Five things I want to see for 2014
- A brewpub FINALLY opens in Manitoba. If Kenora can have Lowbrew Co (I don't know how many times telemarketers have pronounced my name like that) or Minot can have Souris River Brewing (Sir-us, not souris all French like, unfortunately), then I believe that Manitoba can have its first brewpub in over a decade. I'm hoping Portage Ave BrewWorks happens, and I think it will, but it's just a matter of time.
- MLCC treating beer more like a fine beverage instead of some sort of malted barley piss. The MLCC was bringing in a crap load of new and interesting beers for the longest time but then the MLCC was merged with the Lotteries Commission, and now there's less emphasis on bringing quality beers to Manitoba and more emphasis on stamping out binge drinking. Manitoba has a problem with overconsumption, mostly fuelled by social issues and whatnot, but it hurts the beer geek a bit. Higher beer prices come out of it to try to deter alcoholism (when in reality it only cuts into a family's budget more: spend more on beer, less on nutritious items). But I'm going off topic.. One night recently I tried to special order probably 4-5 different beers, for EVERY single beer I was told "we can't order that in". Which leads me to trading beer with friends, which in some sense is still illegal in this day and age. I want Beau's, Dieu du Ciel, St Ambroise, etc, but will that ever happen? Nope.
- Speaking of which, now that wine shipping is legal in Canada, beer shipping should be legal as well. I would love to see a beer retailer open up an online website and give consumers the option to buy Paddock Wood, Dieu du Ciel or other brands of beers not traditionally found in all 10 provinces. Considering that when I do receive a package 90% of the time, I get asked for a piece of ID and have to sign for it, it's not like beer is going to get in the hands of kids, plus how many kids are going to afford to buy beer online PLUS the cost of shipping, shipping isn't cheap, but I would spend $100 on an order EASILY if given the option. This will never happen as long as there's the MLCC/LCBO.
- Nano and micro distilleries. I love Saskatchewan's Lucky Bastard Distillery because they're a homegrown distillery wanting to create the purest spirits on the prairies, real rye whisky, vodka and even Saskatoon berry liqueurs. I'd love to see a microdistillery in Manitoba that uses Manitoba barley, rye and wheat. We have some of the best agricultural scene in all of North America so we should be using it more!
- I've been dreaming of this for 6 years or so now.. boutique beer stores. We have private boutique wine stores, but nothing to do with beer. The craft beer scene still hasn't really caught on in Manitoba. Part of it has to do with pubs not wanting to experiment so they stick with the same ol/same ol piss that sells the best, but the microbreweries need to invest more money in marketing beer. Sure Farmery's beer isn't truly made in Manitoba but every single time I go to a pub, I see someone asking for a pint of Farmery Lager, why? Because they put money into marketing and people are intrigued. Anywho.. I would absolutely see a small gourmet grocery store that sells only Manitoban products, like Trappist cheeses by the monastère south of Holland, organic local meats, spices, etc.. well we already have a small number of shops that do that already, but imagine if they were allowed to sell "Made in Manitoba" beers and wines. The local small town corner store is allowed to sell beer and spirits if there's no MLCC/vendor in town. I would love to pick up a bottle of Half Pints with some bison. The Liquormarts Express are a great start but poorly implemented, I want to be able to buy the beer and food at the same time, not two stops. But here I'm ranting again..
None of this will happen in 2014, but hey, I'll dream. I believe we should be investing in Manitoba, and some of these ideas are ways we can put money back in our own community.. it's a start.