After being “blown away” by the success of their launch last year, Alberta breweries are banding together again in 2022 for a special beer in support of first responders.
“First Call was inspired last year,” said Shaun Caron, general manager of Campio Brewing in Edmonton.
“Obviously, throughout the pandemic, a lot of industries, a lot of different groups, people working, went through a lot of hardship. Health-care (workers) and first responders probably had one of the hardest times.”
Eight companies joined forces to come up with a way to help them out and First Call was born.
“Since we are a brewing company, a really easy way for us is to make a really good beer,” Caron said.
“The First Call name came from… when you’re usually calling a first responder, it’s the first call you’re making on the worst day of your life.
“It’s paying homage to those people who are on the front lines helping us out when we need it.”
First Call is a team effort from Campio, Last Best Brewing Distilling, Jasper Brewing, Banff Ave Brewing, Canada Malting, Country Malt, Precision Labelling and Last Spike Brewing.
Last year, “we sold out in weeks,” Caron said, “which, for us, I don’t know if that’s happened before.
“It made us feel really great about Albertans… It really showed that we care about everyone on the front lines.”
For this year, the breweries increased quantities to make a bigger impact in donations. Caron expects they’ll sell out again.
He describes First Call as an enjoyable, “approachable IPA” with flavours of grapefruit, tangerine and lime.
“Albertans love IPAs so we know this style of beer can really move and really helps make a big impact.”
One dollar from each draft and each four-pack sold in-house is donated to a charity or group that supports first responders.
“Each pub has picked an approach, a local charity, to help,” Caron said. “For us here in Edmonton, we picked Valour Place. It’s a house, it’s a big place that helps mostly military, RCMP, first responders and their families have a place to stay while they’re getting treatment in the hospital when they’re injured in the line of duty.
“For the rest of the province, we’re helping the Legacy foundation. The Legacy Society is an emergency helpline for first responders to call, get some guidance, get some quick counselling done for them. They go through a lot of stuff, they see a lot of trauma… so helping them out, helping that society out, is a great way for us to make an impact,” Caron added.
The Legacy Place Society website explains it supports peace officers, firefighters, emergency medical services, 911 dispatchers and military personnel and their families.
First Call is available at the four brew pups on draft and in cans and is also being distributed to several liquor stores across Alberta.