2020 Review 🍻

After 5 long years 2020 is finally over. Brewed Today keeps track of new beer releases, seasonal releases, and inventory restock of Ontario breweries who deliver their beer province wide. 2020 brought on a fundamental shift to how breweries operated. For many breweries, especially smaller ones, most of their revenue previously came from direct on-premise sales. With Covid-19 they were forced to find new ways. Moving to, or increasing their online presence was what happened.

Let's take a look at some numbers from 2020.

Note: This article's numbers are only for breweries that deliver province-wide. At some point in 2021 Brewed Today will begin showing all Ontario breweries that have an online store and help you select based on who will deliver to you. Stay tuned!


January 2020

Ontario breweries were shipping their beer province-wide at the start of the year.

December 2020

Breweries shipping province-wide, doubling by the end of the year.



Different beers released throughout the year

Whether it's a brand new experimental beer or a new vintage for 2020 there's been no shortage of variety available at your fingertips and doorstep.

Releases by Date

Let's break this down and take a visual look at these releases over the course of the year.

On March 17th the Ontario government declared a state of emergency, closing all bars and restaurants. This is where we see a spike in the number of beers becoming available online. Dozen's of breweries who previously didn't sell online quickly setup online store fronts throughout March and April to survive. Here we can see the number of beer releases per month:

We can take a look at this broken down by day using a calendar heat map. The gradients really shows where ramp ups occur throughout the year.

releases per day

Shaping that a bit differently we can see what days of the week beers are most frequently released (releases for the day a brewery launched their online store front have been omitted): If you're on the hunt to try the latest and greatest beers make sure to keep your eyes open Wednesday through Friday!

Black Is Beautiful

"A collaborative effort to raise awareness for the injustices people of color face daily and raise funds for police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged."

The following breweries participated in the Black Is Beautiful program, each contributing their own variant of the beer and donating proceeds to a worthy cause (in order of release date):

Top Variety Breweries

Over the course of the year, the following 10 breweries released the largest number of different beers.

Rorschach 108
Bellwoods 106
Half Hours on Earth 79
Blood Brothers 77
Burdock 73
Short Finger 66
Refined Fool 64
Whiprsnapr 61
Dominion City 55
Collective Arts 51

Sales Growth

This section is going to be a little bit different.

All the observations up until this point were derived from brewed.today's data, which is gathered from publicly available data found from online store fronts. From this dataset we're able to discern categorical data of products and their general availability to consumers. Unfortunately, this is lacking for more interesting observations around sales.

I've been able to gather a small amount of information around some breweries sales and operations. I'd like to take a look at three breweries and try to take a look at the growth with what limited data is available. I'm going to keep the breweries identities anonymous.

I've been able to procure a rough number of online orders over the course of three years for these breweries. Ideally, to compare equally I'd like to obtain the number of hectolitres each brewery brews per year as to give a representation of scale when comparing against each other. Volumes brewed isn't publicly available, so to try to compare scale I've snapshotted the amount of inventory each brewery has on the shelves in the LCBO all across the province.

  LCBO Footprint 2019 2020 Growth
Brewery 1 2500 200 3500 17.5x
Brewery 2 90000 600 9500 16x
Brewery 3 75000 550 27500 50x

With restaurants and brewpubs closing, breweries shifted their focus to online sales and delivery. It's unsurprising seeing the number of orders sky rocket. What is surprising, to me, is the amount that Brewery 3 increased its online sales compared to Brewery 2, as by my rough estimate, they brew similar volumes per year. What did Brewery 3 do differently? Better beer? Better location? Better prices? Better marketing? Something else?
Unfortunately, I don't have empirical data to answer these questions, just theories.


Thank you for reading. This was a fun exercise for me and I hope you enjoyed it as well.

If you have any questions or just wanted to say "hi" you can hit me up on Twitter at either my personal account @boden_c or @BrewedToday.

Cheers 🍻