One of my favourite Quebec based craft brewers has just joined the ranks of Molson Coors.
Le Trou du Diable came into being in December 2005 on premises located on Willow Avenue in Shawinigan, Quebec. The brewery is well known for their barrel-aged beer and sour program, and in my opinion produces some of the most interesting beer in the country. Over the last 12 years, Trou du diable has garnered over 150 international awards for its products, making it one of Canada’s flagship breweries.
Now Trou du Diable has been acquired by Six Pints, the division of Molson that oversees the company’s craft brewing operations in Canada including Creemore Springs, Granville Island, and Brasseur de Montréal.
According to the official press release, the microbrewery’s brewing operations are to continue unchanged. For the time being, sales and distribution to retailers that deal with Trou du Diable will continue to be handled internally by their team. The company’s suppliers, as well as sport, culture, social and community partnerships, will also be maintained. Of note, the agreement does not extend to the restaurant on Willow Avenue in Shawinigan, a distinct entity set to remain fully independent.
If you’re concerned about how this acquisition will affect the beer quality, the brewery believes nothing will change. “If you like Trou du diable products, you are going to continue to like them. Our products will not be changing. We will continue to incorporate as much passion and know-how into them,” said André Trudel, brewmaster at Trou du Diable.
Is this a bad thing for craft beer? Not necessarily. As I argued in a previous piece, just because a craft brewer gets acquired, doesn’t mean they are no longer a credible brewery. The acquisition could free up some spending money for the brewery to focus on their barrel program, and it most definitely will mean that Trou du Diable products will be more regularly available for Canadian beer drinkers.
Let’s face it, this is one of two end-game scenarios for craft distributors; you either are acquired or you grow so large that you’re now a macro-producer. Can’t fault a brewery for reaching success. I for one am excited to see more Trou du Diable products on store shelves, as long as the quality of the brewery remains to the standards it currently holds in high regards.