How It’s Made

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Last weekend I went on a tour of the Steam Whistle Brewery in the historic John St. Roundhouse in downtown Toronto.

The tour was a blast! With two complimentary glasses of pilsner and a bottle of beer pulled straight off the line how could it not be.

Yet, as I walked around the spotless factory sipping my cool bottle of beer, smelling the imported European hops, learning about the eco-friendly water recycling process that the company uses and watching the brew master drink coffee out of a generic Ikea cup, I couldn’t help but question the commodification of production in the postindustrial age and our fascination as consumers of knowing “how it’s made.”

Are we so distanced from our manufacturing past that we turn to tours such as these to remind us that production still exists? Do we simply want to feel better about our consumer behaviours by knowing that our products were produced according to the highest ethical and ecological standards? Are we taking a stand against foreign imports by demanding that products be sourced and produced locally?

The answer is likely D all of the above. This combined with our desire to constantly find new ways to spend money and be entertained may explain the resurgence of craft manufacturers and creative ways to market these products. While I find the whole thing to be slightly ridiculous and over constructed, I’m happy to indulge in the deliciousness of home made pickles and fruity fusion preserves, syrups from the sugar bush, basement brews and hay rides on the homestead.

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