I attended the Brooklin Beerfest last week. It’s become a big annual event (actually, there were two this year) put on by Brooklin’s 1847 Wine & Beer Bistro. The event takes up not only the entire bistro, but also Grass Park across the street. They had a good assortment of craft brewers on hand, including Mill Street, Flying Monkeys, Old Flame, Amsterdam, Beau’s, Brock Street Brewing Co., Waterloo, and Smithworks. There were even a couple of wine vendors, each with a selection of wines to try.
Did you notice I said “craft brewers”? It was revealed a couple weeks ago that Mill Street was bought by Labatt Breweries. People were quick to call out Mill Street as not being a “craft brewery” any more. Which may be technically true, but Mill Street still makes some damn fine beers, with my favourites being their Organic and 100th Meridian Amber Lagers.
I took time to talk to the fellow working the Mill Street booth about Labatt’s acquisition. Owen, who works in marketing for Mill Street, told me that as part of the sale to Labatt Mill Street has 5-years of complete control over their beers. He called the deal a “distribution deal”, stating that the deal only affects Mill Street’s distribution for the time being. He was clearly excited about Mill Street’s opportunities under the deal (what marketing guy wouldn’t be?), which includes being available at the
SkyDome Rogers Centre (yay for good beer at Jays games!) and rapid plan to expand U.S. distribution from 7 states to 42.
Apparently, when Molson bought Creemore, another terrific craft brewer, they left them alone to do what they do best. I really hope Mill Street is able to keep their craftiness intact.