal ingredients.

The Present Is The Key To The Past

  Fernie’s name originated with prospector William Fernie, founder of the Crows Nest Pass Coal Company, who, along with Colonel James Baker, was influential in the development of the first mine in Coal Creek, just east of Fernie, in 1897.

  By 1898, the Canadian Pacific Railway also came to Fernie, transporting coal and supplying goods. With the rapid growth in mining, logging quickly became the second-largest industry. Unfortunately, with its mainly wooden foundations, two tragic fires in 1904 and 1908 completely devastated the town, but it was rebuilt using brick and stone in 1910.

  Rutherford told Beverage Master Magazine how this relates to the distillery. “In Geology, looking at modern environments like beaches and reef systems helps to find and identify similar features in the rock record. The present is the key to the past. If we flip that around, we feel that Fernie’s past informs our present. We are here because of what Fernie used to be—a mining- and rail-influenced community—and it’s important to remember how we arrived here, not just what we are now. We decided to incorporate Fernie’s history in our branding because as great as the outdoor recreation is here, the town is more than a one-trick pony. We have history.”

A Focus on Fruit

  Collaborating with local talent who also support their community, Rutherford and Hayden understand the importance of initiatives in place that keep both the people and the wildlife of Fernie safe. With a large number of fruit trees in East Kootenays, local Initiatives like “Apple Capture” and “WildsafeBC” help to ensure appropriately controlled harvests. Fruit is picked and managed to avoid falling and rotting, which can attract large deer and bears to the area. The mash supply from the production of their vodka and gin also helps to feed local farm animals. 

Mixology Manifestos

  The bar and tasting lounge at Fernie Distillers has a welcoming atmosphere and unique cocktails, where traditional takes a sharp turn in favor of modern creations with a twist. “The big window into the production room gives our guests the opportunity to see the stills and other tanks,” Rutherford said.

  Plastic does not feature in any of their cocktail presentations. Instead, decorative garnishes are made from an array of fruit, including apples, kiwis, strawberries, lemons, oranges, and pineapples. “A really great garnish should be clever, it should elevate a drink, and it should enhance the carefully mixed flavors. It should surprise and entice, and most of all, it should look and taste fantastic. In short, it should be an integral part of the drink, not a limp afterthought,” Rutherford said.

  There are several interesting DIY garnish ideas listed on the Farewell Umbrellas blog post on their website. Their cocktail menu changes with the seasons and is known for its creative approaches.

  Andy Ward, Fernie Distillery’s bar manager, named the FD G&T as the most popular cocktail. Rutherford added, “It doesn’t sound exciting, but it’s so delicious, and a familiar and approachable choice. We get people from all walks of life visiting us, and not all are adventurous for the first drink. When they come back after a great first experience, they often branch out, maybe with a stinger or a martini.” The FD G&T is made with gin, lemon sherbet, lime juice, and house-made lavender bitters topped with tonic.

Tools of Transformation

  Recycled materials are seamlessly incorporated into a number of the distillery’s features.

  A section of the old Calgary Molson Brewery bottling conveyor belt acts as the front face of the bar. It was given to the distillery by a friend who reconditions brewery equipment. Repurposed doors are part of the decor. The bar shelves are refinished slabs of British Columbia Douglas fir, previously part of horseshoe pits where the patio now sits. Similarly, their bar top is salvaged British Columbia Douglas fir timbers from 1903, once used as power pole cross beams by AltaLink in Southern Alberta.

Sustainable Spirit

  True sustainability is much more than just a word. Visibly expanding its many branches through smaller steps, together with the implementation of new and innovative ideas, remains an absolute priority for the team at Fernie Distillers.

  They’re actively working to reduce their environmental impact in many ways, and hope that their efforts will influence others to follow suit. By locally sourcing ingredients and reducing their carbon transportation footprint, they’re building connections with their community, and in turn, supporting the economic structure of the area. The distillery has also gone green with their Yarai acrylic barware, and only use recycled paper bags for all the sales in their shop. Neighboring businesses have also abandoned plastic. Rutherford and Hayden believe that spreading the word about these initiatives will help create an environment where sustainable practices are increasingly accessible, better understood, and more easily implemented.

