We don't pay to play.

A recent conversation with some other local craft brewery owners, and another with a local bar manager, is the inspiration for this post.

We at SDBC believe that if you play by the rules, treat people with respect, make good beer, and support your community, it's good for all. When you bend or break the rules, treat others unfairly, then what does that say about your business?

Some brief context. Pay to play or pay for play has been a common, albeit illegal practice in many businesses, including the beer industry. Just Google Pay to Play and beer, and you'll see many examples come up. Make no mistake, it also happens here in Canada. The macro breweries have done it for many years, and now some craft breweries are doing it as well. Why is this a problem? Because it doesn't level the playing field. In fact, it destroys the integrity of our business, undermines other businesses, and makes you no better than those that invented the tactic that you vowed to fight in the first place. 

Did you also know it was illegal?

This, from the AGCO, states clearly:

A manufacturer of liquor or an agent or employee of a manufacturer shall not directly or indirectly offer or give a financial or material inducement to a person who holds a licence or permit under the Act or to an agent or employee of the person for the purpose of increasing the sale or distribution of a brand of liquor. 
(i) It is prohibited for a manufacturer to provide a licensee or permit holder with cash, cash rebates, liquor, product rebates, price discounts, or abuse the refunding for leaking kegs, etc. 
(ii) Items essential to the operation of the licensed establishment or permit function which benefit the licensee or permit holder and are not targeted to the consumer for the purpose of raising the profile of the company or product name within the establishment may not be provided by a manufacturer. Examples of these items are: furniture carpet draft equipment renovations to premises staff uniforms dishwashers food processing/ handling equipment washroom supplies principle or special function lighting refrigeration equipment menus/menu printing services (cable TV cleaning painting decorating etc.) 
(iii) A manufacturer may provide items which could be viewed as beneficial to the operation of the business provided the volume is insignificant in relation to the overall annual requirements of the licensee and the purpose is to raise the profile of the manufacturer or manufacturer’s product with the consumer and not for the benefit of the licensee. This would allow a manufacturer to provide a small quantity of branded glassware, a portion of the menu printing, licensee signage, etc., provided it identifies the manufacturer or brands. (iv) A liquor sales licensee may mention a manufacturer’s name or brand names in advertising; however, a manufacturer may not pay for a sales licensee’s advertising.
Hopefully the AGCO will become more vigilant in enforcing these regulations, because this shady practice is only hurting our industry. How do you, the consumer, fight something like this? For starters, continue supporting local business. Trust that the majority of them are playing by the rules. Look at the taps, talk to the bar owners, speak to brewers. Not everyone will be forthcoming, but for those that are, deserve your business and support.
Cheers to honest business owners!
#doggiedontpay #keepbeerhonest #supportlocal #613beer #craftbeer