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Ed McNally Passes Away at Age 89

bigrock_edmcnallyBig Rock announced today that its founder, Ed McNally, has passed away. He was 89. This is significant news for craft beer lovers on the prairies, as Mr. McNally was a pioneer in craft beer in Canada and richly deserves to be honoured for his many beer-related achievements.

I wrote about my thoughts on McNally upon his retirement in 2012 (you can read the post here), so I will not go on at any length here. All I will say is regardless of your opinions of Big Rock’s beer today, or of your thoughts on Mr. McNally’s politics, you should take a moment to reflect on what beer in Alberta might be like if not for him and the handful of others who blazed a trail, cutting through the swath of pale, adjunct lager with flavourful beer. Dear god, they had the nerve to make a BROWN beer in the 1980s! And an ale, too boot!

Of course one of the great fallacies of history is that it is made by so-called “great men”. I do not argue that without Ed McNally craft beer would not have grown in these parts. The craft beer movement was a social movement, driven by thousands of consumers and led by a myriad of key figures and personalities. Without Ed McNally, there would have been someone else to do something similar.

Yet, that should not prevent us from honouring the history we do have. And Ed McNally played an integral part of that history. So raise a pint of your favourite craft beer and give a moment to thank McNally for his commitment to beer. He deserves that, at the very least.

1 comment to Ed McNally Passes Away at Age 89

  • Ed was a treasure. Truly a pioneer. I had the pleasure of spending several days with Ed as we toured Russian, Latvian and Estonian breweries in 1995 on a People to People expedition which I led. Canada has lost one of its biggest craft brewing treasures. Super person and great memories from my visit to the brewery in the 90s and all the creativity that came out of that brewery.

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