THE WAKKER WEEKLY – Issue #1480 – Posted on: 10-Jun-2019


NEWS FROM THE BREWERY! Head brewer, Michael Gaetz, reports our seasonally available BOMBAY IPA, PREMIUM PALE ALE, BARON BOCK and POMEGRANATE BLONDE ALE are currently on tap. There are also batches of CHICO LIGHT IPA, GRANNY’S BITTER, BUSHVAR CZECH PILS and MANGO BLONDE ALE working their way through the brewery.

Our June Premium Wine Features are from the Ares De Madeiros Winery in Portugal. The white is a 2016 vintage Viognier blend with Verdelho and Arinto and the red is a 2014 vintage Syrah blend with Aragonez and Touriga Nacional.

Our GUEST TAP is pouring a small keg of TEATOTALLER BROWN ALE from Saskatoon’s Temperance Brewing Co-operative. This is the sophomore offering from the first consumer co-op brewery in Canada. Next up is a PINK IPA from High Key Brewing.

THE BUSHWAKKER GOODNESS IS SPREADING! ALL SIX REGINA SLGA stores are now offering a varied selection of Bushwakker beers in 650ml bottles. The Quance street SLGA store is also offering growler fills of our DUNGARVON IRISH RED ALE. Regina’s Urban Cellars east location and Metro Liquor also offers a selection of our bottled beers. ATTENTION SASKATOON RESIDENTS! You can find our DUNGARVON bottles in the Saskatoon Metro Liquor store!

The Bushwakker LOCAL ARTIST WALL for the month of June features the works of Shelly Nicolle-Phillips She currently lives in Regina, Saskatchewan and was born and raised in Prince Edward Island.  Shelly taught herself the craft of rug hooking in 2015, inspired by the many rugs that were hooked by her grandmother and the long tradition of hooking in the Maritimes. Her art is a mix of traditional primitive rug hooking designs and more modern pieces including many landscapes. The depth and texture in her work is achieved using a wide variety of colours and textures of mostly wool with other materials such as silk used to accent her designs. Many of her pieces are inspired by the vast, beautiful prairie landscape as well as her birthplace in PEI. Rug hooking is a simple craft to learn and an accessible way to express creativity. The simple motion of hooking rugs can also be a relaxing almost meditative practice. Shelly loves to teach others how to hook rugs and introduce them to the traditional craft. Check out her facebook page to find out about upcoming classes here in Regina. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram as Hooked on the Prairies. Enjoy her unique works all this month!


June 7: FIRST FIRKIN FRIDAY. Enjoy the pomp and circumstance of this longstanding Bushwakker monthly tradition! A piper from The Regina Police Services Pipes & Drums leads a small keg (the firkin) of special ale throughout the pub in a procession. A guest volunteer tapper is selected to wield the handmade wooden maul affectionately named, The Mighty Firkin Wakker, and attempt to tap the keg in one swift blow! This month’s special brew will be UPENDI PINEAPPLE PASSIONFRUIT IPA. The suds-soaking spectacular takes place at 5:30 PM.

June 10: Monday Night Jazz & Blues. THE MINISTRY OF GROOVE. Powerful 1970’s jazz funk featuring a great horn section. 8:00 PM

June 12: Wednesday Night Folk. SUMMER SINGER/SONGWRITER SHOWCASE. Local singing wordsmith, Neil Child, is joined by a Albert Strangeman, Nathan Davis, Trent Leggott and Regan Hinchcliffe who will deliver original material and hone their craft. 8:00 PM.

June 13: 2019 JAZZFEST REGINA Bushwakker Performance – ALEX PANGMAN. 7:00 PM. The biggest night of the year for live jazz at The Bushwakker! Canada’s Sweetheart of Swing! With pipes aplenty, this Toronto based Juno Awards nominee breathes new life into the classic 1930’s jazz era! Her latest album was recorded in New Orleans where she approached the project in the spirit of early jazz recording pioneers. She recorded the album live. No smoke. No mirrors. A compelling talent, Alex Pangman’s voice can be regarded as even more impressive, knowing she received a double lung transplant several years ago. Rush seating tickets are $15. Available at the Bushwakker or PayPal. For more information visit

June 17: Monday Night Jazz & Blues. 8’S ENUFF. Mini big band delivers powerful jazz and swing. 8:00 PM.

