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New partnership makes local craft beer, spirits available at two major Edmonton venues

Visitors to events being held at the Edmonton Convention Centre and the Edmonton Expo Centre – including K-Days, the city’s annual summer fair that started Friday – will now have the option of drinking locally produced beer and spirits.

Explore Edmonton, the city’s destination marketing arm that operates the two major venues, announced a partnership with Labatt Brewing Canada that will allow the organization to use local poured-beverage products at the sites.

The partnership with Labatt came from a request-for-proposal process that started in December, said Arlindo Gomes, Explore Edmonton’s vice-president of business development and venues management.

“It’s very uncommon to have a partnership like this one with Labatt or others where you’re permitted to carry other products,” Gomes said to media at K-Days. “This is a unique and kind of new form of partnership that we’ve been able to develop. We’re appreciative of the willingness of Labatt to see the opportunity that also aligns with our interests and provide us the opportunity to support local (business).”

Gomes said the arrangement will allow Explore Edmonton to feature a variety of local breweries and distilleries. Notable local businesses being featured at the venues include Alley Kat Brewing, Campio Brewing, Sea Change Brewing, Fort Distillery and Strathcona Spirits.

In terms of food products in general, the Expo Centre and the Convention Centre already purchase up to 45 per cent of the food they serve from local suppliers.

Exposing its product to more people is “a great opportunity,” said Ray Burton, general manager of Campio Brewing.

“Obviously, the goal is to get our beer in everyone’s hands … It’s really big for us,” Burton said.

The downtown brewery has been working with Explore Edmonton over the last year already, with its 105th Street bar used in a couple of the agency’s promotional video shoots.

Gomes says the new partnership with Labatt brings resources to the table that help Explore Edmonton stage major events such as K-Days, Farmfair International and the Edmonton Pro Rodeo.

“Those are important investments that go toward supporting our programming and a lot of the expenses that we have,” Gomes said. “I think what we’ve created is the best of both worlds.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Nahreman Issa and Galen McDougall Top Stories

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