  A project in sustainability was Rutherford’s latest brainchild. She wondered what could be done with the distillery’s hundreds of continuously used barley bags. After speaking with the sewing room teacher at The Fernie Academy School, a progressive student project took flight. Starting in September 2019, students will work to reconfigure them into attractive reusable shopping bags, and 100% of the proceeds from the sales will go directly to the school.

Fernie Fog and No.9 Mine

  A Fernie Distillery best seller, Fernie Fog liqueur was born from the idea of creating a black tea and bergamot infused blend with just the right amount of demerara sugar and vanilla. “It’s versatile and unique, and has really struck a chord with our customers,” Rutherford said.

  Their No. 9 Mine Vodka is wheat-based and rich in flavor, acknowledging the history of the Fernie miners who toiled below ground during the mine’s prosperous operation. Although dismantled in 1958, the mine’s remnants still sit along the Coal Creek Heritage Trail. Visitors to the area can still view the conveyor building, decaying ventilation fans and blocked tunnel entrances. 

  Infused with juniper, citrus fruit, and botanicals, the distillery’s blog deems Fernie’s Prospector Gin, “a clean, pure spirit, which can be perfectly flavored by the distiller or mixologist, or enjoyed in its most honest and raw form.”

  The distillery produces new spirits and liqueurs seasonally. They recently released 5th and Park Damson Gin, made with locally grown damsons that are picked just 500 meters off the property in Fernie Gardens.

The Usual Suspects and The Oddballs

  There’s a little something for everyone at Fernie Distillers, from that refreshing daiquiri made with pineapple and green cardamom-infused vodka, to an old fashioned stinger on hand-cut ice. Looking for different and unusual? They’ve got that covered too. Try the vodka espresso, a smooth mix of their No. 9 Mine Vodka, Fernie Fog, cold brew coffee, demerara sugar, Miraculous Foamer bitters, house coffee, cacao bitters and nutmeg.

  Whether skiing the slopes in winter or biking the beauty of the Elk River Valley trails in the summer months, Fernie Distillers offers guests excellent service and products. Their success is fueled by the dedication of those who live and work in a vibrant and historic town dripping with myth and legend.

With less than 200 bottles per batch and one of the industry’s few female distillers at the helm, Fernie Distillers proudly recognizes and celebrates all that Fernie has to offer, one exceptional spirit at a time.

  Fernie Distillers is open every day of the week except Tuesday. Fall cocktail hours are 4-10 p.m. on weekdays and 2-10 p.m. on weekends throughout ski season.

For more information, visit their website at…https://www.ferniedistillers.com


A Guide to Some of the Best Canadian Beer Fests

By: Briana Tomkinson

The popularity of craft beer in Canada has fueled the growth of beer festivals across the country. Some, like Craft Beer Week events in Vancouver and Ontario, are primarily dedicated to showcasing local brews, while other festivals, like Montreal’s Mondial de la bière, are opportunities for beer-lovers to explore new tastes from across Canada and around the world.

Mondial de la bière

  At the 26th annual Mondial de la bière, held in May 2019, an estimated 80,000 visitors flowed through the kiosks at Windsor Station in downtown Montreal. Visitors were keen to sample some of the 450 beers, ciders, meads and spirits from at least 90 craft beverage producers—including 35 from Quebec.

  While the included the usual branded brewery kiosks, it also featured the Petit Pub where visitors could try a selection of beer varieties from eight countries: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the U.S., Italy, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Although admission was free, visitors could buy coupons for two- or four-ounce samples, ranging in price from $2 to $8 CAD.

  Quebec distilleries were a notable presence at the event, offering many creative tastes like les Subversif’s maple gin, produced in a former church in Sorel-Tracy; and Franklin-based Sivo’s rhubarb liqueur. Sivo was the first in Quebec to create a single-malt whisky in 2017 and is now known for its complex herbal liqueurs as well. Quebec’s first locally produced bitter Italian-style apératif, Amermelade, by Montreal’s Les Spiritueux Iberville was also available for sampling, along with the company’s Amernoir, a bitter amaro-style digestif with notes of coffee, cocoa, sarsaparilla, mint and orange.

  The event featured Quebec breweries proudly touting their sour beers. La Souche’s Canadian Brewing Award-winning Limoilou Beach beer stood out, in particular. The brew incorporates locally sourced ingredients unique to the northern Boréal forest, such as tart wild berries, Labrador tea and pine tips.