June 19: Wednesday Night Folk. LADIES OF THE PRAIRIE AND THE MALE ORDER BAND. Three part female harmonies, guitar, banjo, steel guitar, mandolin and more! 9:00 PM. *Please note the later show time. We will be closed to the public for a private function for Saskatchewan Trade & Export Partnership between 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

June 20: CROSSMOUNT SUMMER CIDER TASTING EVENT. The popularity of ciders continues to rise. We are delighted to showcase the offerings of a fellow Saskatchewan local producer. Sample a half dozen ciders with the head cider maker from Saskatoon’s Crossmount Cidery who will present their traditional offerings as well as some boundary-pushing creations! Tickets only $20. 7:00 PM.

June 24: Monday Night Jazz & Blues. ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT. Veteran Regina act delivers popular jazz and adult contemporary tunes. 8:00 PM.

June 26: Wednesday Night Folk. MITCHELL MOZDZEN. Blues rock trio from Manitoba makes their Bushwakker debut. 8:00 PM.


By Paul Gatza and Bart Watson

The music industry is well-known for coming together in times of need. Some of the most famous benefit gigs over the last 30 years include the Concert for Bangladesh, Live Aid, Farm Aid, and the Concert for New York City that raised international awareness and major funds for various causes. The business of playing music for people has strong ties to doing good.

Similarly, the business of brewing beer for people increasingly has similar benevolent ties. The best example of brewing collaboration and fundraising on a huge scale emerged out of the hardship of the Camp Fire in Northern California last year.

The Camp Fire was the deadliest fire in the United States in the past 100 years and the world’s costliest natural disaster in 2018. Many employees and customers of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. were hit  hard, losing friends and homes in the tragedy. Sierra Nevada hopped into action, brewing Resilience Butte County Proud IPA and donating 100 percent of proceeds to relief efforts, as well as seeding the relief fund with a six-figure donation.

Sierra Nevada didn’t stop there;  it opened the field of collaborators to all of craft by encouraging brewers across the country to join the cause and brew Resilience IPA.  While founder Ken  Grossman originally  said that he anticipated that “maybe 200” brewers would heed the call, more than 1,400 did. Sierra Nevada made the recipe available, and the brewery’s suppliers donated ingredients to every participating brewery nationwide. Every state had at least one brewery make a version of the beer. Wholesalers and retailers agreed to carry the beer and donate 100 percent of the money they received. Sierra Nevada even scaled the recipe to a 5-gallon batch size for homebrewers, so many homebrew clubs got involved.

One reason so many brewers decided to get involved is the decades of support Sierra Nevada has provided to the rest of the craft brewing community—sharing technical brewing and quality information to others individually, at industry gatherings, in technical journals, and on industry committees. It wasn’t just the cause that got people involved; it was a way to both give back to Sierra Nevada and do some good at the same time.

Craft Market Patterns Stabilize
The story of Resilience IPA epitomized a year in which craft brewers saw increasing competition and challenges, yet still celebrated camaraderie and growth. Craft continued its winning streak of overall barrel growth in 2018 at just under 4 percent, seeing total volume sales rise by just under one million barrels. Although a million barrels of growth would have been a banner year in decades past, with more than 7,300 small and independent brewers operating throughout the year, that growth is now being sliced and diced in every direction. Per-brewer growth rates dropped to levels not seen since the late 90s/early 00s slowdown.

Within that million barrels of growth was a continuation of the trend that has emerged over the past couple of years: the vast majority of craft industry barrel growth has gone to new companies.

Much of this is simply driven by openings. More than 1,000 breweries—1,049 to be precise—opened in 2018. That brings the three-year total to nearly 3,200. In some ways, it’s hard to fathom that level of growth—the U.S. brewing industry didn’t even hit 3,200 total breweries until 2014. But the floodgate of brewery startups remains open, as brewing companies continue to populate locations previously without breweries; brewery density deepens across the country; and existing companies open more outlets to capitalize on at-the- brewery sales growth.

This year will likely bring more of the same. At the end of 2018, the U.S. Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) counted more than 10,000 active brewer permits. That number has been a strong predictor of new brewery openings in recent years and suggests that there are likely at least 2,500 breweries still in planning around the country.
Why are breweries still clamoring to open? Simply put, new entrants are largely finding success. Looking at growth by founding date, breweries that opened between 2015 and the end of 2018 accumulated nearly 90 percent of total craft growth with an increase of 872,000 barrels, a collective rate of 53.2 percent. Much of that growth percentage isn’t “real” in the sense that it resulted from opening or cycling partial years, but regardless, it is clear that new brewers are—depending on your perspective—either taking or driving growth. The reality is likely a mix, with some breweries finding new geographic, demographic, stylistic, and business model niches, whereas others are simply pulling from established local, regional, and national players.

