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Band of brewers pushing to name west Toronto neighbourhood the 'Brewery District'

Toronto already has a Distillery District, but if a band of local craft brewers get their way, the city will also boast a Brewery District.


Hear that? It’s the sound of 13 beer mugs clinking together in cheers.

A baker’s dozen of craft brewers near Dupont and Ossington are teaming up to help brand the neighbourhood as Toronto’s official Brewery District.

“Breweries are like indie bands,” said Steve Himel, manager of Henderson Brewing. “We’re not necessarily driven by competition. We know that together we are stronger.”

The original idea was to replicate the success of wine country in Niagara. There are already many breweries in Toronto’s west end, and it made sense to brand the area and attract more customers, said Himel.

If the pitch is approved, Himel expects the district to be buzzing with events allowing beer fans to sample the variety of Toronto’s taps.

“We’re basically rolling out the welcome mat to customers,” he said. “If you don’t like beer at X, just turn around and try beer at Y.”

And it’s not as if too much sampling can cause any problem, he said, since beer is relatively low in alcohol compared to wine or spirits.

“You can easily sample beer from 10 breweries in an afternoon and still be able to walk a reasonably straight line,” said Himel.

Ward 18 Coun. Ana Bailāo said the designation could bring a lot of financial benefit by creating jobs and promoting entrepreneurship. A brewery district would be a tourist attraction for both locals and visitors, adding to the city’s already vibrant culinary scene, she said.

“We have all sorts of great products here. Let’s be proud of them,” she said.

The final date hasn’t been confirmed, but Himel is hoping to have the first annual Brewery District Festival on July 31 at Henderson Brewing’s headquarters at 128A Sterling Road. 

A battle brewing between districts?

Toronto already has the Distillery District, but Steve Himel thinks the term is used inappropriately. “They don’t even do any distilling there,” he said, adding the Brewery District will be recognizing the real local brewing industry.

The 13 brewers

The 13 craft brewers pushing to brand the Ossington and Dupont area as the Brewery District are: Bandit Brewery, Bellwoods Brewery, Blood Brothers Brewing, Burdock Brewing, Duggan’s Brewery, Folly Brewpub, Halo Brewery, Henderson Brewing, Indie Alehouse Brewing, Junction Craft Brewing, Lansdowne Brewery, Rainhard Brewing and Station Cold Brew.

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