Community Supporter Getting Short Shrift




Despite recently winning two medals, one a gold and the other a silver, for brewing excellence in Ontario, it would appear that the little brewery that could, won't ... won't be chosen, that is, to supply its own community of Tiverton with libation at its upcoming 2009 Old Boys and Old Girls Reunion to be held in July.

It seems that the reunion organizing committee has opted to go farther afield, instead of its own backyard. True, Steelback Brewery had its ups and downs under previous owners and was, at one point, forced into bankruptcy but, since the new owners took over, it has turned into the comeback story of the brewing industry.

One of the reasons being put forward by the committee is that cans are safer and more environmentally friendly and Steelback Brewery prefers to put its product in bottles and kegs instead of cans.

It's difficult to know how cans are safer than biodegradable cups that would be used with a keg situation and, isn't biodegradable also better than metal when it comes to the environment? At the 2008 International Ploughing Match held in Teeswater this past summer, hundreds of thousands of people enjoyed a cold one, poured from kegs into cups.

So, who exactly advised the Committee to take this tact of 'cans only'.

According to one source, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) recommended that cans were the better option at large outdoor events such as the Tiverton Reunion.

(next column)

14/04/2009 11:00 PM

Speaking with an AGCO representative in its Enforcement Division, the AGCO does not make any recommendations about what product should be used. "That is entirely up to the host of the event," said the source. "Someone in a local retail outlet (a.k.a. liquor store) may have made the suggestion but it certainly wouldn't have come from us."

"We could easily have taken the brewery to a larger centre," says President Ian MacDonald, "but we chose instead to stay with Tiverton, where we employ local people and even promote the town on our labels."

The company not only promotes the town on its labels, it also adds considerably to the tax base and supports many community events, including fundraisers.

MacDonald points out that the brewery also supports the community in other ways, investing in its people and economy. "I think this should go before the people of Tiverton," adds MacDonald. "We have no intention of rolling over, because we think this is wrong. In these recessionary times, in particular, we believe that we should all support each other in a community but aside from that, we stand behind our product. If this goes through and Steelback isn't afforded at least the courtesy of being asked to be a supplier, we see it almost as a slap in the face, which isn't just hurtful, it is extremely disappointing."

(Also read about Steelback's recent awards)

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