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Iconic 129-year-old Calgary Beer label reimagined with a craft twist

Re-pouring history back into Calgary, one beer at a time.

On Monday, Village Brewery revived the 129-year-old beer with a twist. It created a lightly-hopped craft lager, sold in packs of four with one of each of the unique can designs.

The new designs for the cans represent the re-imagination of the iconic classic beer that would have evolved over time to appeal to different customer tastes and preferences, Fraser Abbott, Vice President of Village Brewery, said.

The Calgary Brewing and Malting Company Ltd. (CBMC) was created three months after prohibition was repealed in 1892. The first batch of the iconic buffalo and horseshoe beer came out in 1893.

Molson Breweries took over CBMC in 1989 and to this day has intellectual property and copyright for the brand.

Jim Button, Co-Founder of Village Brewery, had the idea of bringing back the Calgary Beer with a reimagined craft context and worked for years to bring the collaboration to life.

“It wasn’t until this year that we were able to secure some approvals from a licensing perspective. We worked out a marketing and distribution arrangement with them to bring it back in a new craft format,” Abbott said.

Positive response so far

The goal is to introduce new craft customers to the Calgary Beer brand and give others a taste of nostalgia, but in a new can. It can be bought online or in-person at Village Brewery – with stock coming to liquor stores in the next few days.

“Hopefully [they will] be delightfully surprised with the flavour and the balance of what we’ve produced.”

So far, the response on social media has been extremely positive and people are excited about the revival.

“It was great to see that that old brand historical brand brought back to life by Village Brewery. It’s very exciting,” Neil Zeller, a longtime fan of Village Brewery, said.

“It has a solid mixture of flavours but it’s not overly hoppy or overly fruity or anything. It’s just kind of in the middle of great craft beer and great taste.”