BARRIE, ON – Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery has announced release details for the second beer in The Matador series of Spanish cedar aged strong ales – although as with the upcoming retail debut of Kensington Brewing‘s Watermelon Wheat, Ontario beer drinkers will have to visit The Beer Store rather than the LCBO to snag a bottle.
According to a press release, the LCBO refused a listing for The Matador Version 2.0: El Toro Bravo due to having limited shelf space for “specialty offerings,” so Flying Monkeys turned to the only other retail channel for beer in Ontario, the Labatt/Molson/Sleeman owned Beer Store chain.
This necessary move has Flying Monkeys founder Peter Chiodo feeling disappointed but also cautiously optimistic:
The Flying Monkeys are making a conscious investment in The Beer Store releasing a real specialty beer to embrace the cartel’s claim that they support Ontario Craft Beer. The TBS boasts about vendor neutrality and equal access in all of their media rhetoric. However, “vendor neutrality”gets everyone who pays the listing fees access to the system, it does not mean non-owner brewers are treated fairly and equally in terms of access to retail shelf space.
“Actually,” Chiodo continues, “The Beer Store has the potential to be a really good beer retailing model… but we know that, as a private entity with a government-granted monopoly, the TBS is inherently biased.” The Beer Store puts a considerable amount of money into lobbying and propaganda to protect their cartel. Ultimately, it is Ontario’s beer loving consumers who suffer from the shareholders’ greed with a poor shopping experience heavily weighted with monotonous owner brands. “And,” as Chiodo points out, “Ontario suffers with a stunted craft brewing industry.” Hopefully, growing public awareness and social pressure fostered by Ontario’s Beer Writers and Craft Beer Culture will influence small brewers’ infiltration of the system.
As for the beer itself, it’s described as follows:
El Toro Bravo is a 10.1% imperial strength Dark Rye Ale aged on a bed of Spanish Cedar. Peppery brown with dark, oxblood lights, this stout-hearted ale breeds sweet, toffee malts & crisp, drying rye with the wood and spicy notes of the cedar. El Toro Bravo can be enjoyed fresh or cellared for up to 2 years.
Flying Monkeys El Toro Bravo is available now at select Beer Store locations for $10.95 per 750 ml bottle.