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Quebec microbreweries' social activism is good for business

Have a beer and help save a whale? More and more Quebec microbreweries are finding ways to support social causes, and marketing experts say it's a win-win approach to business.

Les Bières Béluga, La Nord-Sud and Sein d'esprit among group of local brews investing in positive change

More and more microbreweries are finding ways to support social causes. (Anne-Marie Provost/Radio-Canada)

Whether it's saving the belugas or supporting a humanitarian group, more and more Quebec microbreweries are chipping in to support social causes.

At the Dépanneur Peluso on Rachel Street in Montreal, as many as 400 different types of beer from microbreweries fill the shelves at the back of the store.

The specialized staff who roam the aisles say they've noticed a trend. More and more breweries are investing in social causes.

The Peluso dépanneur on Rachel Street in Montreal sells about 400 different types of beer. (Anne-Marie Provost/Radio-Canada)

"It's always been there a little bit, but we're noticing it more and more," says Stéphanie Therrien, who works at the dépanneur and who's been following the brewing sector for almost three years.

Therrien points to Les Bières Béluga — 11 cents for each bottle sold goes to support belugas in the Saint-Lawrence River.

Another brewer, La Nord-Sud, donates 10 per cent of its profits to an international organization called Solidarité Nord-Sud, which helps people across borders advance common goals.

Also in Peluso's refrigerators, a beer called Sein d'esprit sends $1 per bottle to the Pink Ribbon campaign, which supports breast cancer research.

It's in their DNA

The head of the Association of Quebec Microbreweries says working with social causes "is in the DNA" of microbreweries.

"Microbreweries take part in so many causes, they're very involved in their communities and they want to help," Frédérick Tremblay says.

And while some businesses might be doing it to make their companies look good, Tremblay thinks most do it out of the good of their hearts.

Whether the intentions are based on marketability or morals, HEC Montréal marketing professor Jacques Nantel says supporting community organizations is simply good business.

"It's a very effective way to increase visibility and brand awareness, particularly among a target audience," he says.

"You'll get more brand visibility out of an action like that than you would by investing the equivalent in advertising."

Based on a report by Radio-Canada’s Anne-Marie Provost

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