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Wild Rose Brewery at the forefront of Alberta's craft beer industry
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Wild Rose Brewery sees the 10-day Calgary Stampede as an ideal opportunity to promote its craft beer, help other craft brands and sing the praises of the burgeoning Alberta beer industry.

Bill McKenzie, president and CEO of Wild Rose, said the Stampede this year has welcomed local craft breweries at Stampede Park in The Big Four Roadhouse. The Stampede kicks off on Friday and runs through Sunday, July 15.

“It’s in a designated area but it’s an area where visitors to the Stampede if they want to try local they’ll be able to walk over to. It’s like a beer garden for local ones,” said McKenzie of the Roadhouse. “It’s local representation where we get to choose one brand and we chose to go with our High Harvest. That’s our new hemp-infused pale ale.

“The Stampede is so good for all the breweries,” he said. “There’s just so many more people in our community, whether you’re a tourist coming in or a local Calgarian out and about a couple of times during that Stampede time. We’re heavily involved in functions that are catering to Stampede patrons but not necessarily on the grounds as well. Some of the accounts that sell our beer 12 months a year, they ramp up their involvement as well during the Stampede and therefore we get more active with them.”

To promote the enjoyment of Alberta brands and celebrate the craft beer industry during the Stampede, Wild Rose will sell beer at its Taproom from four other breweries: the seasonal blond ale Summer Fling from Edmonton’s Situation Brewing; Crossbuck Kolsch from Ponoka’s Siding 14 Brewing; the Super Session ale from Lacombe’s Blindman Brewing; and the Scottish ale Legal Issues from Strathmore’s Origin Malting & Brewing.

Wild Rose’s Taproom is at the Currie Barracks.

“We thought we would do something completely out of the box this year and invite some other breweries that aren’t necessarily Calgary-based breweries – these happen to be more rural and one in Edmonton – to sell their beer in our Taproom,” explained McKenzie.

“We welcome a guest tap on a regular basis but for the Stampede we’ve invited four. It’s quite unique. We all support each other. Craft brewing is a very supportive, collaborative community and industry. We happen to be in a position where we have a very busy Taproom. And we thought we would give an alternative to these small up-and-coming breweries to have an opportunity to sell their beer here in Calgary.”

Jennifer Booth, spokesperson for the Calgary Stampede, said the Stampede and the Alberta Small Brewers Association will feature 32 Alberta small brewers at Roadhouse this year.

“The Big Four Roadhouse has been custom designed this Stampede to feature Alberta agriculture and the world’s best ingredients, grown right here,” she said.

McKenzie said small microbreweries have become a significant factor in the North American brewing industry.

“I think people are looking for local when they come in town,” said McKenzie. “People want to try something different and they want to try something local and that couldn’t be any more true than during Stampede when folks fly in.

“It’s good for Alberta tourism. When people come to the Stampede, they automatically think oil and gas. Now they’re starting to think about great beer, world-class beer. We may be local but we’re a world-class facility the way our brewers make the beer and everything we do.”

Wild Rose Brewery began in 1996. Its Taproom, AF23, and microbrewery are located in the Quonset Hut at Currie Barracks. Wild Rose also has a state-of-the-art production facility in southeast Calgary.

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