Small-scale beverage manufacturing for beer or spirits is a young and growing industry in BC. The province is on the leading edge of smallscale brewing and distilling in Canada, with advantageous provincial policies and consumer markets that are shifting consumption to quality craft producers.
THE OPPORTUNITY TREND
The craft distilling industry is much smaller than its brewing cousin but is in a rapid growth phase. The BC craft distilling policy allows small distillers to reduce their costs, sell in Farmer’s Markets, build and sell through distillery tasting rooms and sell products produced elsewhere. This allows communities, especially smaller ones with unique character, to encourage local spirits production and receive economic benefits.
BC IS THE PLACE TO START UP
BC has roughly one-third of all craft distilleries in Canada and one fifth of all craft breweries. Craft breweries and distilleries have not been limited to major markets like Vancouver and Victoria. They are emerging in mid and small communities as well, which indicates that a quality product and skillful business practices can bring the benefits of these industries to smaller communities. Clinton experiences a population boom in the spring, summer and fall months from cottage-owners thus providing a ready market for local sales.
THE BC MARKET IS READY
Over the past decade, the brewing industry has experienced strong growth in the popularity of craft beer. In Canada 2015 beer sales totalled $5.7 billion and industry earnings were approximately $533 million, accounting for a 9 percent profit. BC beer sales that same year were approximately 15 percent of the Canadian total. Craft producers accounted for a significant share of the market with sales of $215 million in 2014. (Agriculture and Agri-food Canada 2016)
DISTILL A FUTURE BUSINESS
In 2012, 38 distilleries were operating in Canada with nine based in BC. Industry revenues totaled $744 million and employment was 1,280. By 2016, the number of BC distilleries had expanded to 35, a 388 percent increase in only four years. The growth in distillery numbers is due to an increase in the number of smaller distilling companies specializing in niche products and the emergence of artisan craft distilleries. (Agriculture and Agri-food Canada 2017)