What issues is your sector facing?
“Consolidation – international conglomerates own most of the big breweries. It’s challenging to compete against these huge global corporations that have much deeper pockets and have more sway with customers like restaurants and chains. So that’s challenging for us. There have also been issues with commodities. There’s been a shortage of hops worldwide for the last two years, and barley has also gone up. There’s always a squeeze on your margins when costs go up. And of course the economy right now. People are thinking twice about spending, but luckily for us beer is a small enough purchase. People might not be going on vacation or buying a new car, but they will still reward themselves with something small like a great beer.”
What about opportunities?
“They abound. We’re starting to roll out across Canada. We’ve been in Ontario now for going on 10 years. We’ve been in Alberta for four years and we just started shipping out to B.C. last month. We’re excited about that prospect. We’ve had tons of inquiries from the East Coast as well but we’re just going to slowly develop new Canadian markets to make sure that we properly invest in them and support them with marketing and sales. There are lots of opportunities to grow domestically. Even here in Ontario Steam Whistle now sells up to $20 million worth of beer but we only have about half a per cent of the whole market. So we’re going to leave the export market for a while.”