A shift to offer only Alberta craft beer at one of Edmonton’s biggest summer festivals has been embraced with open arms, and taste buds.
This year, K-Days made a deal with the Alberta Small Brewers Association and Alberta Craft Distillers to exclusively serve craft beer and spirits from right here at home.
The site offers more than 60 craft beers and ciders from 16 Alberta breweries, along with 11 spirits from four local distilleries.
“It’s just been great so far. Everyone’s enjoying a wide range of flavours,” Northlands spokesperson Carson Mills said. “And just a nice change of pace and ability for Northlands to support some local producers.
“It’s hard because they’re smaller brewers, so they can’t reach the numbers all by themselves. So to combine them all as a group, they’re able to reach a broader audience without overtaxing themselves and their supplies.”
Myles Myroon is the northern Alberta marketing manager for Freehold Brewing Co., which is based in Calgary. As an up-and-coming brewery, he said the ability to reach new people has been fantastic.
“We absolutely love it. The exposure to come out and sample some of our beers to a bunch of brand new people out there and to get our name out — we’re a brand new brewery, our bricks and mortar aren’t even built yet — so it’s nice to get exposure out to people who may have never heard of us before.”
Myroon said he’s served his brew to a wide variety of beer drinkers over the course of the 10-day festival. He encourages the shift to support local and hopes other festivals will follow suit.
“There’s such a range of different people that we’ve had a chance to talk to. So there’s been those big beer geeks who know who we are and that’s really great to meet them. There’s people who are big beer geeks who don’t know who we are and it’s really nice to introduce ourselves to them. And then there are people who are used to having a Budweiser, that’s all they drink, and the beer we’re sampling out is an easy-drinking lager so it resonates to that sort of a style and that sort of a drinker,” he explained.
“This has been a great experience. They’ve been doing it down in Calgary, so we need to kind of keep pushing it at our events and festivals up here to keep the craft beer scene up in Edmonton.”
The reaction from festival goers has also been positive.
“I think that the beers this year are actually pretty good. The fact that they’re based in Alberta is even better,” Alyssa Campbell said.
Mark and Deb Brostrom also support the move, and like the variety of beverages offered in multiple locations throughout the festival grounds.
“We love craft beer and it’s good to see that a lot of those little companies are here at the K-Days. It’s perfect, it’s great,” Mark said.
“There’s something for everybody. I noticed there’s even cider, so this is a good choice, a good idea,” Deb added.
For a complete list of local breweries and distilleries offered at this year’s festival, head to the K-Days website.
LISTEN BELOW: 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen speaks to a group of local brewers featured at this year’s K-Days festival