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  • Writer's pictureCalgary Brewery Tour Guy

The Local Craft Beer Model: A Blueprint for Business Success in the Future by YYCTOURS.

1. Introduction: Unveiling the Local Craft Beer Model

Everyone knows that the craft beer sector experienced a resurgence over the last decade, becoming a billion-dollar industry with a growing consumer base. However, in 2023, as more craft breweries open, and as seltzers and non-alcoholic drinks begin to take more of the market share, craft beer sales at liquor stores have started to decline, whereas, at the brewery taprooms themselves, the opposite has happened, sales have increased.

What are craft breweries doing differently than not only large-scale breweries but other businesses in general that allow them to succeed in what some would call a saturated market? And can this template be carried over into other industries? YYCTOURS explores our local craft beer market.

The Craft Beer industry is a perfect business model by YYCTOURS Calgary tours and charters

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2. Understanding the Benefits of the Local Craft Beer Model

Craft beer enthusiasts and business owners alike are drawn to the local craft beer model for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the competitive edge that local craft breweries have over larger, corporate beer companies. Craft breweries are known for their authentic and fresh beers, made with passion and creativity. Craft breweries prioritize the use of high-quality ingredients, meticulous brewing techniques, and innovative flavor profiles. This attention to detail sets them apart from mass-produced, generic beers, and attracts consumers seeking a unique and flavorful experience. Consumers no longer settle for mediocrity. Instead, they seek a balance of value, quality and enjoyment in more aspects of life, especially post-Covid. At taprooms, guests can consume the same beers they purchase at a liquor store while being assured they are drinking the freshest possible versions, for less money and while feeling a sense of community pride. This does not happen at bars or nightclubs where mark-ups are placed on spirits or other beers.

Local craft breweries foster that stronger sense of community and support. They often collaborate with other neighbouring businesses, support local community causes and engage with their customers to build relationships and loyalty. This authentic connection with their community not only fosters a sense of belonging, it drives sales while creating a positive brand and overall industry image, generating excitement, and word-of-mouth referrals, snowballing into a larger loyal customer base.

Additionally, these local brewers often rely on ingredients found regionally, which helps to save some costs compared to ingredients that are imported from other provinces or countries. Without the need to import, local breweries also keep a lighter carbon footprint. Especially when paired with the fact that many breweries give their spent grains back to the farmers they work with to be used as animal feed. This helps area farmers save money on feeding livestock. Many local breweries also adopt other environmentally friendly practices, such as using renewable energy sources, minimizing water waste, and carbon capture. By prioritizing sustainability, craft breweries not only attract a growing number of environmentally conscious consumers but also contribute to the overall well-being and longevity of their communities. A perfect circle.

a tractor Alberta wheat farming to be used in alberta craft beer yyctours

3. Embracing the Power of Collaboration in the Local Craft Beer Community

One of the defining characteristics of craft breweries is their willingness to collaborate with other businesses, both within and outside the beer industry. These collaborations can take various forms, such as joint beer releases, tap takeovers, or partnerships with local restaurants. By joining forces, craft breweries and other businesses can leverage each other's strengths and tap into a wider customer base.

Collaboration in the local craft beer community also extends to knowledge sharing and learning from one another as opposed to trying to take out the competition. For example, breweries often participate in beer festivals, competitions and industry events, where they have the opportunity to connect with other brewers to exchange ideas and build friendships. This collective learning mindset only fosters innovation and continuous improvement within the community.

Beyond the beer industry, other industries can also benefit from collaboration. By partnering with complementary businesses, entrepreneurs can expand their reach, share resources, and create unique experiences for customers. This collaborative approach not only drives mutual growth but also strengthens the overall business ecosystem and a sense of community pride at the same time.

Unity Brew Alberta collaboration beer YYCTOURS
Dozens of Alberta breweries collaborate on an annual Unity Brew with the Alberta Small Brewers Association. Image Alberta Small Brewers Association.

4. Navigating the Challenges of the Local Craft Beer Industry

While collaboration has proven to be a key driver of success in the local craft beer community, it is important to recognize that there are still obstacles that craft breweries face in this highly competitive industry.

One of the major challenges in the craft beer industry is remaining flexible with the increasing competition in the beverage sector. New products like RTD's (Ready to Drink) and Non-alcoholic drinks are trends that are gaining momentum, and it has become increasingly crucial for businesses to tap into these fads while finding ways to stand out from the crowd. This can be achieved through innovative marketing techniques, unique product offerings, and creating a memorable customer experience.

Additionally, navigating the complex regulatory landscape can be a daunting task for craft breweries. From obtaining necessary licenses and permits to complying with labeling and packaging regulations, and various legal requirements that need to be met. Breweries need to stay informed about the changing regulations and work closely with legal professionals to ensure compliance.

Another huge hurdle that craft breweries often face is limited access to distribution channels. Big beer companies have established distribution networks that allow them to dominate the market, making it difficult for smaller breweries to gain a wider reach for their products. However, it has been proven that by building strong relationships with regional bars, restaurants, and retailers, craft breweries can create a loyal customer base and be successful in their own backyard.

Furthermore, maintaining a consistent supply of high-quality ingredients can be a challenge for craft breweries, especially when dealing with elevated import taxes, seasonal crops or limited availability of certain ingredients. By establishing and maintaining relationships with local farmers and suppliers, breweries can secure a reliable source of ingredients and support sustainable practices.

5. Adopting the Local Craft Beer Model to Drive Business Success

One of the most effective strategies for any company to overcome the challenges in their respective industry is to adopt the local craft beer model which revolves around positioning the business as a community-centric one, deeply rooted in the local culture and values. By doing so, any business can differentiate itself from its competitors and build a strong and loyal customer base through giving back to the community where it operates.

Another important element of the local craft beer model is prioritizing sustainability and environmental responsibility. By implementing eco-friendly practices such as reducing water and energy consumption, using locally sourced ingredients, and minimizing waste, businesses can align with the values of their community and attract environmentally-conscious consumers.

Overall, adopting the local craft beer model allows businesses to stand out in a competitive market, deepen their connection with the community, and position themselves as socially and environmentally responsible companies. By implementing these strategies and best practices, businesses have the potential to propel growth and thrive in their industry, especially when the community receives something in return.

You can keep your city's craft beer scene alive and healthy by exploring your community and visiting all your local breweries. This also helps you learn more about beer, increasing your thirst for higher-quality products and local connections.

If you are in western Canada and would like to learn more about the Alberta craft community, check out Calgary's local craft beer market with YYCTOURS which offers Calgary Brewery Tours, Alberta beer news, beer education and more at

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