I've lived on the Canadian border, right next to the U.S. for most of my life. In the past 5 or so years I've noticed that many American craft breweries seem to produce higher quality craft beer than their Canadian counter-parts. Not only is the beer often better, but the styles and flavors seem to be more creative.

I've heard inklings here and there that the regulatory environment in the U.S. tends to be more lax, which might be the cause of this, but I'm not certain if this is true. That leads to the questions:

  • In what ways are Canadian and American craft beer different?
  • What are the major factors that have led to these differences?
  • I just spent a week in BC skiing recently and found many decent craft beers that were on par with the beers I find around Seattle. At least from my point of view there was no difference. They were fond of different styles of beer, favoring British styles but I could find whatever I wanted at the BC liquor stores and on tap. May 18, 2018 at 22:28
  • Yea I guess this is one of those things that would be hard to generalize, because both the U.S. and Canada are large places. But at least when I've visited Michigan and Florida, the beer situation seems to be a bit better than in Ontario.
    – Cdn_Dev
    May 20, 2018 at 2:15
  • It could be here on the west coast, including BC, we have had a very long tradition of quality craft beer. Liquor laws in BC I think are more liberal than Ontario. I've heard stories about how hard it is to work with the OLCB. May 20, 2018 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


I am not 100% versed in this but I am assuming that Canada needs to import most of their hops. This could make it too expensive to provide a quality product when the ingredients are so expensive to buy. If you take that into account and the fact that alcohol, in general, is way more expensive in Canada than in the US, it makes sense that the brewers would skimp out on ingredients to keep their beer prices affordable. There is more variety available to us in States than in Canada too.

It seems that Canada is in need for more hop growers to help alleviate this problem.

An article about Canadian hop growers that might be relevant. https://www.albertafarmexpress.ca/2017/07/04/hop-in-growing-craft-brewery-market-drives-demand-for-local-hops/

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