By Collin Gallant
Southern Alberta Newspapers
A regional brewery tour in southern Alberta will go province-wide this summer thanks to a tourism grant from Ottawa.
The Highway 3 Ale Trail was created in 2022 by eight micro-breweries in towns from Medicine Hat to the Crowsnest Pass in hopes of promoting destination beer-tasting and tourism.
The independent brewers released and retailed a collaborative ale promoted by tourism outlets in the Hat, Lethbridge and the Southern Rockies.
Earlier this month, the Alberta Small Breweries Association received $525,000 to create other legs of a greater tour across Alberta from Prairies Can, formerly Western Economic Diversification.
The funds were part of $17.8 million targeted to the tourism sector, including $3.25 million for Travel Alberta to build capacity in “diverse” tourism destinations.
“Alberta Ale Trail will incorporate existing Ale Trails, such as the Hwy 3 Ale Trail, and simply provide another avenue for guests to find the breweries and attractions along the way,” read a statement to the News from the ABSA.
It said that food and beverage-centred trips are increasing in popularity among tourists and day trippers.
“While the Alberta Ale Trail is centered around the breweries as the focal attractions, this project will provide opportunities to other operators, restaurants, attractions, activities and more on a seasonal basis.”
Along Highway 3, Medicine Hat Brewing Company produced “Southern Exposure Pale Ale” while local breweries Hell’s Basement and Travois Ale Works were also involved, along with micro breweries in Lethbridge, Fort Macleod, Lundreck and Blairmore.
A similar campaign in 2021 involving six breweries in the Red Deer area linked up farm tours and restaurants as well.
Also outlined in the press release from the federal ministry were grants to the Edmonton World of Science Centre ($2 million), the Smoky Lake Metis Crossing stargazing and cultural centre ($1.45 million), the National Music Centre in Calgary ($1 million), and the Town of Sylvan Lake ($300,000) to develop a destination marketing organization.