St. Joseph acquires Toronto Beer Week

The acquisition is the latest in the media company's play to expand its events portfolio.

The ninth annual Toronto Beer Week is returning Sept. 14 to 22, but the event will fly under a new banner this year.

Toronto Beer Week was acquired by Toronto Life and Fashion parent company St. Joseph Media late last month. While St. Joseph says it will continue many of the event’s longstanding traditions, it will also bring several new features to the week.

Toronto Beer Week is centered around curated beer events such as pub crawls, beer dinners, tap takeovers, meet-and-greets and more, all built to showcase Toronto’s best brewers and the licensees that bring them to fans.

St. Joseph’s director of events and experiential Carrie Gillis told MiC that advertisers will have all of the same opportunities they previously had. For example, bars, restaurants and breweries can participate through the annual guide, which will be distributed at participating locations. St. Joseph will expand the guide to a year-round magazine-style publication that includes beer-centered content in addition to being a companion to the event.

Also, this year St. Joseph will add a standalone event component (previously, Beer Week has been celebrated at on-premise events at participating restaurants and breweries). Gillis said the standalone event, which she estimates will be attended by 1,000 to 1,500 people, is where sponsorship and activation will take off. As part of this, experts will present a “beer school” (an educational event to increase consumers’ beer know-how) and content will be developed through Toronto Life.

The craft beer category is fast-growing, said Gillis, especially in Toronto. “There’s a huge influx of new producers in the city, and the guys at Toronto Beer Week were way ahead of the curve on that,” she said. “Their insight into the industry is really impressive. For us, it presents an opportunity to expand on this event, develop a better relationship with them and reinforce the city’s reputation for food and drink culture.”

Events have become a major pillar for St. Joseph as it’s ramped up its content division. The company has hosted regular events such as the Toronto Live Garden Party and a real estate event for several years now, and in July it hired Gillis to create a formal events division.

Toronto Beer Week will stand under its own umbrella and will not operate under a specific St. Joseph brand, although Toronto Life will be heavily involved, said Gillis.

“We think we can grow it into a festival that becomes known well beyond the city.”