This isn’t the first time I’ve spouted off on a “buy local” rant, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Throughout 2011, I traveled to the US on several occasions, visiting New Orleans, Boston, Las Vegas (more times than I care to count, but that’s where most trade shows take place), New York City and the outskirts of Phoenix (technically, Chandler). I found support for local beers in every city, although the Vegas Strip is a little shallow in its support of craft beer (Sin City Brewing has its own bars along the Strip, though). Even in the middle of nowhere on a resort in Chandler, where I expected to find nothing but Bud, Miller and Coors, there was Four Peaks Kilt Lifter on tap.
From sports bars to gastropubs (like NYC’s Brickyard Gastropub, which I had the opportunity to visit during a two-day trip to the Big Apple; thanks, Sandra), the local licensed establishments clearly showed their support for local craft breweries.
Back home in the Toronto suburbs, I found myself shaking my head after each trip. Although there are a couple of local pubs I quite enjoy visiting, I do so mostly for atmosphere and for a couple of imports they have on tap; certainly not for the craft beer available. At best, I get Creemore Springs or Steam Whistle; and although there’s nothing wrong with either brewery, they’re also the most widely distributed of Ontario craft beers. But try to find a County Durham ale on tap anywhere east of Toronto, and it’s nearly impossible. The only beer made in Durham Region, Ontario, and so far I’ve only found it on draught at Waterfront Bistro in Pickering.
This doesn’t seem to be uncommon in most Ontario bars, pubs and restaurants. For the few licensed establishments that do support your local craft brewers, cheers to you. Maybe you can educate the rest of the province.