Thrive is happy to announce this year’s winner of the Be Local Community Economy Leader Award is Village Brewery! Village submitted an unbeatable application and wowed Thrive’s selection committee with a passion for community building, supporting their competitors, and engaging their fellow Calgarians in the craft beer industry. They’ve certainly showed economic success over the past five years, but their mission seems to be more geared towards gathering people than anything else. After all, it takes a village to create a craft beer movement!
What really stood out to Thrive’s selection committee was Village’s dedication to supporting their competitors and helping to grow the industry rather than just their own business. In 2016 they teamed up with The Dandy Brewing Company, a local nano-brewery to produce Village Friend: Dandy Baltic Porter. The proceeds from this one-brew batch were donated to Dandy to help them buy equipment to continue to expand their own capacity. Rather than focusing on their own financial bottom line, Village is assisting new breweries to tackle the challenges of being a small business in a big market. So if you’re into great, unique beer that’s building a local economy, keep an eye out for the 2017 Village Friend in February. If you want a sneak peek at who they’ll be collaborating with, Village just put out a teaser video!
Village also showed us that they don’t just partner with other breweries. They partner with other Calgarians as well, including Fiasco Gelato, Big T’s and…you. One of their community engagement activities is the Village Gardener: Community Involved Ale. In 2016, Village partnered with twelve community gardens and dozens of independent backyard growers to produce a fruity, floral, fun brew grown as local as you can possibly get. They expect even more local support and involvement in 2017 and encourage anyone with backyard hops or crops, or anyone involved in community gardens to reach out. Plus, Village provides kegs from this small batch brew to each community garden hoping to get them to know each other a little better or perhaps even fundraise for a local cause. You grow the crops, and Village will help you brew community out of what you harvest.
Village is also using their brewery as a community space and uses it as a catalyst for community growth. Non-profits and community initiatives can use their tasting room at no cost, they host local musicians at events, and they provide weekly tours that bring their fans and customers together. 10% of their bottom line goes to support arts, community, and culture in Calgary. It’s more than just a financial boost they give to Calgarian creators, too – their tasting room operates as a rotating gallery featuring art that patrons can both enjoy and purchase, a service they provide at no cost. 100% of the sale goes to the artist. Obviously, Village believes in paying people for their work – which is why after only five years in the craft brew industry, they have 20 full time employees and 30 part time employees all earning more than a Living Wage.
There’s a reason the first line under “Our Story” on Village’s website is “Let us gather for mutual benefit. And beer.” They want to create community around craft beer that supports the industry as a whole, their neighbours, aspiring home brewers, their city, artists and musicians, and anyone else who wants to be involved. Village invites people into their space to congregate, they invite competitors to collaborate, and they invite all Calgarians to participate. They’re truly showing that doing business and doing good are one in the same.
Village Brewery – congratulations on being Calgary’s 2016 Community Economy Leader. Well deserved, well earned, well brewed.
- Follow Village on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Want to learn more about Village’s unique brews? Subscribe to their YouTube channel.
- Find a Brew New You using Village’s interactive map.
- Enjoy a tour and a pint (or flight!) every Thursday – Saturday at their 5000 12A St SE location.
- Have hops growing in your backyard every summer? Part of a community garden? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your crops be part of the Village Gardener: Community Involved Ale in 2017.