TORONTO and NIAGARA FALLS, ON, June 20, 2023 /CNW/ – Two Ontario craft beverage innovators are teaming up to bring delicious new products to Ontario consumers and eventually across Canada. Niagara Falls Craft Distillers (NFCD) and United Craft Inc. (UC) have entered into a strategic partnership to pursue an accelerated path for product innovation, manufacturing, selling and distribution of made-in-Ontario craft beverages with the formation of United Niagara Beverages (UNB).
Aside from its own products, United Niagara Beverages will also offer contract production and sales services to other independent Ontario producers in both alcohol and non alcohol segments. It will pursue any necessary additional federal/provincial licenses to enable production and sale of its beverages across the omni channel and launch both physical and online retail stores in the coming months.
The new strategic partnership was born after close collaboration between the companies over the past two years, where they identified new opportunities and shared a common vision for the fast-evolving beverage marketplace now facing profound demographic shifts and changing consumer tastes. StatsCan reported that 2022 beer sales saw their largest decline in ten years and wine sales recorded their lowest sales level since 1949. Meanwhile Ready-to-Drink spirit-based beverages have grown considerably, as have low/no-alcohol segments and functional drinks. These changing consumer preferences have heightened the need for beverage innovation.
United Niagara Beverages will build on the partners’ respective synergies, expertise and strengths, with the combination providing a path to more nimbleness and speed in driving innovation in product and packaging options. The strategic partnership not only intends to accelerate the expansion of Ontario craft beverages beyond Ontario, but also attract out-of-province production to Ontario, providing more choice for consumers and more made-in-Ontario volume, while increasing capital investment and equipment utilization. This accelerated capital investment will be directed toward increased brewing and production capacity, non-alcoholic production and unique fillers that will help UNB explore distinctive, first to market packaging formats.
“We really value United Craft’s commitment to innovation and their ability to create, launch and then broadly distribute compelling branded products consumers are clamoring for,” said Andy Murison, CEO of NFCD. “Their expertise, combined with our 50+ years of senior leadership production experience, will position UNB as an incubator and facilitate dynamic new products to market faster and quicker.”
Pat Macdonald, CEO of United Craft, explained that Niagara Craft Distillers was a key force in bringing its Hail Caesar RTD to market in 2022. She explained that UNB’s flexible pilot system will fine tune raw ideas, with its disciplined production process to scale up quantities and extensive sales and distribution expertise to launch products into the market. She emphasized, “This new partnership will enable United Craft to transition to brick-and-mortar while teaming up with a renowned partner. We can realize new ideas in a range of market segments faster for ourselves and others.”
United Niagara Beverages will seek new strategic investments into additional brewing and production equipment, licensees, and capabilities to help it service both the alcohol and non-alcohol beverage categories. Brand owners and aspiring beverage entrepreneurs are invited to contact UNB or visit https://unitedniagarabeverages.com/ to discuss potential production and sales distribution.