Travel Alberta

Tourism Partnership Brews Up a Brand New Calgary Tour Experience

Opportunities to develop new tourism experiences through partnerships abound in Alberta. Travel Alberta works with tourism businesses and organizations across the province who are interested in capitalizing on those opportunities.

Last summer, a partnership formed between Calgary luxury transportation company Ambassador Limousine, Travel Alberta and Tourism Calgary to work together on a new tour concept. Ambassador Limousine was looking for ways to diversify their business, and Travel Alberta’s experience development team and Tourism Calgary recognized that Alberta had a great brewery story that no one was telling at the time. The vision was to develop a tour that would allow people to visit the breweries to hear the stories and try the products in a safe manner, helping to fill the growing demand for culinary – and beer and wine – tourism experiences.

Alberta’s Beer Story Told through New Tour

Alberta is perfectly positioned to tell the Alberta beer story; just for starters, some of the best beer ingredients such as barley, malt and fresh water are abundant in Alberta. The partners worked with Calgary area breweries to develop the overall brewery story and create an authentic tour incorporating distinctive Alberta elements. The new company formed by Ambassador Limousine from this collaborative exercise is Calgary Brewery Tours.

“We were blown away by the calibre of the breweries: their passion, work ethic, branding, personal stories, and openness to collaboration,” says Brad McCarty, General Manager of Ambassador Limousine and Calgary Brewery Tours. “Guests on the tour really connect with that passion and the stories within this unique Alberta story.”

Calgary Craft Beer Tour was the first tour developed, incorporating guided tours and tastings at Village Brewery, CRAFT Beer Market, The Dandy Brewing Company, Tool Shed Brewing Company and Last Best Brewing and Distilling.

Spirit of Collaboration Helped Promote the Tour

Travel Alberta and Tourism Calgary media teams worked with Calgary Brewery Tours to spread the word about the new tour. The breweries promoted the tour at their locations, on their websites and at beer shows, continuing the spirit of collaboration to ensure success.

“One of Tourism Calgary’s key opportunities is to increase the length of stay in Calgary with our leisure visitors,” says Marilyn Bell, Vice President Travel Trade, Market and Product Development at Tourism Calgary. “Expanding the breadth of export ready product will entice customers to partake in these new experiences and result in more room nights for the city. The collaboration with Travel Alberta in this new arena has been fruitful for all stakeholders and the resources Travel Alberta has dedicated to developing new products is leading edge.”

To ensure this new experience could be sold in regional and international markets, it was built into itineraries sold by receptive tour operators (RTOs), with guidance from Travel Alberta and Tourism Calgary to develop net pricing and arrange media and concierge pre-tours to support this new experience. Travel Alberta also provided RTO training on the new experience, and talked about the new product at marketplaces such as Rendez-vous Canada, Canada’s West Marketplace and Media Marketplace.

Wide Appeal Increases Success

The tours are certainly popular in the regional market, and are just what companies are looking for as corporate activities and incentives for top performers. Add to that the interest from international travel trade, and you have a recipe for success for Calgary Brewery Tours and Alberta’s visitor economy.

Much of the success of the experience is attributable to the tours being as diverse as the guests themselves.

“We have been pleasantly surprised by how adaptable the tours are and how they appeal to so many different people and industries,” says McCarty. “From weddings and bachelor and bachelorette parties to corporate outings, conferences and of course tourists both local and international, the list goes on. We are now able to offer guests the option to customize their brewery tour experience by hand picking the date, time and even the breweries we represent.”

A second tour called Spirit of Alberta Tasting Tour has since been added, with guided tours and tastings at Big Rock Brewery, Okotoks Erratic, Chinook Honey Company & Chinook Arch Meadery and Eau Claire Distillery.

“We could not have done any of this without Travel Alberta and Tourism Calgary,” adds McCarty. “They have both been so amazingly supportive within this whole process to not only start a new tour but to create a new company delivering an amazing experience.”

In addition to working with industry to create new tourism products, Travel Alberta’s experience development team supports the enhancement of existing experiences to grow visitation and align with Travel Alberta's strategic goal to grow tourism revenue in the province.

If you interested in finding out more, send an email to the Experience Development Team or read about the team on Travel Alberta’s industry website.

Travel Alberta