Top Funding Programs for Canada’s Craft Breweries

Canada’s craft brewery journey began in 1985 with the opening of Granville Island Brewing in British Columbia and Ontario’s Upper Canada Brewing Company. Canada’s craft breweries have been overflowing with support since the mid-2000s as beer drinkers sought out locally-made beers with unique flavours and combinations.

While the sector may have been recognized as micro in the past, today Canada’s craft brewery industry is anything but small. It’s estimated that Canadian-made craft beer accounts for at least one-tenth of Canada’s $9.1-billion annual revenue in all beer sales, generating about $683-million of economic growth annually.

“Ontario’s craft breweries have consistently shown their ability to create and deliver premium craft beers and our government is proud to support their continued innovation and growth.”
– Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Craft beer is a fast-expanding industry in Canada. As such, Canada’s federal and provincial governments provide funding support for economic growth and innovation projects through programs such as the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) which help craft breweries expand to new markets, grow their businesses, adopt new technologies, hire and train new and existing staff, and much more.

Federal Funding Programs for Canada’s Craft Breweries

By nurturing Canada’s craft brewery sector with federal and provincial government funding support, Canadian craft breweries can access cashflow for projects that will build a sustainable future, create local and global product excellence, and contribute to the growth and vitality of rural communities.

“Our government is committed to supporting Ontario’s craft breweries by expanding their market opportunities and improving customer convenience and choice by allowing them to sell their craft beers in retail stores across Ontario.”
– Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Listed below are two currently available federal funding programs that support the Canadian craft brewery sector. Please note that timelines and eligibility may change; always refer to the hyperlinked program page for the latest updates to the program and subscribe to our free Weekly Funding E-Newsletter for the latest in funding news.

Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) AgriCompetitiveness Program

The SCAP AgriCompetitiveness Program is specifically designed to help Canadian industry associations and Indigenous organizations coordinate and build on existing capacity, enhance safety, and adapt to changing commercial and regulatory environments.

Funding Amount: Up to 70% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $1 million per year. Maximum $5 million lifetime value from the program.

Applicant Eligibility: Must be a not-for-profit organization or indigenous organization that can demonstrate the ability to deliver a national and/or agriculture and agri-food sector-wide project that includes. Must be a legal entity capable of entering into legally binding agreements.

Project Eligibility:

  • Building skills, knowledge, and best practices among industry members; 
  • Helping the sector build leadership and facilitate knowledge transfer; 
  • Increasing business management and planning capacity within the sector; and
  • Promoting farm safety; Increasing public trust.

Program Timeline: Project costs are eligible for funding as of April 1, 2023. The program ends March 31, 2028.

Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) AgriMarketing Program

The SCAP AgriMarketing Program supports Canadian agricultural sectors to increase and diversify exports. The program hopes to grow the economy by increasing the visibility of Canadian products worldwide and growing the capacity of exporting producers to identify and seize market development opportunities in targeted markets.

Funding Amount: Up to 50% of eligible costs to a max. of $10M over 5 years (max. $2M/year) in non-repayable funding.

Applicant Eligibility: Not-for-profit organization or Indigenous organization. Demonstrate the ability to deliver a national and/or agriculture and agri-food sector-wide project.

Project Eligibility: Support national agricultural sectors to increase and diversify exports to international markets, seize domestic market opportunities, and more.

Program Timeline: Applications will be accepted from March 6, 2023 until September 30, 2027; however, the application period may close sooner if funding has been fully committed. The program ends March 31, 2028.

Provincial Funding Programs for Canada’s Craft Breweries

The SCAP has invested $2.5 billion to support hundreds of provincial agriculture funding programs that are tailored to meet regional needs. The funding programs are developed and delivered by the provinces and territories, and thus are jointly defined by federal, provincial, and territorial governments.

Below are four currently available provincial funding programs to support Canada’s craft brewery sector businesses in Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick. More provincial streams are available across all regions. Please note that timelines and eligibility may change over time; always refer to the hyperlinked program page for the latest updates to the program and/or subscribe to our free Weekly Funding E-Newsletter for the latest in funding news.

