The brewery received additional publicity through the numerous awards its beers won at craft beer competitions. Sales were increasing steadily, and by early 2016, Forked River products were sold throughout Ontario, including Toronto. The increased geographic reach required hiring the first full-time salesperson based in Toronto. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) represented a major potential market, with a population of 6 million (compared to fewer than 500,000 in the London area). Moving beyond its initial focus on craft beer–oriented bars, Forked River began to sell its beer in larger restaurant chains like Jack Astor’s and Moxie’s, which were traditionally the core client base of the big brewers. Competitors In developing his original business plan, Reed had identified 11 craft breweries in Ontario as potential competitors. The list of competitors included a small start-up brewery based in Casselman, Ontario, as well as larger craft breweries, such as Mill Street Brewery in Toronto and Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company near Ottawa. By 2016, additional competitors had emerged in the increasingly crowded craft beer segment (some of whom are described below). Railway City Brewing Co. (Railway City) was located in St. Thomas, a small city just outside of London. This made it the geographically nearest competitor and the only craft brewery within 100 kilometres of London when Reed decided to launch Forked River. Founded in 2008, Railway City was already relatively well established and had forged strong ties with its draft customers. Railway City emphasized its local roots and benefited from consumer demand for local products. However, its visibility beyond its local customer base was limited by relatively weak marketing efforts. In addition to bars and restaurants, Railway City beer was also sold in LCBO liquor stores. However, the Railway City beer sold in bottles was in fact produced under contract by another brewery in the city of Guelph (approximately 1.5 hours driving distance from St. Thomas). Some industry insiders and customers noted that the quality of Railway City’s product was not always consistent. Amsterdam Brewing was one of the earliest brew pubs in Ontario. Located in downtown Toronto, Amsterdam Brewing successfully sold both to the general public and to craft beer enthusiasts. It had a strong social media presence and cultivated ties to the local brewing scene. However, some craft beer enthusiasts felt that Amsterdam Brewing’s high-cost location had also pushed it too far towards a commercialized, mass-market business model. As a Toronto brew pub, Amsterdam Brewing was not a direct competitor in the London area. Authorized for use only by Ali Rankin-Nash in Strategy at University of Windsor from Jan 08, 2018 to Mar 23, 2018. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.