Old Chicago in YEG

On November 23, the Parlour in downtown Edmonton will play host to “Old Chicago in YEG” and transport guests back to the iconic Roaring 20s, an era now immortalized for its glamour and sophistication. Often remembered as the time of Prohibition or the setting of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, The Great Gatsby, the 1920s were a time of burgeoning modernity, illicit nightlife and unforgettable sartorial charm. In the first of a two-part series, you’ll learn more about what society was like during the 1920s.

Background

The 1920s, also affectionately known as The Jazz Age or Roaring 20s, were a time of sweeping social change and political evolution. Urban populations grew exponentially, with more Americans living in cities than ever before, and the economy experienced a period of fiscal prosperity. As opposed to the Great Depression of the 1930s that followed, the ‘20s were an affluent time that pushed the proverbial envelope, causing both controversy and celebration.

Consumer Culture

The ‘20s introduced mass culture to consumers, which meant purchasing consumer products such as ready-to-wear clothing, home appliances and radios—the catalyst for an influx of radio programming across the United States. But the arguably most important consumer product of the era was the automobile—particularly the Model T Ford, which in 1924 could be purchased for a mere $260.

Gender Roles and Fashion

A ubiquitous symbol of the ‘20s is, of course, the flapper. The iconic female figure is characterized by a short bob haircut and glittering fringed dresses. At the time, a flapper was a controversial young woman who indulged in allegedly “unladylike” behaviour such as smoking and drinking. While not all women prescribed to this lifestyle, they did
experience newfound freedom during the ‘20s. Women could vote for the first time, and many went to work at white-collar jobs, which allowed them to participate in the burgeoning consumer-driven society.

The Jazz Age and Prohibition

The accessibility of automobiles during the ‘20s gave young people the freedom to access entertainment unavailable to them in previous times. Jazz bands provided the nightly soundtrack at dance halls, and the genre’s rising popularity wasn’t stifled by older generations objecting to its supposed “vulgarity.”

Of course, one of the most notable aspects of the Roaring 20s was Prohibition. It may have been a time of modern innovation, but alcohol sale and consumption were strictly stifled. On January 16, 1920, the infamous Volstead Act shut down every liquor-driven establishment in the United States, and the liquor trade was driven underground—quite
literally—which was the beginning of illegal speakeasies and bootlegging. Those who supported Prohibition believed that eliminating alcohol would reinstate some of the values of earlier times, but it was abolished in 1933.

Now that you’ve got a primer on the Roaring 20s, stay tuned for the next instalment, which will provide some history about the Parlour, which was built 111 years ago.

EOCC City YEG: Bru Coffee + Beer House

Coffee shops and places to grab a cold beer are not in short supply, but how often do the two come together under one roof? Bru Coffee + Beer House, located in the heart of Oliver, has become the answer to this since it opened its doors in 2015, offering visitors high-quality coffee, local beer and a venue suitable for socializing or meetings. Bru achieved early success, claiming the 2015 Best New Café prize from Where magazine and amassing a dedicated following of regulars, which has only since continued to grow.

 

The Backstory

Owner Tina Wang is no stranger to coffee shops or bars, but she often found the former uninspiring and the latter too loud. As a solution, she decided to formulate a concept that would combine the best of both worlds.

“I think there are many young professionals who want to have meetings, but they don’t know whether to bring their meeting to a coffee shop or a bar,” she says. “At Bru, everything is here. I want to focus on high-quality coffee, drinks and food.”

Wang’s goal is also to educate people about quality coffee and local beer. Bru supports local breweries and family-fun businesses, offering a unique selection of brews—of both varieties—stand apart from the usual suspects populating menus around town.

What’s In A Name?

Wang originally wanted to use her middle name, lan, which translates to “Blue” and would have dropped the “e” to be “Blu”. The name eventually evolved into “Bru,” a nod to Wang’s initial concept while capturing the essence of the business.

