One of our favorite craft brands of the north is becoming more available to our beer-loving cousins in Canada. Eastern Ontario craft brewery Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. has begun distribution of its award-winning Lug Tread Lagered Ale across Canada. Two east coast provinces, New Brunswick and PEI, now have Beau’s Lug Tread available, and sales will launch in Manitoba next week. Beau’s has already made its portfolio available in Québec for more than a year, and plans are in place to add Alberta and British Columbia this summer to the list of provinces Beau’s Lug Tread is available.
Lug Tread is a German-inspired hybrid beer style Beau’s has dubbed a “lagered ale” — meaning that it is brewed with ale yeast, but then cold-aged like a lager, giving it light ale notes complemented by a lager-like crispness. Since its launch in 2006, the versatile golden ale has garnered more than 20 local and national awards and distinctions, including four times Gold at the Canadian Brewing Awards, and seven times Best Beer in Ontario at the Golden Tap Awards. Like all Beau’s beer, Lug Tread is certified organic, and brewed with local spring water at the family-run brewery in Vankleek Hill, Ontario.
“We are excited to be able to add Beau’s to the selection of great craft beer already available in these provinces,” said Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne. “Craft beer drinkers are always happy to have more choice, and we know from our fans in Ontario and Québec that Lug Tread is something truly special. It’s got lots of flavour to enjoy, but at the same time it’s crisp and finely balanced. It’s really the best qualities of an ale and a lager in one fantastic beer.”
As noted, New Brunswick and PEI will have Lug Tread on shelves of local beer sellers right now, and Manitoba is expected to have it available next week. In addition to Lug Tread, Beau’s popular “Wild Oats” and “Farm Table” series of beers will see some distribution as well into these new markets. Distribution of Beau’s in the east will be handled by Eisenhauer Agencies, in BC and Alberta by UnTapped Craft Imports, and in Manitoba by Eclectic Beverages. Steve Beauchesne expects to have Beau’s in 8 of 10 provinces by year-end, with distribution fully Canada-wide by the end of 2017.
Cross-Canada distribution represents a major change of plans for Beau’s, which had previously stated an intent to keep its beer within a one-day drive of the brewery. Beauchesne noted that his rationale is a reaction to changes in the craft beer landscape in Canada, and his concern for its future.
“With the recent and sudden acquisitions that the ‘hyper-mega’ breweries have made of strong Canadian craft breweries, we became quite concerned that with only a small handful of national independent craft breweries, the whole industry is at risk of being commoditized. Our commitment to staying regional made us part of the problem. We’ve made this expansion to make sure that there are strong voices on a national level for craft beer in this country.”
The cross-Canada expansion is part of a series of big announcements Beau’s is making as part of its 10th birthday celebrations this year. On July 1, 2016, Beau’s began the process of making its 160 employees into owners of the brewery through an ESOP, and in early June announced its partnership as the official brewery of Ottawa 2017, a major celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday taking place in the National Capital Region. More announcements are planned for this banner year marking 10 years of award-winning brewing for the employee-owned, independent Canadian craft brewery.