LIFE LONG FRIENDS TAPPING INTO UNIQUE LOCATION WITH NEW CRAFT BREWERY
Alberta beer makers will soon welcome a new brewery into the fold.
Folding Mountain Brewing has broken ground just outside of Jasper National Park. Owners Aric Johnson and Jason Griffiths hope to be pouring pints by summer, 2017.
“We’ve talked for a long time about how great it would be to open a brewery,” said Johnson. “It was now or never.”
The two life-long friends grew up together in Hinton. Johnson is a public relations consultant in Red Deer while Griffiths helps run the family Ford business. Now they can add entrepreneurs and beer producers to their resume—well, the first one, anyway. The tanks don’t arrive until February, and there’s a lot of planning and work yet to do.
“We would love to be open for the May long weekend,” Griffiths said.
That’s certainly when the first trickle of summer tourists start to arrive in Jasper. Griffiths sees the location—30 seconds off Highway 16, 10 minutes west of Hinton—as having a great potential to capture visitors. The landscape will be a drawn in itself, he hopes, but the real allure will be the beer.
“We want everyone from the beer geeks to the people who’ve never tried craft beer,” he said.
Griffiths and Johnson place themselves firmly in the former category. The ex-college roommates were making home brew in their bathtub before it was trendy. Today, Johnson, for one, can’t begin to pin down his top beer styles.
“That’s the great thing about beer, the ingredients stay relatively the same but there are so many possibilities in terms of what the ultimate outcome is,” he said. “I couldn’t begin to lock down even five favourites.”
On the other hand, what the guys will try to lock down is a unique spot on Alberta’s beer map. For although a bevy of craft brewers shot up after the government changed its rules about production volume in 2013, having found nothing but support for their endeavour from fellow beer makers, Griffiths and Johnson believe there’s plenty of room for them in the fold.
“Of course there’s an element of competition because everyone’s trying to get their product out the door but the advice and help and stories shared about getting off the ground have been super helpful,” Johnson said.
Tap into Folding Mountain Brewing at foldingmountain.com