Hard-Affected Cochrane Brewery Welcomes Opportunity to Join Local “Brewz ‘n’ Booze” Tour


Half Hitch Brewing Company and Whispering Dutchman Distillery are now part of Brewz ‘N’ Booze tours.

Cochrane’s local breweries and distilleries are embarking on a new brew and spirits tour that hopes to boost local tourism and the economy.

Half Hitch Brewing Company and Whispering Dutchman Distillery are now part of Brewz ‘N’ Booze tours.

“It was brutal, in a nutshell, honestly,” Heier said. “We’ve seen a significant drop in revenue, as a lot of our customers are also restaurants, as soon as the restaurants close, a lot of our wholesale business does the same. “

Heier said the brewery has experienced a drop in wholesale revenues of 30-40% in the past 19 months.

“On top of that, we have to run our own restaurants,” he said. “We are limiting capacity and we have basically ended up becoming the whips of our industry with the lockdowns, closures and restrictions. Our industry has been hit very hard, and it’s been pretty well sucked up over the last year and a bit. “

The concept of Brewz ‘N’ Booze is a full-day bus tour that takes participants to sample a variety of craft breweries and distilleries in the Cochrane, Canmore and Bow Valley area, or in the Foothills municipalities of Turner Valley and Black Diamond.

The company currently offers two guided tours, each starting at $ 199 per person. Both tours have round-trip transportation from Cochrane that includes a meal at Half Hitch, as well as tours and tastings at other breweries and distilleries in places like Canmore, Turner Valley, and Black Diamond.

The next visits will take place on the weekend of November 13 and 14, followed by the weekend of November 27 and 28.

Joining the new local brewery tour was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up, Heier said.

“Anytime we can work with a company that expands some of their resources for marketing and product development, it becomes obvious to us that we can kind of hang on to that,” he said. “It’s guaranteed income.”

When not busy brewing beer, Heier devotes part of his time to the Cochrane Tourism Association (CTA) as a board member. He said he believes the tour has the potential to create a ripple effect where more people want to visit the community through word of mouth from previous visitors.

“What I like about [this] is it a Cochrane product, basically, and not just because the people who run it live in Cochrane, ”Heier said. “With my personal involvement in the CTA board, I am always ready to offer any type of tour or platform that can introduce us and also raise awareness of what is happening in the city. “

Heier said Half Hitch has plenty of eggs in the foodservice industry’s basket, runs its own restaurant out of the brewery, and recently opened a handful of new craft beer and pizza restaurants in the area, called The Mash.

The premise behind new restaurants is to capitalize on wholesale and retail margins. This is another place to sell their product while using the spent grains from the brewing process to create pizza dough.

It was very expensive, Heier said, despite the small square footage and operating expenses of the new restaurants.

“When you look at what we had to do… we had to mobilize additional investments to be able to achieve this,” he said. “But when it comes to individual restaurant performances, they are all equally affected. Anytime there is some kind of advertisement, especially with the requirement of proof of vaccination, it reduces the number of customers walking through the doors of all of our sites. “


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