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Ont. pledges $1M for Waterloo brewery

The Brick Brewing Co., makers of Red Cap, Formosa Spring and Laker Lager beers at Waterloo, Ont., will get $1 million this year from the province’s Craft Brewers Opportunity Fund.

“This funding will
allow Brick to grow and compete more effectively in the Ontario market,” company CEO George Croft said in a provincial release Wednesday.

The publicly-traded Brick (TSX: BRB) announced in late December that it would get $1 million from the fund, noting it would offset $565,000 in spending that met fund criteria, while the rest would be used to “aggressively” market its brands to Ontario beer drinkers.

The fund is a four-year, $8 million provincial initiative available to licensed craft beer makers with annual worldwide production of beer of no more than 300,000 hectolitres (30 million litres).

Brick Brewing, which has operated since 1984 and bills itself as Ontario’s first craft brewery and a pioneer in the current craft brewing “renaissance,” said Dec. 24 that it intends to
participate in the program for its remaining three years.

Ontario has about 40 licensed small brewers who make less than 300,000 hectolitres per year, accounting for four per cent of the Ontario beer market and about 15 to 20 per cent of jobs in Ontario breweries, the province said.

Brick Brewing announced in a separate release Wednesday that its founder, Jim Brickman, who retired Dec. 11 as executive chairman, is also leaving the company’s board of directors. Brickman, who was also president and CEO from 1984 to 2004, was replaced by Peter Schwartz as interim chairman.

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