Region/Countries: Canada, North America Industry: Food and Beverage Date: July 2016

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Opportunities exist for Wisconsin makers of beer, as well as brewing equipment and supplies

The Canadian market provides an exciting opportunity for American craft brewers and suppliers. The growing popularity of craft beers in Canada has dramatically increased the number of small-scale, independently owned breweries. Canada now has the sixth-largest number of craft brewers of any country in the world. This growing consumer demand favors variety of taste and the higher-quality ingredients in both local and imported brands. The growth of industry imports in the past five years is expected to continue at an annualized rate of 5.2 percent to $962.7 million by 2021.

In Ontario, for example, craft beer is the fastest-growing segment within the beer category according to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). This segment’s growth—between 20 and 30 percent—has led the LCBO to plan to open specific craft beer zones in 25 locations. These zones bring together Ontario, Canadian and international craft beers, grouped by style. The province is also introducing beer sales in 450 mass supermarkets, creating a new growth market in a previously tightly regulated distribution system.

With the rapid growth in independent craft beer brands comes a growing opportunity for new and existing participants in the supply chain.