The ever changing drama of beer in Ontario

localMore stories this month as the government is accused of changing the law to circumvent a lawsuit, AB InBev is being looked at by the US Justice department for buying distributors, and AB InBev is also in position to purchase SAB Miller, meaning they will go from selling one out of every three beers in the world to almost 40% of the world’s sales (depending on antitrust and the selling of the Coors brands).  Closer to home, we had some good news and not as good.  The good…Forked River won their fight with the AGCO and will open an expanded retail outlet this Saturday.  The not as good, as you will have heard for sure, Mill St was also bought by AB InBev.

Some of you may have noticed changes here at The Mo already….and the reason that I say not as good is that Mill St has been a great partner for us, but it is time for us to move on. While I am sure that the beer making process will indeed remain the same as promised (although I am also sure that the buying power will mean a change in ingredient purchases), that delivery will remain the same, and that the end product will be similar if not the same, I think we lose a little something- like knowing the people behind the beer.  I am happy for the people that worked for this opportunity of course- they had a product, they built a brand, they expanded that brand and I think probably went as far as they could with what they had.  Now, they will be able to delve into the US market further, expand into Quebec, and build that brand even more, and of course, reap the benefits of what they had sown.  (I do know we have seen this before- think Oland for example as I do not think Keith’s tastes the same as the first Keith’s I had in Nova Scotia or for that matter, Oland Export does not seem to be the same beer that it was).  I think it is often the goal of many an entrepreneur to get the attention of a sure fire investor and grow their business, and as good as Mill St has been to us, I wish them all the best.  But sometimes, it is not always profit over craft- as can be seen a recent blog post from Seth Godin about what corporations are for- and it made sense to me and I think that is the way we have approached business.  Again, the guys that I have met at Mill St have been great to us- partly because of the size of the company I think, the personal touch.

The Morrissey has grown in our 6+ years of business.  We have certainly changed in those six years and I think, are almost who we wanted to be all along!  I think we have all seen the picture above somewhere in our social media feeds.  I am not sure if the math works out as easily as this, or that buying from a two man brewery in Ottawa means any more than supporting the 300+ jobs Labatt has in London, but as an independent restaurant, I think that the more we can support like minded businesses, the more benefits to ourselves and our guests.  We have tried to become more and more local with our buying, trying to point our customers to great local businesses as well, like Booch, Purdy Natural, or Patrick’s Beans,.  We have tried to make sure people know about great local events like the LLFF, the London Fringe Festival, or any of the number of plays put on my our local artists and patrons.  As we move forward, our plan is to do as much of this as we can as we do understand that an economy can work on a local level and that London has so much to offer.

Having said that!  Three changes will be coming to The Morrissey.  As we have over 150 Ontario craft breweries to choose from, and more popping in with samples weekly, we will no longer be tapping Mill St kegs.  Organic is already gone, replaced with Triple Bogey Lager Wednesday. One more keg of Stock to sell, which will be replaced with Great Lakes Golden Horseshoe Lager, and next up, Okanagan will be replaced with Walkerville Honest Lager and rotated through. (with the Mill St decision, the decision to lose our Sleeman -owned by Japanese company Sapporo- tap was also made). And for those wondering, Guinness holds it spot for now as they also supply our beer gas!  We will continue to carry some ‘macro” bottles for the foreseeable future, some of that future is in your hands though as you have certainly made it easy for us to make these decisions and have embraced beer owned by Ontarians.

Thank you to the people at Mill St and Sleeman for the past 6 years.  And thank you to you who have supported these hard decisions we have made!

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