“I am excited as Big Rock embarks on a strategic initiative to become Canada’s National, Local Craft Brewer” said Bob Sartor, CEO. “The Board has approved a $6-8 million dollar expansion into Ontario and we have commenced operations in our new Vancouver brewery. We are confident that beer drinkers in B.C. and Ontario will embrace our high quality, locally crafted, innovative lagers and ales.”
“We continue to work hard to retain the loyalty of our Alberta consumers. Our limited release product introductions are gaining traction and beginning to mitigate the impact of competition in the crowded craft beer market in Alberta. We are on track to replace discontinued full-time beers with better, higher margin offerings. The first of these made its appearance in the fourth quarter of 2014 with a second launched in the first quarter of 2015. These new product introductions will help drive sales in the competitive Alberta market.”
The Board of Directors has approved a strategy to accelerate growth. The company recognizes that this will mean a tradeoff between dividends in the short-term in order to fund opportunities for growth. The long-term future of our company depends on access to high volume, high growth and higher margin markets in B.C. and Ontario, while preserving balance sheet strength and operational cash flexibility.
We continue to see a polarized market in Alberta, with premium craft beers at one end of the market and lower margin, value priced beer at the other. Although sales of craft beers continue to climb in Alberta, there is significant competitive activity. The company has introduced a number of new product offerings in Alberta and is starting to see some traction.
The first phase of our growth strategy is currently underway in British Columbia. The opening of our downtown Vancouver brewery, restaurant and lounge, and retail store at the start of the second quarter will diversify Big Rock beyond our traditional Alberta base. This will provide much needed brand exposure and volume in the extremely buoyant B.C. craft beer scene.
Big Rock has also decided to accelerate its expansion in Ontario to take advantage of the rapidly growing market for craft beer in Canada’s largest beer consuming region. With sales of approximately 6.4 million hl, Ontario is 2 ½ times the size of the Alberta market. The market share of craft beer in the Province has tripled since 2002 and is growing at about 10% per year, compared to relatively flat sales for brewers overall.
We believe we can compete successfully because Big Rock already has a presence in Ontario as an established brand with a loyal following. We have thirty years of experience and innovation, which is rare for a microbrewery. We currently have ten permanent ales and lagers and will offer an exciting range of quality, locally crafted beers for the Ontario market.
In addition to the previously announced Liberty Village brewpub in downtown Toronto, we are pleased to announce that we have leased space and expect to be operating a larger commercial brewery in Etobicoke, Ontario by early 2016. Initial capacity in this new brewery will be 8,000 hl per year which can be scaled to 30,000 hl with additional fermentation tanks. The new brewery will incorporate a tasting room and will have visual exposure to two heavy vehicular corridors—the Gardiner Expressway and The Queensway—and will produce the bulk of the Corporations Eastern Canadian volume requirements, dramatically improving the distribution of our products while reducing supply chain costs.
Big Rock further expects to announce several new brewpub initiatives during the course of the next 12 months for completion in 2016 and beyond as it expands its strategy to become Canada’s National, Local Craft Brewer.
About Big Rock Brewery Inc.
Big Rock Brewery Inc. produces premium, all-natural craft beers. Big Rock has a family of ten permanent ales and lagers, the Rock Creek Cider® series of craft ciders, an ongoing selection of seasonal beers released through the Brewmaster’s Limited Edition and cutting-edge, small-batch brews released through the Alchemist Edition.
For more information on Big Rock Brewery visit bigrockbeer.com
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