In a crowded environment, these new brewers are finding much of their growth within their four walls. At-the-brewery sales jumped by 400,000 barrels in 2018, rising from 2.7 to 3.1 million barrels. These sales bring much-needed revenue at a time of increasing competition, but they are also drawing additional scrutiny from distributor and retailer partners. Faced with an overall environment in which beer has struggled to grow volume, other tiers increasingly see the success of brewers’ on-site sales as a source of competition. As a community, brewers will need to collectively manage these relationships or face a growing backlash to hard-won direct sales rights.

The number of breweries and the level of competition they represent has resulted in a challenging time for existing companies, particularly those that rely on broad distribution. We see this in a variety of ways. The first is the flip of the success of new entrants. In contrast to breweries that opened over the past four years, breweries with a founding date of 2014 or earlier collectively only saw around 100,000 barrels of growth in 2018, a rate of 0.5 percent.

Where there was growth from more established brewers, it generally went to the smaller, local players; on average, regional craft brewers remained static in 2018.
The companies with the broadest distribution face a multitude of competitive challenges. Generally, distribution is no longer growing for craft, so one company’s new tap handle or shelf placement is another’s loss. Those with the broadest distribution face this zero-sum game at both ends of the spectrum, with multinational brewers pressing their advantages on large-scale accounts and thousands of nimble local brewers winning small-scale account placements in their own markets.

Smaller brewers have not been totally immune to competitive challenges either, with closings (mostly microbreweries and brewpubs) rising to 219 in 2018. In many ways, however, that number remains shockingly low in a market growing by 4 percent. The 219 closings show a rate of approximately 3 percent, which by any measure is comparatively low in a competitive market with many entrants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only half of all business startups make it to their sixth year. Breweries, like the children of Lake Wobegon, continue to far exceed that average. That kind of over-performance can’t continue forever, but the numbers continue to underscore that the brewing industry is not average in terms of business success.

No matter how we cut the data, growth continues to accrue to business models employed by smaller, newer brewers. If we look at microbreweries and brewpubs, their growth rates were 16 and 13 percent, respectively. These numbers are somewhat inflated by the 1,000+ entrants in 2018, but would look even stronger if they included the numerous microbreweries graduating to regional craft brewer status.

Craft Beer Sales Up, Overall Beer Sales Down
Given the myriad ways in which we can break down successes and challenges within craft, it can be easy to lose perspective on how the category as a whole is faring within the larger beverage alcohol context. Seen from that angle, the results are more universally positive. Let’s start with the overall beer market.

Using a tighter definition of just “beer,” the U.S. beer market was likely down around -0.85 percent in 2018. A slightly broader view that includes the innovative products being taxed as beer—such as hard seltzers, hard sodas, and other “hard” products being dreamed up that can be made with malt substitutes—brings that number to right around minus half a point. Regardless, craft is clearly outperforming overall beer, as beer lovers continue to trade up to craft and imports (primarily Mexican in origin), as well as premium plus offerings and those aforementioned new innovations.

Beer volumes are not just being lost as beer lovers trade up—they are also flowing out of the category to wine and spirits. Much has been written about beer’s soft volumes in recent years, and although it is not the central thrust of this article, some basic lessons are worth repeating. Beer has lost volume to wine and more so to spirits for several reasons, the primary two of which are pricing and demographics. Over the past decade, beer has seen a dramatic price increase as a category, particularly in the off-premise. As Americans age, statistics have shown that they also drink less beer. The other reasons go into the murky bucket of consumer preference and are harder to gauge. However, craft beer has certainly been affected by spirits’ return to advertising, the rise of the mixologist, and a general desire of each new generation to act completely contrary to their parents’ generation.

Large brewer-acquired brands or self-developed brands that compete with craft have had mixed results on a brand-by-brand basis, with some showing strong or slow growth and   others in slow or rapid decline. In general, Brewers Association-defined craft outpaced large brewer competitors on the strength of new and exciting brands and fun taprooms, despite the distribution and market access advantages large brewers wield.

Pricing Growth Slows
Even as craft largely floats above the volume challenges of overall beer, these lessons should not be ignored. Craft has also seen strong pricing growth in recent years, though 2018 marked the slowest in recent memory, with BA craft up only 1.6 percent in IRI Group off-premise scan data, and up only 1.4 percent in Nielsen CGA on-premise data. Pricing is always a tricky balance for any company. Go too high and you risk the volume loss that overall beer has seen. At the same time, discounting or even holding pricing steady can erode brand value.

