The winds of change - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Change is inevitable. I’m nowhere near the first person to say that but it is truly a fact of life. And, as they say, you can either change with the times or get out of the way – those are your two options.
Just last week, Publisher Deb Sholdice and I worked as co-editors for our first issue of Stops Along The Way, North Huron Publishing’s thrice-a-year tourism magazine. When I say it was our first, that’s because former Publisher Keith Roulston always took charge on the magazine, leaving Denny and me to write the odd story here or there. This was the first time that Deb, Denny and I took on the task ourselves.
When it came time to choose a lead story, the choice was clear. What is the predominant tourism story in Huron County today? It is, of course, its burgeoning alcohol industry. Whether it’s beer, wine or cider, Huron County has grown exponentially along with the boom.
In Blyth, Cowbell Brewing Co. has welcomed hundreds of thousands of people to its home farm, selling millions of dollars worth of beer along the way. Cowbell is joined by nearly 10 other breweries now operating in Huron County. There are now three wineries with product ready to drink right now, while a few others are well on their way.
Just five years ago, it would have been unthinkable to go to a local restaurant and order a beer or a glass of wine made in Huron County. Now, you have to go out of your way to find beer or wine that isn’t made here.
It wasn’t that long ago that Denny and I were deemed “local experts” on alcoholic cider and were brought in by Peter Gusso at Part II Bistro in Blyth (goodnight, sweet prince) for a drink and meal pairing night. We were pretty impressed with ourselves when we were able to present two “local ciders” to diners that night. One was from Hoity Toity in Mildmay and the other was from Twin Pines in Thedford, 20 minutes south of Grand Bend.
Looking back, it’s amazing to think that we considered those local to us, but they were the closest we had at the time. Now, Huron County is a full-blown destination for those with a tongue for beer, wine and cider. It only took a few years for that change to take hold.
You think of factors that can lead to entire cultural shift and they’re all around us. Some are intended, others are not.
I was speaking with a friend the other day and he told me that some of the world’s most well-known razor companies are hurting, simply because beards are en vogue right now. A simple fashion trend can dramatically alter the state of an industry – just like that.
Then you think about cities that ebb and flow depending on a number of factors. I think the most obvious example right now is the renaissance of downtown Detroit.
While it’s far from complete, Detroit is a much different city than it was just 10 years ago. Left to die by the rest of the world as being behind the times, dangerous and not worth the effort to save, Detroit has risen from the ashes of its former self. It has become a place that’s home to all of the things any major city should have, like a thriving arts scene, an attractive culinary uprising and a vibrant downtown full of life and opportunity.
It’s been within my years on earth that Manhattan was written off as a den of urban decay and crime. It was left for developers to pick at its bones. Now, it’s one of the great urban neighbourhoods of the world.
Like certain climates, if you don’t like what’s happening, simply wait five minutes and it can change before your very eyes.