AE. Cross is memorialized throughout the city of Calgary for good reasons. He was a rancher, a good corporate citizen, the founder of Calgary Brewing and Malting and he was one of the Big Four that started the stampede in 1912. By funding city beautician projects like the brewery gardedens, a yearly Christmas light display, and the Calgary Aquarium he worked hard to give back to the community.
Ed McNally was a rancher, a good corporate citizen, and the founder of Big Rock Brewing. He shared many characteristics except for one; you’ll never find his beer at the Stampede. It’s not surprising. You won’t find his beer at any major sporting event or most large concerts either.
This is because a Belgian-Brazilian multinational AB Inbev that owns almost 31% of the Canadian market share including Budwieser, Labbatt and Mill Street uses corporate sponsorship to monopolize the market and restrict consumer choice.
We are in an unprecedented growth in the beer industry. From big players like Toolshed, Yellowhead, and Village to the smaller Blindman Brewing, Bench Creek, and Ribstone Creek, the Alberta beer scene is exploding to almost 40 breweries this year.
Ironically there is a selection of Craft beer available at the Stampede this year, sadly it is all owned by AB Inbev. No Alberta breweries are represented. Officially, it's because Labbatt's is a Champion level Sponsor of the Stampede which seems. The fact that they get preferential treatment is blatant favouritism if not an outright inducement.
I think A.E. Cross would be disappointed by the Stampede whose mandate is to “preserves and celebrate our western heritage, cultures and community spirit”
Yes, we vote with our dollar, but when you restrict our vote using corporate sponsorship you’re running a fixed election.
Sadly things will probably get worse after AB Inbev (30% Canadian Market Share) purchased SB Miller (27% Canadian Market Share) in Nov of 2015.
What can you do? Vote with your dollar, educate your friends, and demand more for the establishments you patronize. For instance Trolly 5 and Last Best Brewing both have brewmaster dinners during stampede.
If you’re interested in the history of Alberta beers, the rise of corporate beer cultre, and the explosion of craft please watch my 3 part documentary series Aleberta.