Drummond Brewing Taproom marks two anniversaries
Sunday marked a double celebration at the Drummond Brewing Taproom.
Green beer was flowing in a tribute to St. Patrick, but mugs were also clinking in recognition of the drinking establishment’s fourth anniversary.
Drummond partners Kevin Wood and Cody Geddes-Backman opened the Taproom in March 2009 as an addition to their fledgling Red Deer brewery, which had commenced operations the previous year.
Their objective was to encourage people to sample Drummond products, and hopefully become regular buyers.
“It’s tough to get them into a seat at the very beginning,” acknowledged Wood. “But once we get them in, they’re usually return customers.
“I have customers that come in every day — 364 days a year, literally.
“We’re open every day of the year, except for Christmas.”
Not only can patrons at the 6610 71st St. premises enjoy a frothy glass of Drummond Dark, Drummond Premium or Drummond’s new gluten-free beer, they can take home off-sales at a discounted price — 24 cans for $24, pointed out Wood.
This is important, he said, because it gives Drummond a retail outlet in a city where it’s tough to wrestle shelf space from the big brewers.
Wood estimates that fewer than one per cent of his company’s sales are in Red Deer, with Edmonton and Calgary Drummond’s big markets.
That’s unfortunate, he said, because the Red Deer brewery is a big contributor to the local economy.
It employs about 20 people, and it’s estimated that every job in the brewery industry translates to eight when you factor in farmers, malt plant workers, truckers, box manufacturers and so on.
“Having a local brewery is beneficial for Red Deer,” said Wood.
He’s optimistic that Drummond’s new gluten-free beer, which came out a few weeks ago, will give the company a boost.
“We’re the first brewery in Western Canada to produce a commercial gluten-free beer,” he pointed out, describing the market as a good niche to get into.
“It’s a market that’s too small for the big breweries.”
The Drummond name was well-known a couple decades ago, before another Red Deer brewery with the same name closed in 1995. Sleeman Breweries Ltd. bought the name with the original Drummond’s other assets, but never used it.
When the trademark lapsed, Wood and Geddes-Backman jumped on it. They also brought Drummond’s former brewmaster back to Red Deer to help get them started.
With nearly five years of brewing behind them, Wood said he and Geddes-Backman have managed to climb a pretty steep learning curve.
“We’re not saying the beer business is easy,” said Wood. “It’s probably the most competitive industry that I know of.”