One of the things most observers predicted when Molson (via Creemore) bought up Granville Island back in 2009 is that the brand’s distribution would increase, as it would be able to take advantage of Molson’s intricate national networks. Granville returned to the Alberta market quite quickly after the purchase (which I reported on here), and has been slowly entering markets around the country. They are currently found in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Manitoba. The most recent entry, just a few months ago, was into Saskatchewan
I thought the first time availability might be of interest to Saskatchewan beer drinkers, so I wrote up a column on it for Planet S Magazine – which you can read here. I link to it here because the article is more than a “they’re here” announcement. I use the opportunity to go over Granville’s history, which is important for craft brewing in Canada. So, it might be of interest to non-Saskatchewan readers as well. (Besides I post everything I write here whenever possible because it makes for easy copy.)
I know that, just like Big Rock, Granville Island has taken a fair bit of heat in recent years from longtime craft beer fans. Many believe that its beer, which were once boundary pushing, have been surpassed by younger, more aggressive craft brewers. That is a valid opinion. Yet, personally, I can’t ignore the importance of Granville (and Big Rock) to the development of craft beer in Canada. Plus, all evidence points to the fact that not only is Molson keeping its mitts off Granville’s recipes, they are encouraging them to experiment more. They have a regular schedule of small batch seasonals and one-offs, many of which are quite interesting (I have written about some of them, including this one and this one).
Ultimately, the craft market needs a diversity of brewing approaches. Granville Island, with its long history, brand reputation and skill at producing well-made beer that appeal to a wider audience, fills an important spot. And thus they deserve some kudos from time to time.