A Cranky Rant - The Woods Ale House vs the Other Guys

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For someone who is supposed to be blogging about cranky things related to beer, I sure don't bitch often lately, do I?! Well I'm peeved off right now.

The folks over at Paddock Wood have been one of the pioneers of prairie beer (as in prairie beer that doesn't suck) for several years now. Paddock Wood's beer is accessible all over the country and people who drink Paddock Wood really love the product.

Some breweries eventually start up a brew pub or restaurant to compliment the line of beers that they sell. Mill Street does it - they have THREE brewpubs in Toronto and Ottawa already! The idea of being able to sample a wide variety of a brewery's products, pairing it with a dish of food AND influencing friends to do the exact same thing is just simply amazing.

This is what Paddock Wood is doing now with The Woods Ale House, starting up their own ale house where beer geeks can sample Paddock Wood's fine products and enjoy the company. You see though, this angered the owners of a few pubs in Saskatoon. Why did this anger the pub owners? They felt that Paddock Wood was encroaching on their territory with the possibility of losing customers to The Woods. In a city like Saskatoon, I don't understand how a pub owner could possibly believe that another pub would force them out of business. Frankly, the fact that The Woods is opening up is amazing for Saskatoon business as it will get people to TRY new beers, and likely will request it when they visit other pubs.

To me, this could possibly shoot the pubs' in the foot as they're specifically no longer ordering in the product JUST BECAUSE a brewery is doing a brew pub? One thing about pubs in 2012 is that people on the prairies are JUST STARTING to get into craft beer.. they will go down to a pub and ask for "what's a local beer you recommend?" But seeing since one of the only other local options is Great Western, there's not much choice the pub can give. "Oh, well.. Great Western Brewhouse Pilsner is.. alright, would you like to try that?" No. The people I know who want to try something new at a pub prefer to try something that tastes different, not the same as every other beer on the market. As they say - beer is the new wine.

Well it's the pubs' loss for no longer selling Paddock Wood's products in the first place. I personally judge a pub by its cover, by cover in this case - beer selection. If the best beer they serve is Rickard's White, I'm not generally going to return, however - if the best beer is a local IPA, I generally do return.. again and again.. with friends! That brings more money to the bar, and instead of telling friends to never visit said pub, I'd be telling them to go to it, and it ends up being my go to hangout joint to savour beer..

Look at it this way.. Lots of breweries now have brew pubs or restaurants as part of the establishment now days, three in particular I can think of on top of my head are Dieu du Ciel in Montréal, Mill Street in Toronto and Howe Sound in Squamish, BC. When each of these respective breweries decided to produce their own beer (or move from brewpub to brewery), how many pubs did you see boycotting said breweries because they were competing in their own field? Probably close to none a few (Howe Sound has let me know that at first when they opened their brewpub, some pubs boycotted their beer, but quickly reversed the decision). Go to Toronto, visit a patio in the summer and you quite often see patio swag (ie bar glasses, umbrellas, coasters) sponsored by Mill Street themselves! So with The Woods bringing an Ale House to Saskatoon, it's not going to ruin the other pubs.. unless if Saskatoon's pub scene is so horrible that The Woods is the first pub that doesn't suck.. but I wouldn't know.

It's just bad business and bad politics to decide to stop selling a very popular local brand of beer because of this. If Fort Garry were to open up a brew pub in Winnipeg like they wanted to, would you see restos on Osborne refusing to sell the beer? No, because Fort Garry Dark is one of the best selling pub beers in all of Manitoba, getting rid of a beer that gives you decent sales revenue is taking money out of your own pocket.

Do Saskatoon pubs really suck that much that they have to shit-list Paddock Wood's products because they feel threatened? That's an actual question to beer fans in Saskatoon because I've only been to Saskatoon three or four times and each time was at a chain restaurant or non-pub restaurant that all served only Great Western.

I wish all the luck to Steve & the fine folks over at Paddock Wood on their launch of The Woods! I wish there was something like that in Brandon.. maybe one day. Just being in Brandon.. I've seen beer tastes change dramatically over past few years. People are now demanding Half Pints products more than ever, forcing pubs and even diners to start stocking it.. because hey.. it's good business and it keeps the clientèle happy.

Check out this video from CBC Saskatchewan regarding various Saskatoon pubs' news that they will no longer stock Paddock Wood's products (8:40 into the video): LINK (CBC Saskatchewan - Sept. 26, 2012)

Also check out this video from Global Saskatoon: LINK

http://www.paddockwood.com
http://www.woodsalehouse.com/
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