This will be the last time that I get to repeat that impressive stat about the growth in sales of local craft beer leading all other categories at the LCBO last year. Even without that headline-grabber and the attendant "trendiness", doing 30 Days of Ontario Beer a second time around would have been an easy choice. The beer, the people that make it and enjoy it have such a rich diversity of stories that we almost couldn't help writing about it.
Some of our coverage was similar to last year's–Ontario Craft Beer week inevitably shows up in a few posts–but we also found some unique stories like Sarah Hood on the history of brewing at Todmorden Mills or Suresh visiting The Gabardine for a Bits column.
While telling the stories of the new brewers in the Toronto area–from Hogtown in week 1, then Sawdust City and Spearhead through to when Vanessa Toye picked up the thread for our profile of Bellwoods–I was consistently impressed by their collaborative energy and also the diversity of talent. Anyone who has glanced at the craft beer shelves at the LCBO knows about the stylistic variation of the product, but whether it's a unique approach to marketing or an intense interest in the beer making process there is just as much where the people are concerned.
There was until a short while ago–in part even in my head–an unfair perception, I think, that only backwoods survivalists and skinflint frat boys make their own beer. Between supplying a supportive community and high-quality ingredients the Internet cures all and I was happy to read Mike Di Caro's stories about how home brewing has taken off with the craft beer movement.
Obviously, all of this delicious beer would be worthless if it didn't suit the tastes of those who drink it. When you write about beer on a daily basis if you're not careful the importance of that final decision can recede into the blurry background. I'm glad that we took the time near the end of our 30 days to refocus and profile three beer drinkers and their experience with the same three beers.
Putting out posts on the same topic, even beer, every day for a month can be onerous. (Don't worry I'm used to the eye rolls, go ahead.) A big thanks is due to everyone who answered the phone and agreed to talk to us or write a post. All the helping hands in the Spotlight community made this project a pleasure. And of course, just as there would be no beer without someone to drink it, we appreciate that having someone to read what we write is essential. Thanks all for taking time out of your day or for sharing one of the articles with friends.
Beer coverage is going to play a role on Spotlight Toronto this year but at least for the next couple of days I'm just going to concentrate on drinking a few.
Written by David Ort
As one of Spotlight’s contributing editors, David enjoys turning his mind (and keyboard) to a wide variety of topics ranging from recipes to restaurants to craft beer. When he’s not writing for Spotlight Toronto, David shares his thoughts on new restaurants and beer at PostCity.com and all things food and drink on his own site, Food With Legs.