Alberta – Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) Emerging Opportunities Grant Program

The Alberta – SCAP – Emerging Opportunities Grant Program contributes to the Government of Alberta’s strategic objectives to grow and develop Alberta’s value-added agriculture sector. In addition to supporting innovation projects, the program also supports projects that have a significant economic impact on the sector and company growth.

Funding Amount: Access up to 50% of costs to a maximum $2 million per application.

Applicant Eligibility:

  • Registered and operating in Alberta;
  • In good standing in accordance with applicable legislation; and
  • An agriculture or bio-industrial processor, or an industry organization.

Project Eligibility: Eligible projects must include one of these activities:

  • Equipment and engineering;
  • Initiatives that explore market opportunities;
  • Activities that promote collaboration; and any
  • Other activity deemed eligible by the Minister.

Program Timeline: While intake is continuous, applicants may only apply upon invitation from the department.

Alberta – Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) Farm Technology Program

A key objective of the Alberta – SCAP – Farm Technology Program is to encourage farmers to adopt innovative technologies that minimize agricultural waste, maximize farm efficiency, and ensure farm security. As a result of the program, primary producers will be able to better anticipate and manage risks, reduce environmental impacts, and protect their farms at the same time.

Funding Amount: Access 50% up to maximum of $48,000 for eligible farm technology expenses, and up to 50% up to max, of $2,000 for eligible farm security expenses.

Applicant Eligibility: Be a Primary Producer and responsible for input costs for a crop, bee, or livestock operation in Alberta that produces at least $25K worth of farm commodities annually.

Project Eligibility: Eligible activities must consist of the purchase of equipment, or any other activity related to farm technology that the applicant establishes, to the Minister’s satisfaction.

Program Timeline: The Program is currently accepting application and approvals are granted on a case-by-case basis. Expenses incurred on and after April 1, 2023 are eligible.

Ontario – Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) Grow Ontario Market (GOM) Program

The Canadian government along with the Government of Ontario are investing upwards of $6 million through the SCAP Grow Ontario Market (GOM) Program to help eligible agri-food businesses and industry organizations in Ontario to export their products into local and global markets to boost economic growth and innovation.

Funding Amount: For eligible producers & food and beverage processors, up to 50% of eligible costs, to a max of $60,000. For eligible sector organizations, up to 50% of total eligible costs, to a max of $125,000.

Applicant Eligibility: Must be in Ontario and an agri-food business, industry organization, food and beverage processor, or farm business.

Project Eligibility: Projects may be eligible if they incorporate:

  • Market analysis and planning;
  • Product development activities; and
  • New market-entry promotional efforts.

Program Timeline: Applications opened on May 19, 2023, and will be accepted on an ongoing basis until funding is fully allocated.

New Brunswick – Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) Market Development and Access (MDAP)

New Brunswick’s SCAP Market Development and Access Program supports the agriculture industry in leveraging new, existing, and emerging markets, from local farmers’ markets to international ones, to increase sales.

Funding Amount: Access up to 50% to a maximum of $15,000 annually per project per year.

Applicant Eligibility: All food and beverages producers and processors in New Brunswick may be eligible if they meet certain criteria.

Project Eligibility: There are three streams in this program. To be eligible for funding, applicant projects must fall under one of the following:

  • Market Readiness;
  • Market Development; or
  • Direct to Consumers.

Program Timeline: Program applications are welcome on an ongoing basis until funding is exhausted.

Additional Funding Opportunities for Canadian Breweries

While this blog has focused primarily on Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) funding programs, it is important to note that there are other government funding opportunities in the forms of grants, loans, and tax credits available for Canada’s craft brewing industry businesses.

One of these programs is the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Credit Program which offers cashflow support for business-led research and development projects.

SR&ED tax credits are ideal for brewery businesses looking to research more efficient processes or products for their production lines. Learn more about the SR&ED program by watching our series of SR&ED 101 educational videos.

Want to learn more about how to manage, grow, and fund your agri-business? Download our free Canadian Agri-Business Growth Guide for exclusive access to resources, links, tools, and support services related to agriculture and food processing businesses.

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