A community of drinkers cheers with their glassesPrairie Dog Brewing’s founders are passionate about community and having a positive impact on it. We believe that a locally-owned business that spends its revenues on other locally-owned businesses creates a positive feedback loop, allowing the local economy to grow and support more jobs while retaining more money; the ultimate in long-term sustainability.

Consider vibrant, cosmopolitan cities like San Francisco. There you find a thriving local economy where consumers turn their noses at chain restaurants and stores and flock to small, independent local businesses. Conversely, dull, unmemorable places where the economy is flat or declining are often full of chain stores and restaurants. That is no coincidence. Businesses are focal points for local currency, and if a business employs a lot of people or spends a lot of currency on other local businesses, the impact of that currency on the local economy is multiplied because it gets a second chance to be spent at another local business, and so on. However, when businesses divert currency out of the local economy, the spending potential for that currency is lost and the local economy can sustain fewer jobs. Unfortunately during hard times people are pressured into buying from non-local businesses to try to stretch their dollars further, but in the long-term this only takes away market share from other local business and puts more local people out of work who then have to stretch their dollars further, forming a vicious cycle.

Unfortunately, the Canadian brewing industry has long been dominated by large, foreign-owned corporations that focus on keeping costs low and prices high, employing a fraction of the staff per unit of beer produced compared to small craft breweries. Further, macro-breweries use their clout to force down the costs of ingredients like wheat and barley, putting pressure on Canadian farmers that are already struggling to make a living. This leads to higher suicide rates among farmers and farm closures, and the purchase of farmlands by foreign-owned conglomerates that in turn use sophisticated mechanization to employ fewer people, and rely on pesticides and GMO crops to produce more pounds of food per parcel of land than would be possible with conventional agriculture. As a result there are fewer jobs and less money in the local economy (doubly so, because not only do the farmers lose their livelihoods but the farming profits are sent overseas to foreign shareholders), as well as increased pollution in the form of pesticide runoff and a loss of genetic diversity in our food chain.

We vow to do our part in stopping the vicious cycle by paying our employees fair wages and supporting locally-owned businesses like coffee roasters, bakeries, and small-scale farmers, as well as new Alberta industries such as hop growers and micro-maltsters. Please help us work towards a sustainable local community by purchasing craft beer and other products from locally-owned businesses. The next time you are out at your favorite brewpub or restaurant, ask your server who the owners are and where they are located — get to know who you are supporting.