  The Mondial de la bière was founded in Montreal in 1994, and has become one of America’s most important international beer festivals. In addition to the original Montreal event, there are now three other Mondial de la bière festivals organized around the world, including one in Europe (mondialdelabiereparis.com), and two in Brazil. The events in France and Sao Paulo took place in late May and early June, and the seventh edition of the Rio de Janeiro Mondial de la bière (mondialdelabiererio.com/en/) is September 4-8, 2019.

Just wait, there’s more…

  If you missed out on the Mondial de la bière, don’t fret—there are similar events held across Canada throughout the year. Here are some of the most notable.

  Festibière (festibiere.ca), held in Gatineau in June and February, is another Quebec beer festival. The June festival drew more than 30,000 people over three days and featured over 300 beers from more than 30 Quebec breweries. The winter edition in February is more intimate, drawing closer to 10,000 people.

  In July, the Toronto Festival of Beer (https://beerfestival.ca/) pairs craft beverages with food and music. This year’s headliners include Ashanti and Ja Rule. The event will feature samples of over 400 beers from more than 90 brewers.

  Brewfest (http://brewfest.ca/) takes place in Ottawa in February and Toronto in March. The February event coincides with Ottawa’s annual Winterlude festival, a significant tourist draw at the famously frigid time of year. The Toronto event features over 150 beers from breweries in Quebec and Ontario, as well as gourmet eats from popular local food trucks.

  Alberta Beer Festivals (albertabeerfestivals.com) organizes six events throughout the year in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff and Jasper. Their Calgary International Beerfest, home to the Canadian International Beer Awards, is one of Canada’s largest beer festivals. The beer fest, held annually in May, features over 700 beers from more than 200 breweries. Another of their events, the Jasper Beer & Barley Summit, held in February, is a two-day mountain retreat at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, featuring food and beer pairings and seminars from top brewers, distillers and other industry leaders.

  In British Columbia, Vancouver Craft Beer Week (vancouvercraftbeerweek.com) is the event to watch. Held in late May and early June, it’s a 10-day party celebrating the city’s thriving craft beer scene, including a two-day festival at the PNE Fairgrounds in June, as well as events at breweries, restaurants and bars throughout the city. This year’s events included beer bike tours, tap takeovers, special beer pairing menus at local restaurants, and a three-hour sunset cruise featuring craft beer, snacks and a DJ.

  Another notable summer festival in B.C. is Farmhouse Fest (farmhousefest.com), held in July at the University of British Columbia’s 24-hectare model farm. Farmhouse Fest is an ode to farmhouse-style beers and ciders—the funky, fruity, peppery, tart, dry and sour. Participating breweries include local breweries as well as specialty producers from throughout Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Chile and Australia.

  August in the Maritimes brings the Seaport Cider & Beer Festival (seaportbeerfest.com) to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The two-day event features over 300 beverages from producers in 20 countries. This year they’ve added a new feature: the Maine Beer Box, a pop-up taproom in a shipping container featuring 78 craft beer taps from breweries in Maine.

  Another major East Coast beer fest is New Brunswick’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (http://frederictoncraftbeerfestival.com/) in March, which features over 200 varieties of beer, cider and mead.

  In remote Whitehorse, the Yukon Beer Festival (yukonbeerfestival.com) in October brings a taste of craft beer and ciders from around North America to delight beer fans in the Great White North. Last year’s event featured over 100 different brews.

  Some larger craft producers, like Beau’s Brewing in tiny Vankleek Hill, Ontario, have created their own marquee events. Beau’s Oktoberfest (beausoktoberfest.ca) has become a significant fall music and beer celebration, featuring not only Beau’s brews but also a mini-beer festival with over 50 rare or exclusive beers from Canadian craft breweries. The New Pornographers and Shad headline the September festival, along with Jenn Grant, Neon Dreams, Birds of Bellwoods, Caravane, John Jacob Magistery, and What If Elephants. The 2018 event drew over 17,000 people, and since its launch 10 years ago, has raised approximately $711,000 for area charities. 

  The beauty of beer festivals is the opportunity for brands to make a personal connection with beer fans, tell their story, and above all, to entice more people to taste the unique product they have to offer.

