It’s early 2017 and everywhere you look, there are predictions for the upcoming year. Well, expect more of the same here, with the topic being what should happen with the beer scene in Alberta. So, here are the top 5 things to look forward to in the next 365 days or so.
- More breweries will open in 2017.
This is a no brainer. While the Alberta government doled out its 50th brewery license in late 2016, many of those breweries have not yet opened. Some are close, and some are under construction, with many months to go before they debut any beer. In addition, there are many more applications pending approval at AGLC, so even more breweries will be granted licenses in 2017.
- More beer styles will become en vogue.
As more breweries open (and it’s also happening in provinces all over Canada, as well as the USA), more brewers will be producing more beers, as well as more kinds of beers. Just like sours took off in 2016, some other style(s) will become popular in 2017. With over 200 beer varieties to play with, brewers have multiple options.
- Expect other side and supply industries to grow too.
More breweries require more ingredients. Two of the most obvious growth industries for Alberta are malt houses and hop producers. Alberta is known as home to some of the best beer barley in the world, and more malt houses are already beginning to appear. Hop production is in its early stages, but will soon grow from its backyard (literally) beginnings. Growth in bottling and canning facilities will not be far behind. Not to mention beer publications, both online and in hard copy.
- More beer events.
Alberta already has several beer events, from big to small. However, compared to the number of wine affairs, beer pales in comparison. This will begin to change, as more local breweries will become involved in more festivals, dinners, tastings, and educational events. Also, more beer groups are forming, and they create unique happenings too.
- Beer tourism is becoming a thing.
People travel to the Okanagan, Napa, Europe, etc. for wine excursions. When you get a quorum of breweries, many of whom only have their beer available in-house, people need to know where they are. Enter beer tourism, helping people search out breweries as a destination, either on their own or in chauffeured groups. In addition, new breweries are popping up in towns not named Edmonton or Calgary, so this will become a province-wide occurrence.