LaSalle Craft Beer Festival celebrates five years of success

by Adam Gault

Essex County craft beer lovers had much to be thankful for this past long weekend as the fifth annual LaSalle Craft Beer Festival took over the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex in LaSalle.

Featuring a dozen Ontario craft brewers, including new and established Windsor-Essex favourites, the event continues to highlight the burgeoning Canadian craft beer market and the many local brewers changing the face of the local beer market.

“Feedback is always really positive, people love it,” LaSalle’s Recreation Manager, Patti Funaro, explained of the brewers and guests attending the festival. “It being Thanksgiving weekend, lets people come home. It’s a great opportunity for people to buy tickets for their adult children, friends, family members and kind of come back as a reunion or homecoming to the event.”

Unfortunately, in what seems to be a recurring trend for the festival, inclement weather forced the cancellation of Saturday’s 5-kilometre Beer Run, which had been organized in support of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Ontario.

Last year, high winds had forced the early closure of the festival on the Saturday evening.

Not to be deterred this year, despite the run’s cancellation, Windsor-Essex’s top brewers were determined to demonstrate why the number of craft breweries across Canada has grown by 20% over the last three years.

One such new brewery featured at the festival was the Sandwich Brewing Co. out of Windsor, which opened in 2017 in Windsor’s west end.

Sandwich Brewing Co.’s head brewer, Scott Black, said festivals like LaSalle’s are great ways to connect with beer lovers, as well as network with others in the craft beer industry.

“It’s fun for the brewers behind the scenes to get together and interact, and it’s also great to get to one-on-one with so many new people,” Black said. “There’s a lot of new faces that are trying our beer. That’s so important, it’s great to be able to talk to them as a brewer and answer their questions right from the source.”

Black believes part of the reason for the continued growth of the industry is contributed to people looking to return to supporting more of their local businesses in general, and the more unique tastes and pairing options people can find from smaller food and drink ventures.

“It’s a return to everything local. You get more people now going to their local butcher, their local fishmonger, their local brewery. Every small town should have a brewery.”

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • issuu