Update: The Ontario Craft Beer association just released this press release.
Update 2: Looks like EVERYONE was blind-sided by this. A note from Flying Monkey.
It looks like the Beer Store is trying to regain faith from the public after the recent spat over the 2001 deal with the LCBO. They will now be allowing local breweries to become part owners of the company.
Small breweries will be able to purchase shares at a relatively affordable price based on how much beer they produce and will pay the same fees as the big 3 to list in the Beer Store.
Ben said it best this morning on Twitter:
Jan 7, 2015: the day glib beer writers had to scratch “foreign-owned” from our go-to list of anti-Beer Store rhetoric.
— Ben Johnson (@Ben_T_Johnson) January 7, 2015
Labatt Breweries, one of the major owners of The Beer Store, had this to say:
“The Beer Store is truly becoming Ontario-owned,” Labatt Breweries Canada President Jan Craps.
To be honest that quote is a bit off as the majority owners will continue to be the big three international companies and local breweries will only be able to purchase E & F level shares, meaning they wont have any major voice in decisions the company makes.
They also made a concession that micro breweries will be able to stock their wares at the 5 Beer Stores closest to their brewery for free. Not sure how much this will help as many breweries are in very rural areas due to the high cost of space in major cities.
This is a small step forward and I will always applaud any movement in a positive direction but there is still a lot more to be done.
Baby steps as they say.