Gaining Ground in Grimsby: Mountain Top Hops

By: Adrienne Roman

It’s no wonder the International Herb Association named it the 2018 Herb of The Year.  The history of the Humulus Lupulus, better known as the hop plant, was first documented in the 1st century AD when its female cones were used for beer preservation on long nautical journeys from Europe. A flowering perennial with an abundance of uses, the plant’s hop cone is best known for adding bitterness or aroma to beer and is a popular crop choice among both small scale and larger commercial farmers in Ontario.

According to the 2018 market and acreage update from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Farms and Rural Affairs, this cousin to cannabis took flight in Ontario between 2011 and 2017, helped by boron-rich soil and the humid temperate climate.

After a notable decline in hop production due to disease and Prohibition in the early 20th century, Canadian brewers have traditionally relied on the importation of the majority of their hops from Europe and the US Northwest. With the explosion of the craft beer industry in recent years, Ontario brewers are once again enjoying the demand, and many are buying fresh hops from local sources whenever possible.  Whether appreciated for its culinary, medicinal or ornamental use, Ontario is currently producing over 30 aromatic and bittering cultivars providing brewers and consumers a variety of hop options.

Quality Over Quantity

Phil Barry decided he wanted to investigate crop options for his custom-built 18-acre farm in Grimsby, Ontario. Above all, the Burlington Fire Department Captain and Platoon Chief aspired to build a small-scale operation that focused on quality over quantity. Mountain Top Hops was born from the desire to grow a reliable local product and connect with his community. Having spent many years living and working in the farming community of Oakwood, Ontario, Barry decided to try out his first 2-acre hop test plot build in 2016. With some valuable direction from Kyle Wynette of the Tavistock Hop Company, third place winners of the 2019 Great Ontario Craft Beer Competition, he set up a plan and a soil-testing program with The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. Wanting to support Canadian businesses, he sourced his Waterford Lodgepole pine from British Columbia, and aircraft cable from The Good Rope Company in Oakville, Ontario.

Equipment and agronomics aside, Barry understood the potential risks of working with this often labor-intensive crop and the challenges he would need to address. “There were issues with time, commitment, careers, and of course the substantial investments in infrastructure and specialized equipment,” he said.

As with any worthwhile enterprise, Barry and his wife, Rebecca were confident that patience, combined with a solid foundation of knowledge, would balance out any of the difficulties along the way.  North American hops are often thought to have a higher resistance to Downey mildew than some of the European varietals, but tackling pest control for aphids and spider mites was more of an initial concern than soil fertility or disease.  His test build proved successful, and he’s expanded over the 2017/2018 seasons, resulting in wet hop sales to The Exchange Brewery in Niagara-On-The-Lake.  Mountain Top Hops also supplies pellet hops and is planning on increasing the hop yard to six acres within a few years. Their cultivars currently include Centennial, Newport, Cascade, and Cluster. According to the 2017 Hop Growers of America statistical report of acreage grown in the Pacific Northwest, Cascade remains at the top, followed by Centennial, Citra HBC 394, and Simcoe YCR 14.

“My favorite is Cascade, I love the citrus aroma, and in my opinion, I feel it’s the backbone of a great IPA,” Barry said.

Mountain Top Hops also grows the noble hop Hallertau, AlphAroma, Yakima Gold, Perle, and Crystal. With 1200 plants and 600 lbs harvested in their second year, they’re in a good position for expansion.

With breweries buying hops from all over the world, “the true challenge lies in consistently making a good quality product,” said Albert Witteveen, President of the Ontario Hop Growers Association (OHGA).  “It’s a maturing industry; people want to drink great beer.

Witteveen told Beverage Master Magazine Ontario is particularly suited for growing Canadian hops. “Geographically we’re not like anywhere else, our moderated weather between the Lakes puts us in a good position compared to other locations that deal with more volatile weather patterns. “

Locally Sourced

A greater appreciation of high-quality products has many Canadian consumers giving their business to smaller, more intimate brewpubs where they can enjoy a personalized experience and a sense of community. The food and beverage movement in Ontario has brewers exploring innovative recipes that are moving away from the mainstream, and sourcing local ingredients like malt, honey and fruit whenever possible.

