Edmonton Craft Beer Pageant celebrates “rising” native breweries and distilleries

EDMONTON –

If you’re a fan of craft beer and local distilleries, this is your getaway.

The Edmonton Craft Beer Festival is held at the Edmonton Expo Center this Friday and Saturday. More than 500 beers from 170 breweries will be presented at the event alongside cider, mead and other alcoholic spirits.

In addition to tastings, the event offers seminars on how to cook with beer or how to combine it with different foods.

Bill Robinson, president of the Alberta Beer Festival, told CTV News Edmonton that the popularity of craft breweries in the city has skyrocketed in recent years.

“There are a variety of things that people can come and try,” Robinson said. “Edmonton has a burgeoning craft beer scene and a craft distillery scene.”

Interest has not been affected by the COVID-19, Robinson said, as more than 20 craft breweries and 12 craft distilleries opened across the province during the pandemic.

With the festivities this weekend, the event will be celebrated for the first time since 2019 after COVID-19 postponed the event. Robinson said small and artisanal breweries rely on such events to survive.

“The larger companies can get by with an increase in their marketing budget,” said Robinson. “But the smaller guys, the locals, really need to be able to go into the community, talk to people, share their passions and their stories.

“It’s something we all miss,” he added. “We’re doing everything we can to make it as safe as possible.”

For the event, the Restrictions Relief Program will be used, which means that all participants must provide proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccination, a negative test result within 72 hours of the event, or a medical exemption.

Masks must be worn at the event, except when sitting or standing at a table and actively tasting drinks or food.

“Come and celebrate the fellowship,” said Robinson. “This is where brewing takes place, drinking is taking place here, the money stays here and it goes straight back to agriculture.”

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