Craft Demographics Getting Crisper
Demographically, craft is on more solid footing as it tends to hold its index well as 25- to 34- year-olds age into the 35-44 bracket. Yes, people drink less beer as they age, but they increasingly trade up, keeping craft volumes strong. That said, the same volume doesn’t mean the same beers, and millennials (the 25- to 34-year-olds of the moment) are likely to shift what they drink as they age.

Much of craft’s growth in recent years has either come from IPA (and its ever-growing array of variants) or lighter styles.

Although predicting future style trends is an unreliable branch of soothsaying best reserved for traveling carnivals and Twitter debates, the demographic trends of the next decade do point toward a turn back to lighter styles. In last year’s Nielsen Craft Insights Panel, craft drinkers selected “crisp” as one attribute when asked what types of craft beer they were more interested in compared to a few years ago. Take consumer survey data with a grain of salt—crisp might mean Pilsner or brut IPA. But with aging millennials, health-conscious Gen Zers, the growth in products like hard seltzers and lighter craft offerings, and surveys favoring “crisp” all pointing in the same direction, it does appear the pendulum may be swinging back. Stay tuned.

Women are becoming a larger percentage of the craft customer base, with recent surveys showing a climb from 31 to 34 percent of customers. Gains have also been made in other areas of diversity, as brewers have become more inclusive in “fans, hands, and brands,” as Brewers Association diversity ambassador Dr. J. Nikol Jackson- Beckham notes. We are also seeing instances of sexual harassment and bias called out and held accountable, creating better environments for industry workers and mirroring a trend positively impacting more of society.

Seltzers Emerge In The Beverage Alcohol Scene
Whenever a new beverage innovation emerges, questions abound over whether it’s a new trend or a fad, and how long it will last. We’ve seen various levels of success for wine coolers, flavored vodkas or other spirits, flavored malt beverages, premixed cocktails, frozen beverages, beer-spirit flavor hybrids, alcoholic root beer and other sweet soda flavors, and anything with rosé, among other trends. Two categories on the current radar screen are hard seltzers and hard kombuchas. Both are showing rapid sales growth off relatively small bases, and both seem to have won the interest of the health and wellness cachet.

A surprising number of craft brewers have gotten into these newer beverage areas. With many states not allowing the sale of wine or spirits under certain licenses that fit brewpubs or taprooms, these alternative beverages can fill a void for groups of people who prefer the flavors of wine or something not beer-like. As sales-to-capacity percentage for the craft industry remains around 55 percent, seltzers have been an opportunity for some to increase sales and efficiency by closing some of the capacity gap.

Angst In Tariffs And Trade
The Trump administration has used tariffs, threats of tariffs, and trade discussion in an effort to try to achieve certain economic and foreign policy goals. These activities have resulted in supply uncertainty and higher costs for aluminum and steel. Trade investigations and product classifications concerning imported aluminum for cans, stainless steel tanks, kegs, and other high-ticket items have saddled some brewers with unexpected cost increases. The bankruptcy and closure of a high-profile brewery equipment manufacturer in Canada was one example of brewers not being able to get back deposits or receive paid-for equipment.

Health & Wellness
The major consumer trend toward perceived health and wellness should continue to impact the craft category. While low- and no-alcohol beers have gained market share in some European countries, movement in that direction in the U.S. has been slow. Some low-calorie beers, low-carb beers, and alcohol-containing seltzers are making headway. Public interest groups are pushing for greater exposure of nutrients on packaging.

Several alcohol “health studies” have generated clickbait headlines that often have no real correlation or causality to the study reported on. (One study recently claimed that for cancer risk, drinking a bottle of wine equates to smoking five to 10 cigarettes.) There are positives and negatives to any consumable item, but current publicity for alcohol has focused on the possible increased risks of over-indulgence and ignored the many benefits of moderate consumption. Expect anti-alcohol forces to continue to cherry-pick the most negative aspects of multifaceted, complex research and use them to promote anti-drinking agendas.

Utah .05 Law Goes Into Effect
Utah’s .05 blood alcohol content (BAC) driving under the influence law went into effect on December 30. The arguments for the .05 BAC standard include that the National Transportation Safety Board has advocated for it since 2013 and that many industrialized nations have a .05 limit. Arguments against note that in the industrialized nations with .05, the drinking age is lower than 21, and that the lower limit redirects enforcement away from the bigger driving and alcohol problem—repeat offenders and those with high blood alcohol content (over .15). According to some statistics, the latter group is involved in more than 70 percent of alcohol-related driving fatalities, while those between .05 and .08 are responsible for 2 percent. A 120-pound woman can go from zero to .05 in a little over one drink. The onus of serving a sober, adult woman of this size or smaller is on the establishment. Would they serve this woman one beer knowing that they could be liable for what most would consider responsible activity? This example points to the argument that .05 legislation may not only be unnecessary, but also economically debilitating. We have seen recent proposals in California, New York, Michigan, and Oregon on this topic, and past legislative proposals that have yet to resurface in Washington, Hawaii, and Delaware.