“The logo is also simple, but the coloration represents what we do,” she explains. “One side of it has the colour of coffee and the other side signifies beer. I didn’t like the colors at first, but it grew on me because of the meaning behind it.”

 

Standing Out From The Crowd

Wang’s key components of success are quality, transparency and supporting local suppliers. Everything prepared at Bru uses natural ingredients while avoiding preservatives and added sugar. The business maintains a strong emphasis on transparency, educating visitors about where Bru’s products come from and providing information about ingredients.

“Everything is made with a health-first focus,” Wang says. “I have strong values, and everything at Bru revolves around my values.”

And while Bru focuses heavily on using local products wherever possible, Wang would like to branch out and explore unique beer offerings from further afield as well. She notes Aphrodisiaque by Dieu du Ciel from Quebec as one such example.

“We support them because they don’t have their own brewery, and they are from Quebec,” she says. “We like supporting businesses like us. We help each other.”

The Key To Success

Wang’s best tip for aspiring business professionals is simple: keep learning. Industries are ever-changing, and it’s imperative to keep up with new trends and learn new ways to improve your business.

What’s Next For Bru

In the coming years, Wang would like to see Bru be a driving force in elevating Edmonton’s coffee and beer scene while helping consumers make smart choices about what they eat and drink—and exposing them to new breweries and coffee roasters along the way.

“I want to educate people and inspire them.”

For more info on Bru Coffee + Beer House check out her website

Haven’t checked out the next event on November 23? Click here

The Importance of Community Investment

There is a plethora of responsibilities a business has to manage at any given time, from routine day-to-day operations to budgets to client meetings and balancing deadlines, but community investment shouldn’t fall by the wayside.

Community investment goes beyond goodwill; it means a business recognizes its responsibility to people and society. Recognizing this responsibility means a business uses its resources and influence to impact the community in positive ways.

Where to start

What’s good for a community is often good for business, and if a company can recognize its role within a community as an employer and service provider, citizens stand to benefit. Consumers also do more research into businesses they support, and strong community investment can often contribute to growing your customer/client base.

Of course, the best kind of investment comes from a genuine desire to help others rather than focusing strictly on business gains. Research community organizations that align with your company’s values and could stand to benefit from your involvement, be that in the form of staff doing weekly volunteering, assisting in the development of new programming, mentorship or regular donations—financial, supplies or even pro bono services

Employee Morale and Retention

Beyond benefiting local organizations, community investment has been shown to boost employee engagement and retention—particularly if they are able to make meaningful contributions to an organization that resonates with them. People want to work for companies that have a strong reputation in the community, and investing in that community will make strides in establishing that. The ability to volunteer within the community also opens avenues for employees to take on leadership opportunities and develop skills that will improve their performance in the workplace.

Strong Community Relationships

The development of a business and relationship development go hand in hand, and community investment ensures that your company is building and maintaining strong partnerships. Community investment provides endless opportunities for networking and encouraging other businesses to get involved, which only further benefits organizations in the community that need assistance most.

Investing in the community can also help build more personalized relationships with your client base. For example, if your company volunteers with a local charity you can host events and invite your clients to participate. This allows you to interact with them on a more personal level and strengthen your relationship outside the office.

Encouraging Inclusivity

Community investment is a key way to foster inclusivity. Anything that can be done to benefit a community is a step towards building an inclusive economy in which all demographics stand to benefit. Inclusive community investment initiatives can assist in supporting economic independence, fostering entrepreneurship and small business development, for example, all of which will help strengthen the local economy and create opportunities within the community.

 

 

EOCC City YEG: Goat Locker – Turning a Passion Project into a Business

From small bars to upscale restaurants, craft beer has taken over taps across Canada. And Alberta is no exception — growing appetite for local craft beer has spurred many local entrepreneurs and inspired them to tap into the brewing.

This week, EOCC Community features Goat Locker, a passion project started by Brett Lovas and a couple of his friends.

