Quinte Craft – Cluster Profile
Bay of Quinte Craft the largest rural craft beer and craft cider region in Canada
Part of the vision for Quintevation is to bring together entrepreneurs within a specific business sector as a way of pooling resources, sharing best practices, doing joint promotions, marketing and advertising initiatives and to build an atmosphere of collegiality and co-operation for the betterment of the sector, its individual members and the broader economy within the Bay of Quinte Region.
The first such ‘cluster’ involved bringing together the burgeoning craft beer and cider sector, as well as the ancillary and offshoot businesses that directly work with or benefit from this sector. Quintevation officials facilitated a number of meetings with craft beer and cider entrepreneurs over the past year, with the result being the launch of The Bay of Quinte Craft Association early in 2017, the largest rural cluster of craft brewers and cider houses in all of Canada.
“It came from doing our discovery for Quintevation and getting a sense of what people are doing around the region. It really started at a diner where we brought the brewers and cider makers already doing business in the region in and went around the room and talked about where they needed help in developing their businesses and was it worthwhile to create an association to help build the industry within the region. When the consensus was yes, we continued having meetings and helping them develop what they needed to do and get some funding to get the ball rolling,” said Quintevation chairperson Ryan Williams.
“We will continue to work and help facilitate that industry, but the most important takeaway is that it’s industry led. There is now a board created by the brewers and cider makers and that board will meet regularly to conduct business and run the affairs of the association. Quintevation is just there to facilitate and help that expand.”
Not a lot of residents within the Bay of Quinte region, let alone outside the region, know that there are nearly two dozen craft breweries and cideries in the area – with another 24 or so on the way in the next couple of years. This is, in fact, the largest group of rural craft breweries and cider companies in all of Canada. That number is growing every week.
Each company within the association is owned and operated by unique individuals, each with their own remarkable and evocative entrepreneurial story. In turn, each beer or cider is just as unique in taste and tone, as is the marketing process to entice drinkers. There is, in fact, literally something to satiate every palate. What unites them all together is their commitment to excellence, a dedication to their craft and to using the best natural ingredients and process. As well many have leveraged the unique history and heritage of the region as part of their marketing and advertising strategies.
What also unites the members of the association is their love and appreciation for the beauty, and enviable lifestyle afforded to them and their families within the Bay of Quinte region.
At its foundation there were 22 official members of Bay of Quinte Craft, stretching from Cobourg in the west to Loyalist Township in the east and north to Campbellford.
“And it’s not just for brewers and cider makers, as it also includes suppliers such as Barn Owl Malts and Pleasant Valley Hops and a company that provides brewery tours [PEC Brew Tours]. And it even includes a brewer who is really on the periphery of the Bay of Quinte Region, the William Street Beer Company in Cobourg. But they saw the value in the logistical support and being part of a larger organization that is looking to be part of the greater growth of that industry and so signed up,” Williams said, adding that there was already a unique sense of co-operation and joie de vivre amongst the region’s craft brewers and cider makers, more so than in practically any other business sector.
“All we did was helped them create a structure and support system to help them achieve their goals. For us, facilitation means you’re assisting in getting resources that help a group of people do a great job and help them achieve their mandate. The mandate of the Bay of Quinte Craft Association is not only to market their members’ products, but to increase supply-chain management help with logistical support and help from government. Like I always say, the entrepreneurs themselves know what they need to grow and sometimes they just need a facilitator to help them navigate through the bureaucracy and various programs to get certain things. And that’s all we at Quintevation want to do.”
A complete listing and map is available at www.quintecraft.ca, with new companies added as they join.