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Ontario budget good news for craft beer lovers

happy friends drinking draft beer and clinking glasses at bar or pub

The Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB), the voice of craft brewing in Ontario, is applauding today’s provincial budget as good news for craft beer lovers and the locally-owned breweries. The OCB welcomed the focus on making craft beer more accessible and affordable through several significant changes, including:

  • Legislation that would let municipalities make rules about where alcohol can be consumed in public areas, such as parks.
  • Allowing sports fans drink alcohol at tailgating parties at eligible sporting events.
  • Extending the hours of alcohol service at licensed establishments and “by the glass” licences to a 9 am start, seven days a week.
  • Removing the required serving sizes offered at manufacturing sites.

“This is a great budget for craft beer lovers,” says Scott Simmons, President, Ontario Craft Brewers. “Ontario has some of the best craft beer in the world, unfortunately, the current retail environment has simply made it too hard to find. We are thrilled that the Ford government is finally changing that and today’s measures are another great step in that direction.”

Today’s announcements build on other recent measurements, such as halting scheduled tax hikes to keep beer prices affordable, and extending sales hours at taprooms, and retail outlets that have made it easier for craft beer drinkers to find their favourite beer. These changes, in turn, will go a long way to helping Ontario’s locally-owned craft breweries succeed, which will continue to drive economic growth across the province. Ontario’s craft beer industry now employs over 2,200 people with quality, local jobs across Ontario, especially in rural and northern communities, and have helped generate over 9,000 additional indirect jobs in additional tourism, construction, and agriculture opportunities local craft breweries bring. All told, Ontario’s craft beer sector generates almost $2 billion in economic growth each year and today’s changes are another step in helping them further grow and succeed.

“We applaud the Ford government for today’s budget, while working to expand consumer choice by making craft beer available in more places” adds Simmons. “These reforms to Ontario’s beverage alcohol system, which are long overdue, will mean more choice and access to locally-made craft beer on more local shelves; as well as even more jobs and investment by local craft breweries in the communities they call home.”