Quebec beer lovers will now get a chance to buy a special 12-pack made for Canada’s 150th birthday, after the SAQ worked out a deal to sell them in liquor stores.
The “Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration” is a special collection of microbrews distributed across Canada, with a dozen beers to commemorate the country’s milestone birthday.
The craft-beer mix-pack will feature a beer from every province or territory other than Nunavut, each beer inspired by the province it comes from.
Quebec's liquor distributor, the SAQ, initially decided not to offer the special beer in its stores. In addition, the Quebec law on alcoholic beverages prohibits microbreweries from other provinces from selling directly to convenience stores and grocery stores in Quebec.
That all changed Tuesday afternoon, however, when SAQ spokesperson Renaud Dugas confirmed to CTV Montreal that a deal had been worked out.
“We have a deal with the supplier. We ordered the case of 12 which should arrive soon on our shelves. This is good news for beer lovers,” he said.
Dugas told CTV Montreal the reason they initially denied the special issue was because the brewery, Central City Breweries out of Surrey, B.C., could not guarantee the Quebec brew would be sold in every pack.
The “Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration” is being sold three ways: as a 12-pack, and as east and west six-packs.
Because the Quebec beer is, of course, not in the west-coast six-pack, the SAQ declined to sell them.
As a compromise, the SAQ will only sell 12-packs.
In an earlier Instagram post, Isaac Tremblay of Le Trou Du Diable expressed disappointment Quebecers wouldn’t get a taste.
“Unfortunately, it appears that the SAQ has made Quebec the only province where the pan-Canadian collaboration will not be taking place. It's sad but that’s what it is,” he said.
Malheureusement, il semble que la SAQ aura fait du Québec la seule province où la caisse de collaboration pan-canadienne ne se trouvera pas. C'est triste mais c'est comme ça. Le 29 juin, les gars de Central City, qui se donnent la peine de parcourir l'entièreté du pays en camion pour souligner l'événement, arrêterons au brouepub du Tdd pour boire notre version shawiniganaise du Bouclier Canadien brassée chez nous pour l'occasion. Il y aura du hockey de rue, du bbq, des shows live et plein de surprises. À bientôt! Xxxx
Yves Mailloux, president of the Wine Tasting Club of Montreal, agreed saying the SAQ was depriving beer drinkers of a tasty opportunity.
“I can’t see how all the other provinces have found a way to collaborate and make this happen, but not here in Quebec. I don’t know what the problem is, but I think when you’re selling more than $3 billion of wine and booze every year, you should be able to find a solution. I hope it will come while there is still some beer left to be sold,” he said.
It appears they did, and now Quebecers won’t have to cross the Ontario border to purchase the 150th mix-pack at the LCBO or Beer Store.
The Quebec government invested $441,500 into Le Trou Du Diable in 2015 to help complete two investment projects worth $1.7 million, helping to create nearly 50 jobs at the Shawinigan microbrewery.
Here’s the full list of beers on offer in the 150 12-pack:
- British Columbia, Delta: Four Winds Brewing Company
- Alberta, Calgary: Last Best Brewing & Distilling
- Saskatchewan, Swift Current: Black Bridge Brewery
- Manitoba, Winnipeg: Half Pints Brewing Company
- Ontario, Vankleek Hill: Beau’s Brewing Company
- Quebec, Shawinigan: Le Trou Du Diable
- Nova Scotia, Halifax: Garrison Brewing Company
- New Brunswick, Fredericton: Picaroons Traditional Ales
- Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown: PEI Brewing Company
- Newfoundland, John’s: Quidi Vidi Brewing Company
- Yukon, Whitehorse: Yukon Brewing Company
- Northwest Territories, Yellowknife: NWT Brewing Company