Pouring It On!
By ANDREW JOSEPH, FEATURES EDITORAutomation Creemore Springs Brewery
New filling line puts Ontario craft brewer on solid footing for future market growth
Size and craftsmanship are fairly contradictory concepts when it comes to quality beermaking, but for folks at Creemore Springs Brewery Limited—part of the multinational brewing giant Molson Coors Brewing Company—there is nothing wrong with enjoying the best of both worlds, especially when doing so within the confines of a quaint and picturesque village of Creemore, Ont., located about a 90-minute drive northwest of Toronto.
Founded by a trio of local entrepreneurs back in 1987, Creemore Springs quickly made a name for itself in local beer markets with its highly successful flagship Creemore Springs Premium Lager brand, which in fact remained the company’s only product until the launch of the urBock brand to mark the brewer’s 10-year anniversary.
And while the company has since gone on to introduce a number of new beers into selected Canadian markets, the sheer success of Creemore Springs Premium Lager—accompanied by remarkable brand loyalty among the beer’s many fans—has remained the brewer’s core prized asset, according to the Creemore Springs executive vice-president and general manager Gordon Fuller.
“We’ve had great success with all of the beers we’ve introduced, but our Creemore Springs Premium Lager remains our bread-and-butter—a fact backed up by our constantly increasing sales,” Fuller told Canadian Packaging during a recent visit to the 28,000-square-foot, 75-employe operation that was purchased by Molson Coors in 2005 for about $50 million.
“Some thought that would be the end of us as a craft brewery, but they [Molson Coors] have pretty much left us alone,” says Fuller. “In my opinion, Molson Coors did not feel there was a need to meddle with a good thing.
“They saw that we knew what we were doing, and they made a conscious effort to minimize thir influence on our operations.”
In fact, having the financial muscle and marketing clout of one of the world’s leading brewers behind it has allowed Creemore to diversify its product portfolio quicker and more effectively than it would have been able to in the past, explains Fuller, citing the 2007 launch of the Traditional Pilsner brand and last year’s launch of the unfiltered, limited-release Kellerbier brand—with each new product quickly finding and establishing their niche markets with enough aplomb to ensure their ongoing production at the Creemore plant.