Craft brewers to be allowed at farmers’ markets

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The provincial government announced a change Aug. 3, which will allow craft brewers to sell their products at some farmers’ and artisan markets in Alberta.

“This is yet another way the Government of Alberta is cutting red tape and eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens on small businesses and consumers. This policy also builds a new connection between local business and their local community while increasing access to locally made liquor products,” said Joe Ceci, president of the Treasury Board and Minister of Finance.

“This creates new business opportunities for entrepreneurs who are truly at the heart of this policy change.”

This is good news for Matt Gaetz, one of the owners of the Dandy Brewing Company. Gaetz is a resident of Airdrie who opened the nano-brewery with three business partners in 2014.

“This has been a huge year for producers and craft brewers – lots of policy changes, lots of new things coming down the pipe,” Gaetz said. “This farmers’ market change is huge for us. It makes sense. The meateries in the province have been doing it for a long time.

“We are very craft in our product, through every sense of the word. Every bottle, every recipe is handcrafted by us and…why not showcase at a farmers’ market?”

Dandy operates a tasting house at its brewery in Calgary and sells its beers locally in stores such as the Sierra Springs Liquor Store on Main Street and Thumbprint Craft Beer Market on Mackenzie Way.

While the policy change comes a bit late in the year for this market season, Gaetz said it’s something the partners will be pursuing over the winter to ensure they are ready to go when the markets re-open in the spring.

“We’ve only got four or five weeks – if that – left in the season, so we’re going to reach out to a few of (the markets) because we are interested in being there,” he said. “This change allows us to hit the ground running with this next year.”

The amended policy comes into effect Aug. 15. According to Alain Maisonneuve, acting president and CEO of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC), this is a “win-win for Alberta’s businesses and consumers and a positive development for the broader community as we all get a chance to discover and support more locally made products.”

Along with the change to allow craft brewers to sell at farmers’ and artisan markets, a new taproom licence has been created, which will allow craft brewers the opportunity to have events and entertainment at their locations.

“The concept of having entertainment in the taproom is great – we weren’t able to do that previously,” Gaetz said. “By entertainment, we mean maybe having someone playing an acoustic guitar in the corner while people talk and have flights of Dandy. It opens that door to have an event. An event night brings people in.”

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