This Saturday, the Speedvale Avenue LCBO (officially known as store #325) is going to be hopping – literally – with a charitable tasting event highlighting 15 Ontario craft brewers.
And that can only mean one thing: Orest Poluch is at it again.
For the past decade, Assistant Manager Poluch has coordinated an Ontario VQA wine tasting event in Guelph (formerly, at the Scottsdale LCBO store, before he transferred to Speedvale) to support charity and raise awareness of the province’s best wineries.
This year, he’s trying something different.
It’s called Beer for Bracelets, with a focus on the astronomical rise of what some call “nano” craft brewers, the ones that hardly show up on the radar screen but produce phenomenal suds.
“I’ll be giving profile to small producers,” he says. “Ontario's craft brewers play a key role in the local economy through their community involvement. It seems like more and more, every small community has a brewery and a story to share. They have a passion to re-kindle their craft and keep alive the spirit of traditional brewing.”
Poluch says guests will be able to wander through the Speedvale store at their own pace and check out the range of Ontario craft beer at sample stations located throughout the store.
Once again, the recipient of the charitable proceeds (tickets for four samples of beer will be $10) is the Bracelet of Hope.
Poluch describes the Bracelet of Hope as an example of international cooperation, aimed at assisting Lesotho in overcoming its AIDS pandemic. Guelph’s Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik founded the project as well as the Masai Centre for Local, Regional and Global Health in Guelph. She is a regional HIV specialist.
Poluch has lined up four Guelph breweries – Royal City, Stonehammer, Four Fathers and Wellington (the latter isn’t really “nano” anymore) – along with nearby breweries Elora, and Cowbell out of Blyth. The other nine are from around the province.
Space limitations restricted more than 15 brewery participants. Poluch says he could have had many more. “I had calls from several other breweries who wanted to come to this event,” he says. “Craft brewers are very proud of their product and want to get it in front of people.”
The event runs from noon to 5 p.m.
Expect a bigger crowd than usual if the union representing LCBO workers doesn’t settle soon, and customers anticipating a strike are busy stocking up for the next long weekend.
“This is the last Saturday before Canada’s 150th Canada Day,” says Poluch. “Local craft beer will be top of mind for many shoppers.”