Local brewers tap into beer-thirsty crowds at Calgary International Beerfest

Upstart Calgary craft brewers know they have to set themselves apart to compete in the booming Alberta industry

Anthony Jackson, co-owner, Evil Corporation Brewing at the Calgary International Beerfest. DARM UPPAL / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

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New Alberta craft brewers showing their suds at this weekend’s Calgary International Beerfest know that with an increasingly competitive market, they’re going to have to be a barley cut above the rest.

Thousands of Calgarians poured into the BMO Centre for the event, running May 3 and 4, many getting a first-hand look at the latest in the brewing world.

For many newcomers in Alberta’s exploding craft brew scene, they’re already eying up ways to set themselves apart.

Evil Corporation Brewing, based in Calgary, launched in December of 2018 and made their debut at the festival.  The company recognizes the local market is competitive and they’re already planning on expanding into other markets.

“We’re looking at exporting to Germany and getting into Saskatchewan,” said Anthony Jackson, Co-owner of Evil Corporation Brewing.

They’re still in the works of releasing newer products and opening their tap room, which should be ready for the end of summer.

Jackson said they will be naming their beer with an interesting pun concept. 

“We like to be able to have a little bit of fun with our brand.”

This year’s event featured over 200 breweries and distilleries, with over 60 local brands from Calgary and area. Patrons typically had to spend drink tickets in order to get samples of some of the latest and greatest.

New Level Brewing was at the festival promoting their local product, including their flagship beverage, the Strawberry Milkshake Beerbucha (beer/kombucha drink).

Drew Ross, founder, New Level Brewing. DARM UPPAL / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

“We try to push the envelope in terms of style,” said Drew Ross, founder New Level Brewing. “I believe we’re the only brewery in Alberta that has a milkshake IPA as a flagship.”

Ross said he believes customers recognize that the brand is not trying to imitate other companies but is authentic and he feels that resonates with people.  He added New Level Brewing’s selection consists of the kind of products one wouldn’t see anywhere else.

“We go big or go home, that’s kind of our motto,” said Ross

Many of the exhibitors will be showcasing their products at the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival set to take place at the end of the month. Visit www.albertabeerfestivals.com to find out more about the event and how to participate in or attend the Calgary International Beerfest.

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