By Medicine Hat News Opinon on August 11, 2017.
Craft breweries have splashed on the scene, all of a sudden, like giant waves crashing onto the beach one after another.
The Alberta government has gone all out with waves of announcements too, in support of the “new” industry.
“Entrepreneurs are establishing award-winning distilleries, breweries and estate wineries and meaderies right here in Alberta. Modernizing policies helps them to showcase their products, grow their sales, and connect with their local community,” a recent press release stated.
A meadery is a winery that produces honey wines or meads and food with a medieval ambiance, according to Wikipedia.
Craft breweries will also now be able to sell their product in farmers’ markets. It all sounds so local, folksy and homey.
What is driving this though? You almost start wondering if someone in politics has a connection to the industry or whether a lobbyist was paid big bucks to put this on the government’s agenda.
It would be hard to find someone salivating at the thought of a craft brew with a hint of apricot and raspberries or cucumber or more hops or oak. There are even experts appearing in the media on a weekly basis to discuss yet another craft brewery catering to another niche market with taste buds for an unusual beer. No doubt many people are enjoying the wide range. It is just that the response from government seems to have been disproportionately high.
All of this in a society that says you are breaking the law if you have a beer or bottle of wine in your picnic basket in a public park. We are so concerned about people having a beer with their barbecued hamburger in the park where they are picnicking but let’s sell the product in farmers’ markets.
In the 1980s it was not possible to enter a restaurant and have a beer or glass of wine before midday and certainly not without ordering food. The impression was only alcoholics would want alcohol without food and before lunchtime. There is still a little bit of that hanging around.
There were reports of officers standing at entrances to provincial parks actually inspecting picnic baskets to ensure someone was not trying to sneak in a bottle of beer.
“The government of Alberta continues to modernize and cut red tape for business and consumers. We are proud to support Alberta’s successful and growing liquor manufacturing industry. These policies provide manufacturers with a licensing framework that makes sense, reduces licensing costs and creates job opportunities by enabling business growth,” said Joe Ceci, minister of finance in the most recent press release.
The types of liquor licenses apparently needed updating to give manufacturers more options to attract customers to where they produce their product.
This all sounds really good for the industry. It would be prudent, though, to remember that it is the quality of the brew that is really going to have someone returning for more and probably not the note of “apricot” with the first sip.
(Gillian Slade is a News reporter. To comment on this and other editorials, go to http://www.medicinehatnews.com/opinions or call her at 403-528-8635.)
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