There will always be an abundant supply of high-alpha hop varietals from the commercial producers in Yakima Valley, Washington, or Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, but with Ontario’s craft beer sales exceeding $300 million in 2018, the need for quality hops is rapidly expanding.  Ontario breweries are working on local experimental projects and increasing collaboration with brewing programs like Durham College’s Centre For Craft Brewing Innovation to highlight local brands. This state-of-the-art location features a 50-liter pilot brew line and lab, allowing brewers the opportunity to work with advanced technology and micro-analytical services, and “conduct scientific analyses to ensure the analytical and microbiological integrity of the beer, supporting this growing sector of the local economy. “

With brewers and farming communities developing craft industry networks, there’s also increasing support coming from New York and Michigan to promote some of Ontario’s distinguished brands.

More Than Beer

Microbreweries are forging forward and according to Witteveen, “Nano-breweries are gaining popularity, and farmers are seeing their longevity there. “ Even smaller in scale than a microbrewery, nano-breweries typically produce less than 3,000 barrels annually.  Farmers can now diversify their product line with the addition of brewing capability on their property, and simultaneously expand sales locally, regionally, and internationally.

With approximately 400 different compounds found in hop oil, it’s readily used in many products in the culinary and medicinal arenas that extend well beyond the craft beer market.

The lupulin found in the hop cone glands is recognized for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities and used as a pain reliever, nervous system relaxant, and antimicrobial. The plant-derived compounds present in lupulin are thought to influence the human endocrine system. Researchers at The University of Kentucky are looking at the promising test results from studies utilizing hops to control fructan fermentation in the treatment of laminitis in horses.

Ontario Values

Barry’s farming philosophy closely echoes the principles that are found in the fire service. Mountain Top Hops was established to give his three children the opportunity to better understand the importance of integrity, adapting to change, honest hard work, and patience.

Ontario farmers are rooted in these same values, connected to their land and to each other. Vital relationships of trust form when consumers understand where their products originate and get to hear the personal story behind the brand.  Last year the province of Ontario supported the craft beer industry with funding from The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, investing over $5 million in 16 microbreweries.  The 2018 budget has this support increasing to $150 million by 2021.

Locally bought hops are boosting Ontario’s agricultural economy, and the governments commitment to continue supporting the craft beer industry is allowing many local farmers the freedom to expand their operations, increase tourism, and create new jobs and opportunities for emerging local businesses in communities across Canada.

Nelson-Jameson and 3M™: Driving the Fight Against Food Allergens

By: Nelson-Jameson

With industry demand calling for new innovations in allergen testing, Nelson-Jameson is proud to offer 3M Allergen Protein Rapid Test Kits.

These kits are a qualitative immunochromatographic assay for rapid in-plant monitoring of specific food allergens, and are designed for accurate detection of processed and unprocessed allergen proteins. With results available in 10 to 12 minutes, these fast, easy tests can be used for clean-in-place (CIP) final rinse water, environmental swab samples, raw ingredients and finished food products. We currently have the following test kits available: Almond, Bovine Total Milk, Cashew, Coconut, Egg White, Fish, Gluten, Hazelnut, Peanut, Pecan, Pistachio, Soy, and Walnut. All test kits include 25 tests per kit.

Nelson-Jameson also offers 3M’s line of Allergen Protein ELISA Test Kits for both processed and unprocessed target allergen proteins. For additional information visit nelsonjameson.com or call us at: 800-826-8302.

Nelson-Jameson has been an integrated supplier for the dairy and food industry since 1947. Product lines include safety & personnel, production & material handling, sanitation & janitorial, processing & flow control, laboratory & QA/QC, and bulk packaging & ingredients. The company is headquartered in Marshfield, Wisconsin, with other locations in Turlock, California; Twin Falls, Idaho; York, Pennsylvania; Amarillo, Texas; and a sales branch in Chicago, Illinois.


By: April Ingram

Don’t want to leave the party to pick up the missing ingredients to make your signature cocktail or to try a new recipe? Wish you had options to save time, or you don’t want to head out into the elements to go pick up your favorite alcoholic beverages? Canadians can now enjoy greater options for their alcoholic beverage home delivery, including a wider selection of craft beverage products with Drizly.

