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Beers N' Cheers - Intoxicating brews of the Chateauguay Valley:

Which local establishment would YOU recommend to someone as to where they could imbibe in a cold n' frothy house brewed blend ?

Well, we guess it all simply depends on what tastes that folks are seeking - whether it may a simple flavor deriving from traditional brews or perhaps the more edgy innovative concoctions of brewing ingredients. Irregardless, it's been kinda hard to sample anything truly original over the last while given the history of limited choices in our region.

Introduced by European settlers in the 17th century, the first commercial brewery named "La Brasserie du Roi" was established by France's Intendant Jean Talon, (otherwise know as the Count d'Orsainville) in 1668 at Québec City.

Prompted by the limitation of alcoholic imports into New France, (1,200 barrels of beer, 800 wines and 400 of spirits) - the local clergymen and nobleman earnestly gave their support to his endeavor.

After the brewery failed about 5 years later, Jean Talon departed New France after "attempting to diversify it's economy" via the introduction of flax and hops crops, for the sole purpose of making beer. This first Quebec commercial beer was entirely made with Quebec products and half the volume was exported to the Caribbean and Europe. Until it's premature closing, it had produced up to 4,000 barrels of beer a year.

During the 1960s and up until the 1980s, only three breweries existed : Molson, Labatt and Carling-O'Keefe. This trio had the monopoly on the beer market for decades.

In the mid 1980s, the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux started issuing new permits authorizing commercial establishments to brew their own beer and sell it on site. and so it began..

There is no consistent "definition" of microbrewery across Canada. In fact, the various Provincial governments define small brewery, microbrewery, macrobrewery and nanobrewery, with a classification based upon the number of hectolitres produced.

The term "microbrewery" was originally used to describe the size and scale of these independent breweries, but these days reflects an "alternative attitude approach to brewing flexibility, adaptability, experimentation and customer service".

The Chateauguay Valley and regional area has been quite stagnant in terms of "Craft or House made Beer" type establishments as most micro-brasseries, or the regular city type start up type brewers and entrepreneurs have seemingly preferred to establish themselves into the more populous and demographically friendly cities that surround our region.

Another obstacle to opening this type of business is finding local support and capital, partners and of course, the investors. Often enough, many entrepreneurs may be fearful of operating elsewhere than in the "big city" due to market surveys reflecting the possibility of lesser revenue or lack of potential patronage.

Microbreweries have adopted a marketing strategy that differs from those of the large, mass-market breweries, offering products that compete on the basis of quality and diversity instead of low price and advertising.

Whether due to high commercial taxes, our Chateauguay Valley area towns and municipalities for have been relative ghost towns in regard to new business ventures over the last few decades. The municipalities should be banding together to create interest toward the establishment of a vibrant economy that could be shared throughout the region.

Take a look at our great neighbors in Kahnawake, who are flourishing with fine dining establishments, small business branding, eateries, bars and micro-brasseries. Kahnawake is setting the bar for local cuisine and drinking esablishments like the newly opened Kahnawake Brewing Co.

Established 2018 in this sudsy enterprise came to Kahnawake and opened originally under the banner of "BlackBridge Brewing Company", yet after a name change due to a simlarly named business elsewhere, they are now officially called the Kahnawake Brewing Co.

According to their Facebook page,"Kahnawake Brewing Company is the first microbrewery on the native territory of Kahnawake. Driven by passion and creativity we offer fresh and unique beers and food in our comfortable and cozy brewpub," says their intro..

From fruity blends, to pine scented growlers, Kahnawake Brewery is quickly gaining quick momentum throughout the valley as a popular "go to" spot. Paired with reportedly 'great' pizza ( and more) while sampling their ever growing varieties of beer. Located just off the Mercier Bridge in the Deer Plaza, you can't miss the stunning signage above their door..

Throughout our Valley, places are popping up all over. From 2013 until 2018 the number of Quebec brewing based businesses has risen from 122 to 207 respectively. See the stats at L’Association des microbrasseries du Québec.

To see a map of various locations, and for much more information about such enterprises, visit their website.

In the upcoming months, we will be highlighting local Valley area businesses with a new series of weekly spotlight stories about these pubs, brasseurs, restos and venues, so stay tuned and feel free to offer up suggestions and comments! Visit our Facebook page here!

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