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ASBA Receives Grant; Announces Alberta Beer Awards

ASBA Executive Director Terry Rock, Culture Minister Ricardo Miranda and Dandy Brewing co-owner Ben Leon celebrate a new grant. (Photo from government announcement)

The Alberta government announced yesterday a $60,000 grant to the Alberta Small Brewers’ Association (ASBA) to help it build the brand of Alberta craft beer. (Read government release here). The announcement comes, not coincidentally, in the middle of the 3rd annual Alberta Beer Week.

The grant is intended to assist the ASBA to “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.” If that sounds rather vague to you, then you are reading it right. Building a brand can take many forms.

I suspect there are some specifics in the grant contract and I fully trust Albertans will see some tangible outputs coming from their money. There is no question that Alberta craft brewers lag behind other provinces in creating a coherent image of local beer.

I realize $60,000 is a fairly small amount of money, and it definitely pales in comparison to the $1.2 million the Ontario government provides to the Ontario Craft Brewers Association annually, but it is yet another statement that the Alberta government has recognized the economic (and political) value of a prosperous craft beer industry.

The ASBA will also be announcing today the first ever Alberta Beer Awards to be held in early 2018. All Alberta-based breweries will be eligible to enter. The idea, actually, was the brainchild of myself and respected Edmonton beer judge Owen Kirkaldy. He and I were judging another competition earlier this year and got to talking. We realized the Alberta beer industry was finally large enough to sustain an official competition much like happens in B.C. and Ontario. We approached the ASBA and they quickly signed on.

Details are still being worked out but we expect an entry deadline early in the new  year with results announced at the ASBA Annual Conference in March. Owen and myself will be organizing and overseeing the judging, which will have a mixture of BJCP certified judges and industry experts. We will be creating a set of categories that honours the spirit of the BJCP guidelines but recognizes that commercial competitions require a different approach to reflect the nature of selling beer to the public.

The two announcements are yet another sign that Alberta is slowly catching up to other provinces in terms of building a vibrant beer industry. Good news.


2 comments to ASBA Receives Grant; Announces Alberta Beer Awards

  • Owen

    I;m a little choked nobody has commented, not on the awards, but rather on the grant. Where is the populist libertarian outrage I have been led to believe I should hear where there is government interference in the free beer market in Alberta?

    • beerguy

      It might be that the amount is too small. Or, maybe, must maybe people are starting to realize many governments see it as a good thing to support the development of a local, labour-intensive industry.

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