Inspired by the Rise of Craft Beer in Canada

After trying their hand at home brewing and distilling, Brett Lovas and a couple of his friends decided to take it to the masses. They realized that craft beer in Alberta was going to enter a huge growth period, so they decided to get in on the action. Fortunately for them, entering the industry in our province is easier than ever before — the laws has been changed a few years back making it easier for people to start their own brewery.

The Story of Goat Locker

 “We have created Goat Locker to be very approachable craft beer, while still focusing on the highest quality of ingredients and care. We figure that there is a lot of people making beer in Alberta and we as an industry are trying to turn people onto local beer,” says Will Tanner, the Goat Locker Sales & Marketing Representative.

Goat Locker has been supplying venues in Alberta with kegs of locally brewed beer starting from May 2016, and since then their supply chain has grown significantly.

Today, Goat Locker products are distributed throughout Alberta and can be found at Sobey’s, Safeway, Liquor Depot, and many small independent stores. They are also served at many restaurants including Craft Beer Market, National, Original Joe’s, The Keg, to name a few.

Currently, Goat Locker offers two full-time products — Goat Locker “Pale Session Ale” and the “Fainting Bock.” The PSA is a 4.5% West Coast Pale Ale which has hints of citrus and sweet bready malts. The “Fainting Bock”’ is a 5.6% German style Lager with rich malt, hints of caramel and just enough hops to make it not to sweet.

“Our lager, The Fainting Bock, is a German style lager. We use Alberta barley and German style hops. The lager has been very well received as not many small craft brewers make a lager as a full-time offering, especially a Bock style. Besides Bock being a beer style, Bock is also the German word for Goat, so we called it the Fainting Bock (Goat). It fits well with our branding and fits even better with our brand story. Now you can hang out in your local Goat Locker with a goat (the can is made to look like a goat),” explains Will.

He also adds that their styles are a great transition into craft beer for people looking to make the switch but don’t necessarily want something too big and overpowering.

“Our goal is to show people craft beer comes in lots of varieties and there is something out there for everyone. And Goat Locker is a great place to start.”

The Company’s Biggest Hurdles and Biggest Achievements

Will believes that the biggest achievement for them so far is consumer feedback.

“We have gotten great feedback about our products so far through our events and working beer shows. It’s very rewarding seeing people enjoy our beer and story. Lots of work goes into creating the beer, and it’s very reassuring seeing people enjoy our brand. We are still very new but are extremely happy with how our beer has been received, and have a great foundation going forward.”

When asked about the biggest hurdles for Goat Locker, he says that it is distribution. He also adds that it is the most common hurdle for all breweries. “There is only a certain amount of taps and shelf space out there, and everyone wants more,” comments he.

The Power of Strong Brand Identity

Will believes that creating a powerful brand identity is one of the key components of being able to stand out as a brand and developing strong relationships with consumers.

“The brand is critical to your business. Obviously, the beer is the most important but after that consumers like a brand that they think is fun and cool. Making people relate and enjoy your brand is huge to your success.”

He sees a lot of opportunities for strengthening brand identity through events for interacting directly with consumers and talking to them about the brand. One of the recent events Goat locker organized was their Stampede party that took place on July 12th at Vagabond YYC.

“Such events allow people to meet those behind the beer and interact with craft beer lovers.”

Tips from Goat Locker for Aspiring Brewers

When it comes to advice for aspiring brewers, Will recommends the following:

1.    Make sure you love making beer. It’s a tough and competitive industry to get into, and patience is everything.

2.    Work every beer event. It’s rare we get to interact directly with consumers so talking to people about your brand and getting them to try the product is crucial. It’s not the fastest way to get your product out there, but your business will grow one sample at a time.

What is Next?

The next big thing for Goat Locker is the release of a seasonal menu in the coming winter of 2017.

“We are also currently looking for locations in Calgary to build our brewery. We’re getting to the fun stuff… Stay Tuned!”

 

Interested in learning more about Goat Locker? Still wondering what their name stands for? Go to goatlockerbeer.com to find out!

Haven’t checked out our next event on November 23? Click here

 

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