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Why the big beer companies are buying the little ones (hint: $$$)

Will Bellwoods Brewery be next to get snapped up? (Probably not) (Image: Gizelle Lau)

Canadians might be cracking down on their beer guts by drinking fewer pints and opting instead for wine—but craft breweries keep growing unabated. The Toronto Star reports that in 1981, Canadians were drinking an average of 99.69 litres of beer per person per year, but that number went down to 80.3 litres as of last year. At the LCBO, however, microbrews have posted double-digit increases in sales and volume over the last decade. One staggering stat: in the last five years, sales in the LCBO’s seasonal beer program have gone up 200 per cent (this includes craft beers from home and abroad). This isn’t exactly shocking given Toronto’s much-discussed burgeoning craft beer scene and the bevy of awards microbreweries have nabbed (Amsterdam of Toronto, Cameron’s of Oakville and King Brewery of Nobleton just won awards at the 2012 World Beer Cup in San Diego, California). These little upstarts are a big enough threat to the big boys that companies like Sapporo, Moosehead and Molson Coors have been snapping up the smaller breweries (Sleeman, Hop City Brewing and Granville Island Brewing, respectively) with abandon. [Toronto Star]