New support on tap for craft brewing industry
The Government of Alberta is building on its plan to diversify the economy and create good-paying jobs by establishing craft brewing as a key component of culinary tourism.
A grant to the Alberta Small Brewers Association (ASBA) will help develop the province’s local beer brand to establish craft brewing as a must-visit experience for beer fans and brewers from around the world. The grant announcement is being made in conjunction with and to help celebrate Alberta Beer Week, which runs Oct. 20-28.
“The craft brewing industry adds to the vibrancy of the province’s culinary tourism offerings and helps highlight the importance of the food and beverage industry to the visitor experience in Alberta. The ‘Alberta Beer’ grant will help diversify our economy and create good-paying jobs for Albertans by supporting small businesses, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture sectors. Now, we have the opportunity to truly show people what our own craft brewing industry, and our brews, are made of.”
With more than 65 brewing licence holders throughout the province, the craft brewing industry has grown significantly over the last few years. Since July 2016, Alberta’s craft brewing industry has grown to include 24 new breweries.
Culture and Tourism’s $60,000 grant will help further grow this industry through the development of the brand, a digital platform to promote local touring and staycations, and the creation of industry-focused education programs. Together, these ingredients will help share and promote Alberta’s beer story.
The “Alberta Beer” brand grant complements other supports provided by the Government of Alberta to grow the craft brewing industry in the province. These policy changes include:
- In June 2016, the government eliminated the time limit on “happy hours”.
- In August 2016, the government launched the Alberta Small Brewers Development Program to help small, Alberta-based brewers grow their businesses.
- In July 2017, the government modernized a policy to allow licensed restaurants and bars to have greater control over the size of their patios, their design, and hours.
- In August 2017, the government amended the Gaming and Liquor Act to allow Alberta craft beers and spirits to be sold at approved farmers’ markets alongside cottage wine.
- In August 2017, the government cut red tape, streamlined licensing processes and created a “taproom” licence.
“Alberta's exploding craft brewing industry has deep roots in things that make the province special: our agriculture, our natural environment and our entrepreneurial verve. We look forward to building our industry into a signature attraction for Albertans and visitors alike.”
“Craft brewing has a unique story in Alberta and we can trace our beer back to the seed planted in the ground and the farmer who put it there. Establishing an ‘Alberta Beer’ brand will help the province’s brewers to better share this story, grow and showcase the world-class quality of our products.”
- Visitor spending on food and beverage in Alberta accounts for 28 per cent of tourism expenditures in the province.
- There are 19 distilleries, 13 estate wineries/meaderies and 65+ breweries in Alberta.
- 19 per cent of the beer sold in Alberta is made by the province’s small brewers.
- In less than three years, the number of craft breweries and small brewpubs (defined as brewers producing less than 400,000 hectolitres per year) has almost quadrupled. This supports entrepreneurship and job creation.
- The ASBA is a non-profit organization that represents more than 40 independent breweries that are based in and brew in Alberta.
- Alberta’s high-quality malting barley production represents nearly half of Canadian malt exports annually and is valued at nearly $180 million. (Source: Alberta Barley)
- In 2016, food and beverage manufacturing represented the largest manufacturing industry in Alberta (23.3 per cent of total manufacturing sales).
- Food and beverage processing was Alberta’s largest employer in 2016, with record sales of $14.6 billion.