With big brands away, micros play

British Columbia distribution strike leaves drinkers trying small breweries' beers

May 10, 2004 - Microbrewery workers in British Columbia are putting in long hours to meet rising demand after a strike halted distribution of major brands throughout the province. The strike against Brewers Distributor began May 1, and supplies of Canada's two leading brands, Molson and Labatt, have begun to dry up along with beer such at Miller, Coors and Budweiser.


As a consequence, orders for microbrewed beers that aren't handled by Brewers Distributor - such as Granville Island, Sleeman Okanagan Spring - have doubled and tripled.

"We did 55% of our business for the month in the first four days (of May)," Granville Island marketing manager Walter Cosman said.

"Molson and Labatt might lose some customers," said Evan King, who manages a pub in downtown Vancouver. "There is a lot of good product out there, and people haven't tried a lot of it. This is a chance for them to really try and switch brands."

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