Happy Hour: Brewing a Revolution
For Edmonton beer lovers, 2013 has been a very good year – and they have two Calgary companies to thank for that
by Alberta Venture Staff
In April, Beer Revolution, a concept from Calgary that features 24 draught-beer taps on a daily rotation, opened its first Edmonton location.
Craft Beer Market, another Calgary-based establishment (which offers more than 100 taps but doesn’t rotate them), will be opening soon. And in early June, the city hosted the first annual Edmonton Craft Beer Festival – eight years after the Calgary version was
kicked off in 2005.
Are there now enough Edmonton drinkers willing to pony up the $9 for an Imperial stout over more traditional choices to keep the movement afloat? Jason Foster, who writes about beer for Edmonton’s Vue Weekly, says there are. “We’re starting to see a significant shift towards a place that can anchor itself around taking beer seriously,” he says. “The big fear two or three years ago was that if you put in 60, 70, 80 taps, you wouldn’t move enough beer. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I think this can work.”
Why have craft beers and brewpubs that thrived in Calgary only now arrived in Edmonton? Foster says the answer is partially about demographics: compared to blue-collar Edmonton, Calgary has a more urban scene and a largely white- collar workforce. It’s a more natural fit for the craft brew movement sweeping cities in Canada. “But it’s also that there was a bit more of a conservative culture in the pub scene in Edmonton,” he says. “And so, I think, both of these places just saw an opening. They opened in Calgary and it worked, and then they looked up at Edmonton and went, ‘It’s an underserved market. Why not?’ ”
Photo: Colton Ponto