Georgia craft brewers are riding high after the state legislature in March approved a measure that lets them sell beer straight from their breweries. If signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal, Senate Bill 85 would go into effect in September.
Even before that, though, some had found another source of growth by exporting their amber nectars overseas, even to places like Germany and Ireland that have a long tradition of quality brewing.
But open markets are a two-way street, and Georgia breweries urging consumers to shop local may soon find competition coming from north of the U.S. border.
Canadian craft brewers visited Atlanta during a U.S. road show in March, working with the Consulate General of Canada to set up tastings and meetings with potential partners and distributors.
Brewers from the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario were attracted by the growing focus on craft brews in the state.
“We know how important the craft beer scene is here in Georgia. It’s that strength that attracted the Canadian brewers. A little-known fact: hops had not been grown commercially in Canada since the ’50s, until now. Like here (in Georgia), there’s a renewed interest in the craft brewing scene,” Kim King, communications officer at the consulate, told Global Atlanta in an email.
More than just marketing themselves, the Canadian firms learned about the overall supply chain. They went to retail stores and paid a visit to homegrown favorite SweetWater Brewing Co.
Breweries on the trip included:
- Big Rock Brewery – Calgary, Alberta
- Bulwark Cider – New Ross, Nova Scotia
- Bush Pilot Brewing Co. – Burlington, Ontario
- Driftwood Brewery – Victoria, British Columbia
- Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks – Richmond, British Columbia
- Pump House Brewery – Moncton, New Brunswick
Three of the provinces represented— New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario — are included in the Southeast U.S. Canadian Provinces Alliance, or SEUS/CP, which is holding its annual meeting in June to focus on trade partnerships. Georgia is also a member, along with five other states.
See the full catalog below: