B.C. Beer Blog

The who, what, where, when, why, and how of B.C. craft beer

Creemore Springs Buying Granville Island

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Creemore Springs BreweryIt was announced yesterday that Creemore Springs Brewery (a Molson Coors Canada subsidiary) intends to acquire Granville Island Brewing from Andrew Peller Limited. No changes in Granville Island’s operations are currently anticipated. According to the press release, Creemore’s primary reason for buying Granville Island is to offer a broader portfolio across more markets in Canada. This offers the potential for both to become national brands.

Craft beer aficionados are concerned about what role Molson Coors may play in this. However, according to Ontario beer writer, Greg Clow, “Molson has taken a very hands-off approach to Creemore, similar to the way that Sleeman basically left Unibroue alone. The beer is still brewed in the same place on the same equipment by the same people.”

Granville Island BrewingThere is some irony in this deal. The raison d’être of craft brewing in British Columbia—begun by the likes of Horseshoe Bay Brewing, Spinnakers, Granville Island, and Vancouver Island Brewery—was to offer more choice to British Columbians than the Big Three, whose mass-produced lager dominated the market to such an extent that it was synonymous with “beer.”

What role did Molson, one of the aformentioned triumvirate, play in this? How hands-off will they remain? Won’t it be better for Granville Island to be owned by brewers, rather than winemakers?

The best-case scenario is that Molson Coors will remain behind the scenes and merely provide Creemore Springs/Granville Island with the financial means to expand craft beer consumption across Canada. This allows them to profit from beer’s fastest growing market segment without generating nearly as much controversy and suspicion from beer aficionados that creating faux craft beer brands and fictitious breweries has done.

Should Molson Coors decide to become more involved in the day-to-day brewing with Creemore Springs/Granville Island beers suffering as a result, they will just be further examples of craft beer compromised by the corporate mentality. The customer base will shift with the more quality conscious moving to, perhaps Phillips or Tree; they will be replaced by industrial lager drinkers who have discovered their taste buds and want to move towards something more interesting.

However, one thing is certain. Regardless of what happens, craft beer in B.C. is here to stay. With three new microbreweries starting up in the last year, there is no shortage of those wanting to offer us a better brew. Seeing what is happening in the U.S., there is ample room for growth in Canada.

For the original Creemore Springs/Granville Island press release, see Canadian Beer News. You can also join the discussion on this deal at The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, and the CBC.

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  1. […] Creemore Springs Buying Granville Island « B.C. Beer Blog bcbrews.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/creemore-springs-buying-granville-island – view page – cached It was announced yesterday that Creemore Springs Brewery (a Molson Coors Canada subsidiary) intends to acquire Granville Island Brewing from Andrew Peller Limited. No changes in Granville Island’s… (Read more)It was announced yesterday that Creemore Springs Brewery (a Molson Coors Canada subsidiary) intends to acquire Granville Island Brewing from Andrew Peller Limited. No changes in Granville Island’s operations are currently anticipated. According to the press release, Creemore’s primary reason for buying Granville Island is to offer a broader portfolio across more markets in Canada. This offers the potential for both to become national brands. (Read less) — From the page […]

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by lford: This really puts it into perspective. RT @BCbrews New post — Creemore Springs Buying Granville Island: http://bit.ly/1X95bd….

    uberVU - social comments

    October 20, 2009 at 11:24 pm

  3. I haven’t really been interested in Granville Island beer as “craft” beer for a while. Like you said, places like Phillips and many local brewpubs offer a more interesting product.

    One exception I should mention is Granville Island’s limited release beers, which I frequently enjoy. As long as Creemore/Molson/Coors doesn’t mess with the limited release rotation, I’m not too ruffled about it.

    IRmeterman

    October 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm

  4. Why is Granville Island even discussed as a “craft beer”?! Their beer tastes like it’s made with carbonated water and flavour packets. It ranks up there with the likes of Rickard’s Red and White. Their market dominance in Vancouver is also disturbing, with far too many establishments serving GI as their only ‘local beer’. If anything, CAMRA should be organizing a boycott of what was one of the first but is now one of the worst. Instead we find GI listed on the same GUIDE page as Central City and the Alibi Room. For shame! But I guess we all need to get our sponsorship from somewhere…

    AWilson

    November 12, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    • Have you ever had any of Granville Island’s seasonal releases? They are brewed on a 10 HL system (i.e. small batch) on Granville Island. They stand up well to those made by any of the other craft brewers in BC.

      Vern Lambourne, the brewer there, made an excellent Oktoberfest and Doppelbock. I looked forward to their annual release. Sadly, the lineup is being changed and we can no longer get these GIB classics, but I expect Vern will work away on the new beers until they become classics as well. Nevertheless, the GIBitter and Killarney Stout are solid examples of those styles. The Wit and the Raspberry Wheat are great summer beers, and the Ginger Beer is the perfect pair with Asian food. The Whitecaps IPA was also very good. Unfortunately, the Whitecaps discontinued the relationship, not that they ever did much to promote the beer themselves.

      If you haven’t had a GIB seasonal, which it sounds like you haven’t, I think you need try them before condemning GIB’s entire lineup. If someone offered me a GIB seasonal or a Robson Street Hefeweizen, I would have no hesitation accepting it.

      As for too many establishments serving GIB as their only ‘local beer,’ that’s not GIB’s fault; it’s the fault of the establishments and the people that go to them. If people boycotted places with ten taps of crap, they would be forced to serve something else to stay in business. Given what the top selling beers in the province are, though, this is not likely to happen as long as people’s preferences are driven primarily by advertising instead of their taste buds. It’s very sad to see the top selling beer in BC is a beer even Mexicans don’t drink!

      bcbrews

      November 13, 2009 at 9:36 am

      • Thanks for tip! I’ll definitely check them out. I want to like GI beer, I really do but I’ve had a lot a bad experiences in recent years. Couple that with living in Victoria for 3 years and enjoying the likes of Phillips, Swans and the Canoe Club, and GI will have to do a lot to win me back.

        AWilson

        November 13, 2009 at 8:54 pm

        • Fair enough. Beer is most often best consumed close to where it’s made. With Canoe, Driftwood, Phillips, Spinnakers, and Swans, it’s hard to beat those unless the beer travels well and has been shipped properly.

          The next time you’re in Vancouver and may be going to/near Granville Island, stop by the GIB Tap Room and try their seasonal on draught. It’s the only beer they serve that’s made just steps away.

          bcbrews

          November 13, 2009 at 9:58 pm


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