Councillors Layton and Perks want attention poured on small Toronto brewers
Toronto needs to belly up and work to lift the city’s burgeoning craft beer industry onto the international stage say two downtown councillors.
Trinity-Spadina Councillor Mike Layton and Parkdale-High Park Councillor Gord Perks are asking the Economic Development Committee to instruct city staff to work with Toronto’s small scale brewers as well as bars and restaurants to make Toronto the “craft beer capital of the world.”
“We’d like to see a greater investment and attention paid in fostering growth in the craft brew sector,” said Layton.
“We are going through a craft brew renaissance and the city can be doing something to foster that growth. Wouldn’t the capital of Ontario be a wonderful place to have be the world capital of craft beer?”
Layton and Perks make their case in a letter to the Economic Development Committee.
They note that Toronto’s food and beverage sector is a major employer in Toronto, with nearly half of the province’s employment in that sector located in Toronto.
And craft beer is, according to the LCBO, the fastest-growing sector within the provincial alcohol retailer’s beer category.
“Ontario consumers have made it clear that they have a strong interest in the premium quality local products being produced,” the two councillors wrote.
But it has not always been easy for craft breweries trying to establish and grow in the city. Layton noted that in 2014, the Bellwoods brewery nearly lost a bid at the Committee of Adjustment to allow them to expand.
Layton said that the city could eventually make legislative changes so breweries can expand more easily.
But that, he said, is for another day.
“I think first and foremost we’re looking at making craft beer a tourism draw, and then at bringing down some of the barriers the city might put in place,” said Layton.