New “United Niagara Beverages” Aims to Accelerate Beverage Innovation

TORONTO and NIAGARA FALLS, ON --- June 20, 2023   Two innovators in the Ontario craft beverage space are teaming up to help bring more delicious new products to Ontario consumers and eventually across Canada. Niagara Falls Craft Distillers (NFCD) and United Craft Inc. (UC) have entered into a strategic partnership to pursue an accelerated path for product innovation, manufacturing, selling and distribution of made-in-Ontario craft beverages with the creation of United Niagara Beverages (UNB).

United Niagara Beverages will enable more nimble product development and timely, efficient production of various new beverages.  In addition, it will allow for the launch of sales initiatives into new channels and geographies beyond Ontario, more aggressive marketing, and expanded distribution with existing retailers.  United Niagara Beverages will also offer contract production and sales services to other independent Ontario producers in both alcohol and non alcohol segments to help get their products to market. The new company also intends to pursue any necessary additional federal/provincial licenses to enable production and sale of any beverage across the omni channel throughout Canada.  The  launch of both a physical retail store and an online store is planned in the coming months.

The new strategic partnership was born after close collaboration between NFCD and UC over the past two years, whereby they realized they shared a  common vision for the fast-evolving beverage marketplace now facing profound demographic shifts and changing consumer tastes which are impacting the beverage choices consumers are seeking.  As reported by StatsCan, in 2022 beer sales saw their largest decline in the last ten years and wine sales recorded their lowest sales level since 1949, the first time StatsCan began tracking the category. Meanwhile Ready-to-Drink spirit-based beverages have grown considerably, as have low/no-alcohol segments and functional drinks,  with many new companies entering the scene. These changing consumer preferences have opened up new opportunities while placing added pressures on beer, wine and cider sales, stymying post-pandemic recovery efforts.

United Niagara Beverages will build on the synergies and respective expertise and strengths of NFCD and UC,  with the combination of these assets providing a path to more nimbleness and speed in adapting to the expected continued evolution of the beverage marketplace. Further, the strategic partnership intends to accelerate the expansion of Ontario craft beverages beyond Ontario and work toward attracting out-of-province production to Ontario, providing more choice for consumers and more made-in-Ontario volume, while increasing capital investment and equipment utilization. This accelerated capital investment will be directed toward increased brewing and production capacity,  non-alcoholic production and unique fillers that will help UNB explore unique, first to market packaging formats.

“We really value United Craft’s commitment to innovation and their ability to create, launch and then broadly distribute compelling branded products consumers are clamoring for,” said Andy Murison, CEO of NFCD.  “Their  expertise, combined with our 50+ years of senior leadership production experience, will position United Niagara Beverages as an innovation incubator to bring dynamic new products to market faster and quicker.”

Pat Macdonald, CEO of United Craft, explained that Niagara Craft Distillers was a key force in helping bring its Hail Caesar RTD  to market in 2022 and how this project opened the dialogue for a closer relationship to capitalize on each company’s respective strengths.  “When exploring new product development, you first must create a solid concept the consumer is really interested in, then create the best flavour  while finding the best way to produce it cost effectively,”  said Pat.  She further explained how United Niagara Beverages will enable a flexible pilot system to fine tune raw ideas and then a disciplined production process to reliably scale up and bring products to market. She added, “This new partnership enables United Craft to transition to brick-and-mortar while teaming up with a renowned partner. We can realize new ideas faster for ourselves and others.”   

United Niagara Beverages  will seek new strategic investments into additional brewing and production equipment, licensees, and capabilities to help it service both the alcohol and non-alcohol beverage categories. Brand owners and aspiring beverage entrepreneurs are invited to contact United Niagara Beverages or visit to discuss potential recipe development, production and sales distribution.

“It’s our goal to support Ontario beverage entrepreneurs as they turn their dreams into a reality,” added Murison.  “United Niagara Beverages will help pilot and tweak recipes and first batches, scale up supply to meet demand, maintain quality via thorough QA and Lab processes, and then provide the sales, marketing and distribution services a small business needs to get established and grow.”

About Niagara Falls Craft Distillers (NFCD)

NFCD offers award-winning whisky and vodka spirits that are hand-crafted in small batches at its state-of-the-art distillery, located near the mist of the thunderous Niagara Falls.  The company uses only high quality ingredients,  employs local talent and is  known for its active community involvement.

Along with its own branded award-winning spirits, NFCD has extensive co-packing capabilities for spirits and a range of packaged ready to drink beverages.  It offers tailored production solutions including recipe development, blending, canning, packaging, storage, and shipping.  NFCD has many important certifications, including FDA, TTB and CFIA approvals, organic certification, and licenses across all alcohol segments.

The company’s production capabilities feature in-line pasteurization, tunnel pasteurization, reverse osmosis water treatment, homogenisation, and nitro dosing.  It is active in both beverage alcohol and other non-alcohol beverage categories.

About United Craft

United Craft Inc. has evolved into a diversified woman-led company that not only develops and markets its own craft beverage brands, but is also a leader in fostering industry collaboration and providing sales, marketing, product innovation, and logistics services to other independent craft beverage companies in Ontario and across Canada.  It works closely with brand and retail partners to leverage category insights for incremental value creation and offers cost-effective scalability for other independent craft beverage producers through collaborative selling, smart analytics, consolidated shipping and  automated order processing systems.  Through its customized product offerings and Brew Aid series (like its just-launched “All You Need Is Love” Lager in support of Pride), United Craft fosters collaborations with charitable causes to raise awareness and funds and to  deliver meaningful benefits to Ontarians.

United Craft has successfully grown by offering award-winning beverages that are designed to fill flavour gaps in the marketplace and satisfy emerging consumer preferences, while leveraging the extensive marketing, analytical and packaged goods expertise of its co-founders, mother-son team Pat and Ian Macdonald.  

The company is now poised for geographic expansion and intends to replicate its successful model beyond Ontario.   It also actively seeks to collaborate with other beverage companies hoping to launch or expand their distribution in Ontario and implement cost efficiencies.

For media inquires, please contact:          Pat Macdonald  416-420-8334

Back to blog