Report on Small Business newsletter: ‘Contract’ craft beer boom and United Church embraces startups

Contract’ brewing boom in Ontario stokes debate over future of craft beer

Craft beer in Ontario is booming – there are an estimated 216 craft breweries in Ontario and roughly 120 more that will open soon.

However, this boom has also given rise to a number of craft breweries that aren’t actually breweries at all. You won’t find their address on any walking brewery tours, and you can’t stop in for a sample and a chat with the brewer, because these businesses, known as “contract breweries,” ostensibly rent space from larger, established breweries to make their beer. They often pay a brewmaster to develop recipes, then use host breweries to package and store their beer. Depending on the contract, the brewery can brew and package the beer, or the facility is simply rented to companies which brew the beer themselves.

At one time, they were something of a rarity in the province – two “virtual breweries” opened here every year from 2010 to 2012 – but the number of these companies has skyrocketed in the past couple of years to almost 70, according to the industry news site, Ontario Beverage Network. Full story

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500 Startups’ fate in Canada jeopardized after founder Dave McClure’s exit

The high-profile exit of 500 Startups founder Dave McClure over the Silicon Valley venture capitalist’s “inappropriate” interactions with women left the fate of its Canadian operation in limbo, as managers here scrambled to convince institutional investors set to back its first Canadian fund to stay committed. Full Story (subscribers)

United Church embraces startups as it updates its social mission to engage millennial

With prime real estate in cities across the country going increasingly unused, the United Church of Canada is testing out the idea of opening sacred space up for incubation. Full Story

Canadian cellphone startup has success stateside, but shut out at home

Like many Canadians, Derek Ting and Jon Lerner were frustrated by their high cellphone bills. As computer engineering students at the University of Waterloo, however, they had the skills to do something about it. Years later, their Waterloo, Ont.-based company has since grown to 10 million monthly users, 100 staff and an office in San Francisco, with an eye to becoming bigger still. Full Story

AI company that conquered Go game opens office in Edmonton One of the world’s best known companies in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) is setting up shop in Alberta. Full Story

Rules change for Canada-Ontario Job Grant program

The government has identified the need for employer-led skills training programs in order to develop younger employees and equip them with the core competencies required to sustain and develop the Canadian economy. Full Story

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