Gluten free brewery asks for help to get to Beer Store

In potentially interesting news for both the gluten-intolerant and new brewers considering the costs and merits of working with The Beer Store, Montreal's Glutenberg, purveyors of award-winning gluten-free beer, have this week launched an Indiegogo campaign to ask for assistance bringing their beer to Ontario.

In an email statement released yesterday through Glutenberg's distribution agency, Keep6Imports, the owners of Glutenberg noted that, while their products are available in eight provinces, 14 American states, Italy, and Brazil, they have thus far been unable to bring their beer to Ontario thanks to "many unsuccessful attempts trying to work with the LCBO."

As a result, they're asking fans of their beer to pony up the "massive investment" required to do business with The Beer Store. An investment they say they "won't be able to make without your precious help."

For those who are unfamiliar, The Beer Store, which is owned by three mostly-foreign-owned, multinational brewers, charges other brewers for the right to sell beer at The Beer Store, the only privately-run retail beer outlet in Ontario.

And they charge quite a bit.

These myriad fees often add up to an amount that's simply too high for craft brewers to even consider playing ball; however, in an industry where their only alternatives are to sell their beer directly from their own breweries or get them into the LCBO, The Beer Store is becoming a last resort for many small businesses that might otherwise turn up their noses at the idea of paying their competition just for the right to sell beer.

In May of this year, for example, both Kensington Brewing Company and Flying Monkeys announced they'd reluctantly be doing business with TBS, despite the fact that it would cost Flying Monkeys $25,880 just to put their beer in 100 stores.

Glutenberg, who aren't willing to pay that high cost, are hoping that Ontario's fans of gluten free beer will cover the cost of doing business with The Beer Store. Their Indiegogo campaign offers GF boozers the ability to make donations ranging from $15 - $1000 with rewards like t-shirts, gift certificates, and even a night out in Montreal with the company's co-founders, Julien Niquet and David Cayer.

Ontario is certainly in short supply of decent gluten free beer, but the idea of paying a business just so you can buy their beer might leave a bad taste in some people's mouths. What do you think? Will you donate to their campaign?

Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog. Follow him on twitter @Ben_T_Johnson.

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