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Buy Craft Beer Online Free Shipping: Ontario beers fans can have hard to find brews delivered to their doorstep
When Highlander Brew Co. founder Dwayne Wanner offered tastings of Pipers Loch at beer festivals in Toronto, smitten drinkers often asked where they could buy the mildly hopped yet full-bodied ale.
“How do you get it? You drive four hours to the brewery,” Wanner used to say since the ale was only available at the brewery’s South River bottle shop west of Algonquin Park.
Recognizing the geographic limitations of his rural brewery, and the challenges of strict criteria for selling in the LCBO (just two of Highlander’s beers are in stores for this reason), Wanner opened an e-commerce shop in February. There, he sells a dozen different beers and averages 20 to 25 orders a month, most of which are sent to the Greater Toronto Area.
Highlander Brew Co. is one of a handful of off-the-beaten-path Ontario craft breweries with no or limited presence in the LCBO or Beer Store that sells its beers online and has them shipped to the destination by courier or Canada Post. The turnover is usually one to seven days depending on the location.
Other Ontario craft breweries that count on e-commerce include Half Hours on Earth’s which sells sour beers and farmhouse ales brewed in Seaforth, Ontario, a two-plus-hour drive from Toronto, and Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Exchange Brewery. It relies on its online shop to retain customers who have come through the brewery during the region’s busy summer months.
“We have a lot of visitors — tourists from Toronto — so hopefully when they go back home, they’ll go on our online store and buy beers,” says Audrey Le Goff, Exchange Brewery’s marketing co-ordinator.
After a limited online promotion during the 2016 holiday season, the Exchange Brewery opened its permanent e-commerce shop in April. It follows the established practice of its winery neighbours and ships its product to customers’ homes. Barley Days and County Road Beer Company, two breweries in Prince Edward County, another popular wine region, also have e-commerce sites.
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