Canadian restaurants, pubs and bars have been devastated by the impacts of COVID-19 with more of these businesses closing their doors permanently every day. The impacts of lockdowns and closures extend far beyond these businesses as Canada’s beverage alcohol industry has seen a collapse in bar and restaurant sales of their products. While restaurants and bars fight for their survival, they must also contend with Canada’s increasing alcohol taxes, which are some of the highest in the world. This tax burden is scheduled to increase again next year due to the alcohol escalator tax which increases alcohol taxes on April 1 every year.
Please join our discussion with Industry leaders:
- Larry Isaacs, President, Firkin Group of Pubs
- Peter Watts, Managing Director, Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre
- Michael Brennan, Chief Executive Officer, Great Western Brewing Company
- Marc Valencia, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Vice President, Public Affairs, Corby Spirit and Wine Limited
The discussion will focus on what the industry is doing to survive the pandemic and what Canada can do mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our restaurants and bars while improving the competitiveness of its breweries, wineries, distilleries and all of the agricultural and other supply chain members that contribute to this industry.
Larry Isaacs, President, Firkin Group of Pubs
Larry Isaacs is a distinguished and results-orientated business executive in the hospitality industry for 38 years. He became the head of the sales and marketing divisions of the Firkin Group of Pubs in 2008. He has been responsible for all marketing campaigns, menu development and supplier contracts. Mr. Isaacs’ strong business acumen has been tremendous in development of the airport locations and other growth in the United States. As of 2018, he was promoted to President of Firkin Group of Pubs and now oversees the whole company.
Peter Watts, Managing Director, Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre
Using its pilot-scale malting and brewing facilities, the role of the CMBTC is to ensure Canada is a leader in supplying high-quality malting barley to the global malting and brewing industries. This is achieved by providing technical services, marketing support, training and education as well as applied research services to the Canadian malting barley value chain. In his role as Managing Director, Peter oversees the operations and financial management of the CMBTC. In his past life, Peter worked with Pulse Canada as Director of Market Innovation and as a Market Analyst with the Canadian Wheat Board. He holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Laval University.
Michael Brennan, Chief Executive Officer, Great Western Brewing Company
Saskatoon-raised Michael Brennan is currently President and CEO of Great Western Brewing Company. Michael started his career in the audit and accounting field working with both Deloitte and Ernst & Young. From this base Michael has continued to build his career in a variety of roles, including as a former senior executive with Bacardi Limited (CEO – Bacardi International Limited and VP Finance, Treasurer and Controller – Bacardi Limited) and as Chief Financial Officer of Vendasta Technologies Inc. in Saskatoon (2014 – 2018). Michael served on the Board of Directors of Great Western Brewing Company for two years prior to taking the helm as President in 2018. His career path has allowed Michael to gain a solid understanding of the large-scale beverage industry. His over twenty years of executive experience in North America and Europe involved leading key transformational business initiatives while delivering consistent growth. Michael is a proven resource for driving critical projects through to completion and is a motivational leader who energizes teams through encouragement, mentoring and by example.
Marc Valencia, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Vice President, Public Affairs, Corby Spirit and Wine Limited
Corby Spirit and Wine is a leading Canadian manufacturer, marketer and distributor of spirits and wines. Since joining Corby in 2004, Marc has been a key member of the executive team, with responsibility for all legal and public affairs matters in Canada for both Corby and its parent company, Pernod Ricard. As part of that, Corby supports its affiliate, Hiram Walker & Sons Limited in Windsor, Ontario, that operates the largest beverage alcohol distillery in North America. Prior to joining Corby, Marc worked as a transactional lawyer focused upon corporate and securities matters at leading law firms in Silicon Valley and Toronto, having been called to the bars of both California and Ontario.