My First Beer was Local

We were taking a break from picking roots and rocks out of the summerfallow field.  Whether or not you know what I’m talking about, just know this is backbreaking farm work.  Nothing makes hard work harder than dry heat in a bare field, and this day was a scorcher.

My grandpa always drank coffee.  No matter how hot it was outside, he’d drink hot, black coffee. He’d pour it out of the big metal Thermos into the cup/lid and just seeing the steam rising out of it would make me sweat.  Everybody else drank water.

On this particular day, there was a cooler full of beer.  A cooler full of beer wasn’t an unusual sight, but this was no ordinary cooler of beer.  It contained the first batch of Great Western beer sold in our little town.  So what?  At the time I didn’t know what was so special about it, but what happened next made a lifelong impression on me.

After being scheduled for closure by its big brand owners, the employees of the Saskatoon brewery purchased the facilities and opened a regional brewery:  Saskatchewan owned brewing Saskatchewan beer. It was big news all over the province.  If you know anything about the Roughriders, you know Saskatchewan people are fiercely loyal.

My grandpa set down his Thermos and told my dad to hand him a beer. We were all very surprised because my grandpa only drank alcohol on special occasions.  He looked me in the eye and said, “It’s important to support your own.”  After taking a big swig, he handed me the bottle. My dad tried to protest but my grandpa was the boss.  It was my first beer.

Photo Courtesy of Great Western Brewing Company:

Photo Courtesy of Great Western Brewing Company:

My first beer was local.  Coincidentally, it was also from a small, regional brewery.  From my earliest beer purchasing days I always did my best to support local. As I grew older and began to travel,  I soon learned local doesn’t always mean small, or good.  My grandpa’s words and my well-intended local purchasing ethos paved the way to my current enthusiasm for craft beer.

If you ‘re going to drink a beer, drink a craft beer.  If possible, make it a local craft beer because, “It’s important to support your own.”





The Beginning
About James Hudyma

Dad. Husband. Teacher. Canadian. Guitar Picker. Songwriter.

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