Finally, the tired CRFA show has made the move to become a little more attractive to the young, talented industry that employs +1.2 million Canadians. This year was the first show under the new Restaurants Canada [RC] brand. In the ten years since I began attending the annual show, this truly is the first year where I didn’t feel as if I was attending a party thrown by grandparents for their friends. The new look is refreshing. The exhibitors, younger. The brands, independent and local. Gone are the days of GFS and Garland dominating the main stages. In are the local producers and organizations.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting some of our favourites from the show. First up, the brands that wet our whistle.
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SUMMER IS LOOKING THIRSTY
While one of our favourite moments was watching Dan Aykroyd get up on stage and channel his inner Tina Turner, the most exciting vendors were those pouring the drinks. Hot, cold alcoholic and/or virgin, there was something for everyone.
Sloane tea was serving ice cold Crimson Berry and a jasmine infused pink lemonade. Pommies had their dry cider on tap, and Twisted Leaves was debuting their vitamin infused teas.
But the beverage brands that really stood out for us at the show, were Station Cold Brew Coffee Company, Pluck Teas and Goose Island Beer Company.
STATION COLD BREW
One of our office favourites. Take the finest coffee beans, grind them and infuse for 18 hours. What you’re left with is a liquid one could only describe as f*cking delicious.
But really, it’s a cold coffee concentrate that is ready to serve on ice. Dilute if you must, or mix it up with a few shots of Collingwood Whisky and a splash of sweet vermouth.
MOJITO MINT from PLUCK TEA
Refreshing, intense and true to flavour. No artificial flavours, just batch after batch of testing & blending natural teas, herbs and fruits, until a blend makes you think “Holy sh!t that’s Mint Mojito, sans rum.”
Jennifer was one of many tea suppliers at the show, but her spin on classic flavours, paired with local products, take tea service to a new level.
GOOSE ISLAND BEER CO.
Our first taste from Goose Island was their Honkers Ale. A classic English pub style beer. It was love at first chug.
At the show we got a taste of their Goose IPA, and we can’t wait for that first keg to be tapped. It’s light, hoppy, but not too hoppy. Perfect for summers on the patio. Look for it soon at the LCBO, as it just landed about a week ago.