We hear much of the local food movement; readers of this column know I’ve written on it often. There’s even a name for local food enthusiasts: locavores. Just as a carnivore eats meat and a herbivore eats plants, a locavore eats foods grown or prepared locally. Ideas like the “hundred mile diet” or “eating the seasons” are growing in popularity from humble kitchen tables to fancy restaurants.
But what about beverages? I’ve written on the folly of bottled water when we already have top-quality drinking water free* at our taps. (The other day I was shocked to see water from Icelandic glaciers on the shelves of a local dairy.)
Yet we don’t just drink water. Simcoe isn’t a juice region, but we do have some wonderful local breweries, wineries, and even distilleries for those who like a tipple.
My own philosophy, when at home or travelling, is to approach the local beers or wines just as I would the local cuisine: part of a region’s character, something to partake of when there. Living in
, I drank Korean beers and rice liquor,
especially house vintages, rather than the expensive western imports popular
among status-seekers. Visiting relatives in Korea a decade ago, I enjoyed visiting the
Heurigen which serve house white wines fresh from that year’s cask. Vienna
Bike tours of the
Niagara wine region have been a frequent summer activity for
my wife and I, and our last visit to BC featured a wonderful day touring the
wineries of . Kelowna
Whenever I share drinks in another city, I seek out local flavours on tap. In
, it’s Mill Street Organic or Steam Whistle; in Toronto , it’s something from the Brick Brewery. (This once
backfired on me; after a long day canvassing in Kitchener , I asked the bartender for a pint of something
made nearby and he pulled me a Labatt Blue! Since then I’ve been more
careful how I ask… ) London
Most of the time I’m in
, but that doesn’t mean I must settle for
generic national brands, or beers made from melting BC glaciers, trucked across
a continent to sit in a warehouse for weeks. We are lucky to have, right
downtown, our own local brews courtesy of Flying Monkeys. For variety, I’ll have
something from Creemore or Muskoka. Barrie
Recently I discovered a new winery in the Holland Marsh, which I’ll write about soon. I hear there are also some now in the Collingwood area. Collingwood is also site of the distillation of several Canadian whiskies. From beer to wine to spirits, one can now complement a “locavore” diet with “locaholic” drinks!
In future Locaholic columns, I’ll look at each of these regional beverages in more detail.
*Although your tap water is metered, the amount you use for drinking is so miniscule (compared to what is used for toilets, showers, cooking, dishes, laundry, washing, lawns, pools, etc.) that it barely registers on your bill. For the average person it amounts to less than one fifth of one cent per day, or under a dollar per year.
Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner under the title "Locavores, localholics getting more popular"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of the Ontario School of Economic Science and Earthsharing Canada.