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New business app walks you through the step-by-step process of living the dream

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Yes, there is an app for that, but until now, not for this.

Ontario’s Food and Beverage (FAB) Region in eastern Ontario today officially released a new app that provides a detailed step-by-step guide to launching a craft brewery business – an industry that is exploding worldwide.

The “iCraft Brew” app, available for free for both Apple and Android devices, is geared toward that person who has dreamed of starting a craft brewing business and walks them through the process of how to do so.

The Ontario craft brewers’ market is mirroring the kind of growth experienced in other parts of the world and continues to be the fastest growing segment within the LCBO’s beer category.  Current average growth rates for craft beer in Ontario across all retail channels are over 10 per cent per year.

“Craft brewing is exploding around the world and there are tremendous opportunities if you’ve ever dreamed of starting your own, particularly in the Food and Beverage region of eastern Ontario, which has fewer competitors, access to locally grown produce and over 34,000 students attending either Queen’s University, Royal Military College or two local area community colleges,” said Stephen Paul, Director, Community & Development Services, Lennox & Addington County, one of the economic development partners and spokespersons of the FAB Region.  “The app will walk you through all the steps necessary for starting and running a successful craft brewery. There are different resources that deal with the mechanics of brewing and beer recipes, but there is a need for something that takes you through the fundamentals of setting up and ultimately running a craft brewery.”

“Starting any business can be daunting, particularly one like craft brewing, which can have so many unknown factors beyond the making of the beer,” said Paul. “With this app, we consulted experts, local craft brewers who have been operating successfully for some time, and put together a comprehensive resource that can help eliminate a lot of potential surprises. It’s like having a coach walk you through what you would need to do to fulfill your craft beer dream.”

The benefits of the app have not been lost on established brewmasters. Daniel MacKinnon, who has a masters degree in brewing and distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland and is in the process of launching his own brewery, MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co., on his farm in Bath, ON said the app “raises many critical, but less obvious points even experienced brewers may not think about if they were opening a new venture.”

“For example, the labeling requirements on packaging,” he continued. “You can go out and hire a graphic designer to produce your logo and labels, but if it does not have all the necessary information or meet government requirements, it may need to be reworked or redone at cost to the brewery. The app does an excellent job of pointing out questions you should be asking yourself when you are considering opening a brewery, as well as a good overview of what is required to start a successful operation.”

The iCraft Brew app deals with such fine points of the business, and more – from market analysis, to how-to information on brewing and the industry, guides to navigating through various levels of red-tape, outlines for preparing a business plan for long-term success, incorporating, finding a building, developing partnerships with local growers for produce, and how to sell your beer.

In 2012, 6.7-million hectolitres of beer were sold in Ontario, making the province the largest market for beer in Canada.  With continued growth, as well as an increased interest in artisan products, the “100 mile diet” and other “buy-local” movements, Paul said “there is a market opportunity to open a craft brewery within the FAB region. iCraft Brew makes it a lot easier.”

The app is available for free on iTunes, the Google Play store and on-line at www.FabRegion.ca In 2012, the FAB Region was recognized by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario with an Award of Excellence for its first iPad app – How to Start a Cheese Making Business in Eastern Ontario.

Located in eastern Ontario with a population of approximately 350,000,the Food and Beverage (FAB) Region is a unique partnership of of Hastings County, Lennox & Addington County, Prince Edward County and the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation. The FAB Region is an investment marketing partnership structured to attract and grow small scale (artisanal) food and beverage businesses in the region,  In 2012, it was recognized by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario with an Award of Excellence for its first iPad App – How to Start a Cheese

Making Business in Eastern Ontario.  The FAB region is strategically located in the middle of what many call the golden triangle of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa and is home to renowned wineries, artisanal cheese and other food products.  For more information on how you can start your own artisan food or beverage business in the region, or to find a contact in your area visit www.FabRegion.ca

For more information, please contact:

John McGrath




Stephen Paul

Lennox & Addington County


613-354-4883, ext. 234