News & Press Releases

Calgary Craft Brewery Closes Its Doors – Is Alberta’s Saturated Craft Beer Market to Blame?

Red Bison Brewery shuts its doors in Calgary’s Franklin neighbourhood just a year and a half after opening. Is this the beginning of the end for new craft breweries looking to enter the market?

Calgary Craft Brewery Closes Its Doors – Is Alberta’s Saturated Craft Beer Market to Blame?

Red Bison Brewery permanently closes after a year and a half of serving local brews

It has been a sad weekend for the Calgary craft beer scene! Red Bison Brewery permanently shut off its taps on Saturday, August 24, 2019, just a few months after announcing the sale of its property in July.

The brewery was founded by Steve and Veronica Carlton, a local Calgarian couple, who began their craft beer journey through homebrewing, and later went on to open Red Bison Brewery in Calgary’s Franklin Park community in March 2018. The brewery was a neighbour to many other local breweries, like Tool Shed Brewing, Common Crown Brewing, and Heathen’s Brewing.

 

Why did Red Bison Brewery shut down?

According to Steve Carlton, there was a shift in preference for beer drinkers from Beer Bombers (22oz or more) to Beer Cans (generally 12oz). While Red Bison prided themselves in providing their beers in bombers, they ultimately decided to try to rebrand and repackage their beers into cans, which is not an easy (or cheap) process. In order to do this, Red Bison tried to raise money to have labels changed, provide cans and have the beer repackaged.

Unfortunately, the amount of cash flow coming in couldn’t match up to the cash flow running out. “Our current investors were tapped out. Veronica and I put in as much money as we had plus more we didn’t have to try to keep going.” Carlton told Postmedia.

red-bison-brewery-@thisthirstynomadImage Cred: @thisthirstynomad

 

Is Alberta’s saturated craft beer market to blame?

In Carlton’s interview with Calgary Herald, he mentions the craft beer industry in Alberta growing rapidly and urges new brewers to avoid starting a craft brewery right now.

According to Mike McNeil, the executive director of the Alberta Small Brewers Association, Alberta currently has over 120 craft breweries and the scene continues to grow. Is this possibly the beginning of the end for new craft brewers looking to enter the market?

Read more about the closure of Red Bison Brewery on the Calgary Herald.

 


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