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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with
03 February, 2023

Brewing news Canada, AB: Brauerei Fahr to break ground on its brewing facility this summer

Jochen Fahr began brewing beer out of his small, two-bedroom apartment a little over a decade ago, The Calgary Herald reported on February 2.

This summer, he plans to break ground on a new 25,000-square-foot home for Brauerei Fahr in the recently amalgamated Diamond Valley.

The new brewery has been in the works for two years, but Fahr on Wednesday secured a five-acre plot of land in the community 20 minutes west of Okotoks.

The new facility will be beyond what he could have imagined when he originally started brewing beer as a hobby in his kitchen.

“It was a hobby that became an obsession that became a profession,” said the president and founder of the brewery.

Fahr has been located in Diamond Valley since 2017 but this new construction will allow it to expand its production five-fold. The three-storey building will include a restaurant and space for weddings and other events, while its second floor covered patio will look west to the mountains.

Fahr said cost of construction will be between C$4 million and C$6 million, and will create 20 to 30 permanent jobs, adding to the current 11 employees who already work for the brewery. The new facility will allow it to increase production to 2.5 million litres of beer a year; the brewery produced about 500,000 litres in 2022.

“For a long time we’ve been a bedroom community,” said Mayor Barry Crane. “But projects like this really allow people to have an income that’s sustainable, that could be a living wage, where they can remain in town and not have to travel so much.”

The mayor said there is a need for this type of venue in Diamond Valley — particularly the event space that can be booked for many functions and take pressure off its aging community hall.

Fahr said the Diamond Valley community has been welcoming since he set up shop there, and reminds him of the small town where he grew up in rural Germany.

As his adopted home, the brewery gives back to the community in a number of ways. During the pandemic, he started hosting Oktoberfest celebrations outdoors, and with the construction of the new building he’ll be able to host the event in one contained spot.

Originally, brewing beer in the kitchen of his 500-square-foot apartment was an outlet for Fahr, something to do to relax and escape from the pressures of his career in industrial biotechnology. After a falling out at the biotech company where he was working in 2015, an adviser encouraged him to dive into the beer-making business.

The result was an award-winning hefeweizen that launched his new career.

He used his engineering background to set up a sustainable operation that maximizes the brewery’s current space. The same principles will be applied in the new building.

Diamond Valley is quickly becoming known as a home for world-class alcohol, as Eau Claire Distillery is also located in the small community of 5,500.

Fahr Brewery has earned multiple Canadian and international awards for its beer, including its first brew, Hefe, which was named World’s Best Bavarian Style Hefeweiss in 2020, even beating out selections from Germany from where the recipe originated. The last two years the beer has finished with silver medals. His other variations have also collected national and global accolades, including his lager and Vienna lager.

The demand for Fahr beer has doubled in each of the past two years, and it can be found throughout Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan. The brewmaster will now look south of the border, with inroads set to be made into the midwest United States.

“When they heard that this quality of beer was produced in Alberta, they started listening,” he said. “The quality matches the German import beers, but we can have it much fresher. It doesn’t have to cross an ocean in a boat with all the delays and freight costs that come with that.”

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