On Thursday, September 16th, 2021, the Georgian Bay Photography Club, had an outing so that members like myself could do some photography in the charming little village of Creemore. It was not only the attractiveness of the town which drew me. In the past my family and I had made it a point to stop there on our many trips up north from Brampton, to and from our cottage, and to and from the Bruce Peninsula. Not the least reason was also the Creemore Brewery, whose beer we liked very much.
Our assignment was to roam the main street individually and take photos of shoppers, buildings and any features we felt worth photographing. Well, there were no shoppers, but certainly lots of features of interest. My first visit, of course, was to our favourite, the Creemore Brewery.
Creemore Brewery is now owned by Molson Coors Beverage Company (commonly known as Molson Coors), a Canadian multinational company based in Toronto. It was formed in 2005 through a merger of the two prominent beer producers. In 2016, Molson Coors purchased the Miller Brewing Company, making it the world’s third-largest brewer at that time (Anhaeuser-Busch InBev known as AB InBev, based in Belgium, was the largest).
Beer breweries are probably much more popular than wineries because, after all, beer is Canada’s favoured beverage, although internationally we only rank 19th in the world (some say 25th). Canadians drink an average of about 79 itres of beer per year. Compare that to Germany with about 148 Litres, or the Czech Republic with about 138 litres. Australia is in fourth place (119 liters), Austria is number 5 (106 liters), and the UK in sixth (97 litres). The US take the 13th spot with 82 liters.
Talking about the provinces, our biggest beer guzzlers live in Newfoundland and Labrador, drinking about 95 litres per year, followed by Quebec (88 liters) and Alberta (84 liters). Talking about the territories, Yukoners take the crown with about 128 liters, or 374 bottles per year.
To put things into an even more international perspective, the Brazilian Billionaire Investment Company 3G Capital (who also owns Kraft, Heinz and, since the merger of Burger King and Tim Hortons in 2014 as Restaurant Brands International, also owns these two). AB InBev owns Budweiser, Corona, Beck’s and Stella Artois, among others.
I suppose that just about everyone has heard of Oktoberfest, an event celebrated today in most towns with any background of German immigration. Kitchener, formerly called Berlin, is one example. At the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, I saw the “Beermaids” (probably politically incorrect now) carry 6 to 8 huge beer mugs weighing 1 kg each. Most people have trouble carrying two of them. Last year 8 million of these jugs were served there. Incidentally, they were accompanied by 450,000 fried chickens called Brathendl, the Bavarian equivalent of Kentucky-fried. As well there were 48,000 kg sugar-coated roasted almonds.
A summary of six South Georgian Bay Breweries is simple: four of them are based in Collingwood (Black Bellows, Collingwood, Northwinds and Side Launch). One is based in Creemore, and one in Parry Sound (Trestle). Between them, they produce almost 60 brands. Some feature rather local names such as Northbound, Sunset Point, Big Buck, Pretty River, Boundless, Mad & Noisy). Others have more historic or exotic names like Arrow, and Beach One Cerveza.
Four natural ingredients are required in the making of beer: malt barley, hops, yeast and water. And, of course, the knowledge and artistry of the producer. As for the types of beer, Lagers are probably most popular among Canadian beer drinkers. Made with bottom fermenting yeast that has a lower tolerance to alcohol, they are best for beginning beer drinkers. Classic Lagers are Miller High Life, Coors and Budweiser. Pilsners also fall under the Lager category.
There are India Pale Ales (IPA’s), Stout Beers, Porters, Belgian Beers, Sour Beers – you pick your favourite style. And the British absolutely love their Stout.
Non-alcoholic beers (which I drink) are produced by the larger companies. “Non-alcoholic” or “Zero alcohol”, however, does not quite tell the truth: In Canada and the USA, anything that has less than 0.5% alcohol content may be labelled as “alcohol free”. Some European companies, like Grolsch, get away with calling their “0.0%”. As they say on their cans: “5% is a little, 15% is a lot”. And they get away with it. Regular beer has an alcohol content of about 5%.
An average of 99% of beer bottles and cans sold in Canada are returned because of the high incentive of the 10 cent return fee.