Updated: Aug 2, 2020
In 2013, Alberta had no more than 13 small breweries, which was approximately 1/6th of the number of breweries that BC had at the same time, even though Albertans consumed more beer than any other province, aside from Ontario and Quebec. The provincial government’s relaxation of beer regulations in 2014 allowed smaller quantities of beer to be produced so that breweries could start small and grow, instead of starting off as a medium, well financed ($½ million+) company that had to guarantee a large volume of beer production. For example, to get around these regulatory hurdles, local brewery Tool Shed, was brewing their beer in BC and then importing it to Calgary. The change in the regulatory regime for breweries in Alberta has resulted in an explosion of breweries in Alberta and particularly Calgary.
By the numbers, Calgary has become the Portland of Alberta based on the number of breweries that has hit Calgary streets since 2014. As of July 2020, Calgary has 57 breweries, while Edmonton has 20 and the rest of Alberta has 73 breweries in total, including 17 breweries within an hour drive of Calgary. This means that the Calgary and surrounding area has 50% of breweries in Alberta. By the numbers, a Calgarian could go to a new brewery every Friday for an entire year and still have a few more to go to the next year!
In the battle of Alberta breweries, Calgary appears to be taking the brewski cup! This beer drinker wonders whether we are experiencing a beer “bubble” but only time will tell.
To learn more about Calgary breweries near our community, a great resource is yycbeer.ca.