Regulatory Activity
Another item on the current radar screen is that the TTB has initiated a sweeping regulatory review process for advertising and labeling. It has been decades since there was a similar review, and what comes out of this could set the tone for decades going forward.

The TTB continues to actively work with state alcohol beverage agencies on trade practice investigations and enforcement, resulting in increased high-profile actions among the alcohol beverage tiers, mostly involving fines and settlements.

The Food Safety Modernization Act amended requirements for food facility registration of manufacturers with the Food and Drug Administration. If a brewer’s primary business is selling food and beer directly to the public, there are exemptions from registration. For most packaging brewers, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires registration. In any case, a brewer should know into which category they fall, and be prepared for an FDA audit.

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration has worked with the Brewers Association, the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and other involved parties to develop alliance agreements for safety training and education.

Independent Craft Brewer Seal Gaining Awareness
Forty-eight percent of core craft and adopting craft beer drinkers now know about the independent craft brewer seal. A marketing campaign targeted toward building awareness in these groups through television commercials, on-demand programming, social media, and subscription music reached many beer drinkers through the “That’s Independence You’re Tasting” and “Independence Matters” platforms. More than 4,300 brewers have licensed the seal, and a recently launched licensing agreement for retailers and other supporters created the opportunity for many non-brewing entities to show their support for independent craft brewers.

When reviewing 2018, it is tough to separate the possibility that craft is entering a period of stability from the prospect that we have all become fully acclimated to chaos in a way that makes constant disruption appear routine. In many ways, it does seem that craft has found a landing space for growth at a slower, low single- digit rate. If recent years are any indication, much of that growth will be driven by new brewers. A thousand new breweries making 250 barrels their first year and 500 in their second equates to a half million barrels of growth. The rest of the industry would then need only 2 percent growth to hit the million barrels we saw in 2018. Can that pattern continue in a world with 10,000 breweries? Or at some point does the pie become so finely sliced that even the new local brewers can’t find enough beer lovers to get off the ground?

It is certain that the entire industry would be in a better place if both new and existing brewers could attract new beer lovers to the craft party rather than simply shifting deck chairs among the current demographic. If beer has a volume challenge, craft has a drinker challenge.

Craft remains a highly successful niche. For it to fully transform the beer industry, it must transcend that niche status and connect with a new generation of beer lovers more broadly.

TIME OUT- Real Life Zen Teachings

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow. In fact, just piss off and leave me alone.

2. Sex is like air…it’s not that important unless you aren’t getting any.

3. No one is listening until you fart.

4. Always remember that you’re unique. Just like everyone else.

5. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

Our June 7th – June 9th Weekend Special is Braised Brisket w/ Bourbon Glaze. $19.95.
Soup & Sandwich Special is $13.95.  All hot specials are $16.95, except where noted, & include a serving of soup du jour, house, or Caesar salad.




Hot Special

Beer Pairing

Fri., June 7

Puerto Rico Salami & Potato

Naan Cuban

Citrus Roasted Salmon w/ Bulgur Salad

Northern Lights Lager

Sat., June 8


Eggs Benedict

Steak & a Pint. $21.95

Sun., June 9


BLT & Egg

Steak & a Pint. $21.95

Mon., June 10

Carrot & Ginger

Beef Philly

Potato Crepe Cannelloni

Bombay IPA

Tues., June 11

Country Chicken Noodle

Pepperoni, Ham, Mushroom & Green Pepper Pizza

Sirloin Pepper Sauté

Palliser Porter

Wed., June 12

Roast Pork Goulash

Chicken, Mango & Avocado

Pan Seared Tiger Shrimp w/ Lemon Dill Quinoa

Cheryl’s Blonde Ale

Thur., June 13

Beef Barley

Pork Banh Mi

Chicken Afritada

Northern Lights Lager

Fri., June 14

Creamy Potato, Bacon & Leek

Italian Cold Cut Ciabatta

Salsa Verde Flank Steak. $18.95

Sodbuster Brown Ale

Sat., June 15


Pigs in a Blanket

Steak & a Pint. $21.95

Sun., June 16



Steak & a Pint. $21.95

We strive to ensure all weekly specials and soups are made available. Product shortages or unforeseen circumstances may result in modification or even substitution of certain featured menu items.