The Government of Alberta recently announced that it is working on a program to help craft distillers grow their business. Full details are expected later this year.
The Alberta Craft Distillers Association jumped on the news, writing on their Facebook page, “Our members are working super hard to create an amazing new industry in Alberta. AB craft distillers now directly employ over 100 Albertans and are investing millions in capital assets. We hope to triple our industry in the next 2 years!”
As an industry, craft distilling today is where craft brewing was in the 1980s. The U.S. market has gone from seven craft distilleries in 1990 to over 1000 today. The amazing thing is that those 1000 craft distillers supply less than two per cent of the market.
When asked about the market share that craft distillers can potentially capture, Michael Kinstlick, a researcher with the American Distilling Institute, is reported to have said, “I don’t think there’s any ceiling in market share.”
Currently, Alberta is home to a half dozen craft distillers located in Edmonton, Calgary, and Banff. For entrepreneurs and investors in search of a site for Alberta’s next craft distillery, Medicine Hat is worth considering for a handful of very good reasons:
Medicine Hat’s population continues to grow. The most recent census count is 63,260, representing a three per cent growth rate since 2013. The city’s population is forecast to grow to between 71,000 and 78,500 by 2025 and between 81,500 and 95,000 by 2040.
Anchored by a healthy industrial sector, Medicine Hat is southeast Alberta’s primary service centre, home to a vibrant community college, a recently expanded full-service hospital, and a strong retail sector. The city’s local workforce is an asset as residents tend to purchase goods and services where they live, if the desired goods and services are available.
Craft distilling is an export industry, and Medicine Hat is conveniently located on the Trans-Canada Highway, at the eastern terminus of the Crowsnest Highway, offering direct access to the Pacific coast. Closer to home, the city is within a one day’s drive of over four million people in Canada and the United States.
When it comes to commercial and industrial real estate, Medicine Hat offers excellent value compared to other cities in Western Canada.
If you’re an experienced distiller looking to get into the craft game, Invest Medicine Hat can assist with connections to community-minded investors via the Medicine Hat chapter of VA Angels, Canada’s most active angel investor network.
Last, but certainly not least, Medicine Hat is a great place to live. Over the years, the city-owned utility has contributed to a quality of life that is second to none. Medicine Hat is home to world-class facilities including the Canalta Centre, the Esplanade, and the Family Leisure Centre, not to mention an amazing network of parks and trails.
As one of Alberta’s largest and most progressive cities, Medicine Hat is a prime location for Alberta’s next craft distillery. With the Provincial government stepping in to support industry development, now is the time to start planning.