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Monday, October 20, 2008

OCB Discovery Pack #2

Last fall the Ontario Craft Brewers Association released a discovery pack that consisted of four lagers and two ales aimed towards capturing new drinkers. It seemed to work. The $11.95 discovery packs sold out very quickly and had to be re-stocked just in time for the Christmas holiday. It was also re-released in April due to its success and prompted the OCB to re-visit the idea this fall.

The second edition of the discovery pack is slated to be released onto the LCBO shelves any day now (actually November 1st) and features six different beers from the first pack. They are - Robert Simpson Confederation Ale, Mill Street Tankhouse Ale, Trafalgar Elora Irish Ale, Black Oak Nut Brown Ale, Cameron's Auburn Ale, and Nickel Brook Apple Pilsner.

The discovery pack will be available in more than 170 LCBO outlets province wide and includes tasting notes on all six beers along with educational notes on the craft brewing industry in Ontario.

Many Bar Towel members and other beer enthusiasts were perplexed with the first discovery pack claiming it to be weak and uninspiring, leading the OCB to reiterate that the new pack was targeted towards a different market. And I'm sure that the selection chosen for the second discovery pack will have some people shaking their heads as well as the pack does not include any porters, stouts or barley wines, all good styles for the upcoming months of the winter coldness.

There are a handful of breweries making good porter/stout in this province that are members of the OCB and their products would have been a nice addition to the pack. Hockley Valley's Stout (Silver medal at CBA's), Black Oak Nutcracker Porter and Double Chocolate Cherry Stout, John By Imperial Stout and Black Irish Plain Porter from Heritage, and Barley Days Yuletide Cherry Porter would all have been nice additions. But again I think the target market for the discovery pack is those drinkers that don't normally try such diverse products and the beers chosen should work well with their, dire I say it, inexperienced palate. However, that being said, I think this selection of beer is much better than the first offering with quality flavour in the Tankhouse, Black Oak Brown Ale and Cameron's Auburn Ale.

I agree with the OCB stance of offering these discovery packs and I like the way they promote them to the general public. I remember seeing people scoop them up at the LCBO and claim that they've never heard of some of the beer. It is a great way to reach new potential buyers and will hopefully lead to a quarterly offering.

3 comments:

sstackho said...

I think this is significantly better than the choices for the first pack. The Tankhouse, Cameron's and Black Oak are all solid beers that are perfect choices for an introduction to Ontario craft beer.

Zoran said...

I agree that the beers are not half bad. Anything creating awareness is good and we should support such action. We must remember that those packs are not directed at us - their main target are people who probably never even heard about Ontario micro breweries.

Lisa said...

Hi There from the OCB!
We are excited for the release of our 2nd Discovery Pack - and Troy has hit the 'nail on the head' ... we built this Discovery Pack with the intent to inspire Ontario's beer drinkers to TRY ... and to discover the OCB and the over 140+ great tasting brews that we have to offer (including the ones 'with a little more meat to them'!).
Don't fret though... with each new edition of the OCB Discovery Pack... we hope that we are one step closer to seeing OCB Discovery Pack's that whet the appetites of some of the more 'experienced' beer drinkers in Ontario too!
For those of you who are experienced OCB'ers - we hope that you will still pick up the OCB Discovery Pack NO.2 and share it with your friends (some of whom may not be quite as beer savy as you!)!
Cheers!
Lisa Dunbar - Ontario Craft Brewers

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