May 28, 2019
If you were in Calgary in 1988, you’ll no doubt remember the spirit of the Olympics and how it brought the city together. If you weren’t, you’ll still be familiar with the big hair, windbreakers and anthem rock that so clearly mark the era. Either way, you’d be in the right frame of mind to sample some of the beers from Calgary’s Eighty-Eight Brewing Co.
“The whole concept is a nod to that time but more so to the city,” explains Stuart Valentini, one of the founders of Eighty-Eight, “Our team is mostly all born and raised Calgarians and we love our city.”
Valentini notes that things have changed significantly since the heady days of the ’88 games, and that the city is responding, shifting from an oil and gas-centred economy to one that’s more broad and multi-faceted.
“1988 was kind of a turning point for Calgary, going from being this small town on the frontier on the west, to becoming more of an international city. Today we’re seeing a similar shift.”
Could Calgary be trading one liquid industry for another, becoming Canada’s answer to Portland, for example? You’ll find plenty of craft beer brewers and sippers who hope so.
“I think each of us who started the brewery just wanted to do something entrepreneurial. We really wanted to put a bit of our own mark on it, and contribute to the growing brewery scene that's really exploding in Alberta and in Calgary,” notes Valentini.
Eighty-Eight opened in August 2018, and its beer has been available at Co-op Wine Spirits Beer almost from day one. Valentini says they’ve been grateful for the support, and the response from Co-op customers so far has been amazing.
“Co-op has done a really great job of helping grow and promote craft beer in Alberta and we love working with the Co-op team.”
Eighty-Eight’s Duotang Dry-hopped Sour, Hologram White Ale, Tiffany Rosé Saison, and Night Gallery New England Pale Ale are all now available at Co-op Wine Spirits Beer stores.
Valentini shares that Eighty-Eight’s team started their brewing careers much like many others in the Calgary craft beer scene.
“It started as home brewing,” says Valentini, “And we were just really loving what we were doing. We like beer and enjoy the home brew scene. But with the craft beer culture changing outside of Calgary we were also looking at ways that we could get involved with that. The brewery just seemed to make sense.”
Amazingly, Valentini still has a day job as an engineer and runs the brewery, along with his partners, in his spare time. But he sees plenty of parallels between engineering and entrepreneurship.
“There's the problem solving aspect; I enjoy that type of work. I also love that there’s so much science that goes on. For me, not being a brewer by training, I have been lucky to be able to learn so much from our team and the other great Calgary breweries. There’s an appeal to all of it; science, knowledge, and learning, as well as the practical applications of continuing improve on something.”
Find Eighty-Eight Brewing beer at Calgary-area Co-op Wine Spirits Beer.
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