In Canada, liquor laws are regulated by each province individually, and some have permitted home delivery of wine beer and spirits for decades. The original alcohol delivery service, Dial a Bottle, was taking orders by phone and delivering bottles before apps or even the internet existed. Today, the home delivery marketplace is flooded with options that make home delivery of alcohol nearly as easy as Uber Eats, and the competition is fierce, leading to lower delivery fees and extra service perks. E-Commerce companies are working with the complete inventory of local, leading liquor retailers and delivering them within 60 minutes to adults of legal drinking age at their homes and even to their offices.

Amazon for Liquor

Drizly, a pioneer and the world’s first and largest alcohol e-commerce marketplace is now launching their services in the city of Vancouver, the province of Alberta, and throughout 26 U.S. states. They’ve been called the “Amazon for Liquor” or “Uber Liquor,” and their approval to operate in Vancouver has been noted as quite the accomplishment, considering that legislative regulation has so far prevented the actual Uber from being allowed within the entire province. Drizly has already been serving consumers in parts of the neighboring province of Alberta for over two years.

Drizly works with local retailers, including Liquor Depot, to bring adults of legal drinking age a wide selection of beer, wine and spirits, with delivery in under 60 minutes through Drizly.com and the Drizly app.

By providing access to inventories from local retailers in each market, the service gives customers a wide selection of beer, wine and spirits at reasonable market prices. In addition to a wide variety of adult beverages, Liquor Depot’s range of popular soft drinks, juices, ice and other mixers, are also be available on the Drizly platform. Customers schedule a delivery or in-store pickup. The Drizly’s mobile app and website are deep wells of information, offering cocktail recipes, pro tips and popular adult beverage trends.

Delivery in Vancouver is a flat $4.99, and customers have to purchase a minimum of $20 worth of products from Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn to qualify for delivery.

Simplified Age Verification

Alcanna, formally known as Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd., is North America’s largest publicly traded alcoholic beverage retailer and includes a chain of more than 240 stores operating in Alberta, British Columbia, Kentucky and Alaska, with both Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn under its banner. They carry a vast selection of craft beers, ciders and spirits, some of which are not available in provincially run liquor stores.

Although other liquor delivery services exist in the area, Drizly’s verification software ensures that liquor is kept out of the hands of minors. Age verification made the service even more appealing to Alcanna when it was looking for a platform to sell its products on demand.

“Vancouver has been thirsting for everything that Drizly facilitates, not least online access to our vast inventory, an intuitive shopping experience and the convenience of delivery in under an hour. It’s a win-win in every sense of the term,” Fran Coons, Vice President of Operations at Alcanna said in a press release.

By equipping retailers with technology that can verify age and identification, Drizly helps business owners protect their liquor licenses. Their retail partners are provided with a device to scan barcodes on official forms of identification. Drizly’s proprietary ID verification technology enables delivery personnel to verify IDs with accuracy that goes well beyond a manual review. The scans collect the customer’s name, date of birth and the ID expiry date, and the device can determine whether the ID is authentic. Once age and identity are confirmed, the scanned information is deleted from Drizly’s records, so there is no concern about collection or storage of personal information. Retailers aren’t required to use the device and can choose to use the scanner for every delivery or only when employees suspect the customer is underage.


Provincial regulations alcohol delivery services are required to follow under their licensing agreement do not allow delivery services to store liquor themselves. Instead, they must take orders from a verified adult, then purchase the order from a retailer or general merchandise liquor store licensees such as Liquor Barn or Liquor Depot, and deliver the liquor to the adult who ordered it at a place where it is lawful to store or consume. The delivery service license in Alberta is considered a Class D liquor license and costs $200 annually. In British Columbia, licensed establishments are permitted to sell their products online and deliver them to customers only between 9:00 am and 11:30 pm and orders must be delivered on the same day they were placed.

Additionally, in British Columbia, anyone involved in the selling or serving of alcoholic beverages is required to complete “Serving It Right” training.  Serving It Right is British Columbia’s mandatory self-study course that teaches licensees, managers, sales staff and servers about their legal responsibilities when serving alcohol, and provides practical techniques to prevent problems related to over-service. This training is extended to and required for alcohol delivery personnel as well.  All Drizly delivery drivers are Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn employees, so they go through the same training as in-store staff, knowing how to recognize whether someone should not be served and when a customer may be a minor.