The Brewers Association (BA) Export Development Program (EDP) recently traveled to Vancouver to promote American craft beer at the Vancouver Craft Beer Week (VCBW) Festival—one of Canada’s largest events for craft beer. Export Development Program Manager Mark Snyder represented the Brewers Association at the festival. EDP member breweries shipped over 60 different beers and generated strong interest and awareness for U.S. craft beer. The U.S. craft beer pavilion was sponsored by the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver, and was busy throughout the two days.
The primary objective of Brewers Association participation in the festival was to promote U.S. craft beer in British Columbia, and more generally the Canadian market. This was the third year the BA participated. Even though Canada is the largest market for U.S. craft beer, low awareness of U.S. brands and styles restrict growth of existing brands and limit distribution opportunities for new brands. In addition, provincial-level government laws, taxes, and distribution models benefit Canadian produced beer. By sponsoring a booth at the VCBW, the BA expanded consumer awareness in terms of quality, style, and diversity of products offered by the U.S. craft beer industry.
Another objective for the BA was to assess the accessibility and continued viability of British Columbia’s market for U.S. craft beer, and determine the BA’s strategy to best support this. For many new-to-export breweries, Canada has become a logical first market. The BA focuses on developing and maintaining export program activities that sustain this growth. At VCBW, the set-up of the festival allowed for major importers of U.S. craft beer to work alongside the BA, and discuss the current market situation and potential opportunities in Canada.
Given the success of the 2017 Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival, the BA will strongly consider this event in 2018. The BA appreciates the support of EDP members with this event and look forward to continuing the promotion of American craft beer in the near future.