|OCB Discovery Pack Spring 2011
a multi-brewery collaboration
promoting Ontario craft beers
I thought this was a very clever method of marketing and a sign of the commitment of the craft brewers in Ontario, who compete in the same market for the same dollars, to work together to collectively further their cause in general. These seemed like artisans and business people who got the Big Picture.
Once I got home I felt celebration was in order, seeing as I had just posted a personal best time, so I cracked open the six pack and began to see what Ontario had to offer. Although the six-pack is described on the OCB website as "a hand selected combination of great brews," I found the beers to be solidly crafted but not "great. This might be due to the fact that I have grown accustomed to the huge beers being produced out here on the West Coast which has resulted in me developing a taste for hops to the extreme. I would describe the Discovery Pack beers as "starter" craft beers for those just making the leap from the world of marcobrews to craft beer and not for those looking to have their taste buds assaulted by big hops and high alcohol.
Despite the relatively tame nature of the beers (in my opinion), my curiosity was peaked by the concept of competing breweries cooperating to package together and promote their products to further the cause of Ontario craft breweries. I have seen many "mixed packs" here in BC, but to my recollection they were always from one particular brewery and marketed by that brewery. I have never seen a collaboration between breweries here in BC in regards to packaging their products together for the betterment of the BC craft beer industry as a whole. I wanted to find out more about the OCB and immediately wondered why we haven't seen similar collaborative marketing here in our province.
I went to the OCB website and found out it to be a wealth of information. It appears that the OCB are a highly organized and professionally-run group, doing their best to work together and promote Ontario craft beer and craft beer in general. On their website they state,
"We're the Ontario Craft Brewers, 25 brewers dedicated to making great tasting beer, right here in Ontario. The reason we got together is to promote our fresh, natural, quality beer and agree on a commitment to excellence that everyone has to live up to.The OCB have even taken their collective commitment further, developing an OCB Brewer's Philosophy, signed by participating brewers and brewery owners, which sets out clearly the Ontario's brewers' dedication to art of brewing craft beer and supplying the consumers with craft beer of the highest quality, while supporting each other as Brothers in Arms, to further the cause of craft beer in Ontario. The OCB makes it clear on their website that they want to be apart of their communities and contribute positively towards the quality of life in those communities. They have successfully managed to lobby the Ontario goverment who have developed a $5 million, five year, Ontario MicroBrewery Strategy, that provides funding to the OCB "for marketing, training and other promotion activities" for the province's craft breweries. The Onatario government has also developed the $8 million, Ontario Craft Brewers Opportunity Fund (OCBOF) to help support and develop small to medium craft breweries in the province to compliment their Ontario Microbrewery Straregy..
We chose "Ontario Craft Brewers" as our name, because it speaks to the tradition of care and craftsmanship that we insist upon when brewing our beer. It's taste that we're obsessed with, and taste that distinguishes us from other beers, so naturally our slogan is "Taste. The difference."
The OCB have utilized this funding, along with the fees/dues they charge their members, to develop many advanced and diverse methods of promoting their beers. They have had a free iPhone app developed, that helps consumers track down craft beer in Ontario and have podcasts, entitled "Ontario Brewer". They also organize brewery tours for member breweries, run radio spots, produce videos relating to craft beer, organize the Ontario Craft Beer Week...the list goes on and on. Their website is full of educational information about Ontario craft breweries, craft beer, beer styles, cask beer, interactive tasting guides, maps to liquor stores/retail outlets, local pubs and restaurants that offer craft beer, a "Discovering Our Beer Guide" and recipes using Ontario craft beer. They even have an on-line (printable) press kit full of background information, facts and statistics relating the the Ontario craft beer industry. I highly recommend it to any beer geek heading out to Ontario and, for that matter, anyone who is interested in craft beer in general, as there are many educational tools and links to beer resources and interactive tools on the site. I literally could have spent hours on there poking around, following the links and reading about Ontario craft beer and craft beer in general.
|OCB Craft Beer Style Guide (1st 2 pages) included in the
Discovery Pack Spring 2011