The wait for CRAFT Beer Market has been a lengthy one, but the beer finally began pouring in late December, adding an enviable draft list to the city’s pub roster. The Edmonton location is the third addition to the CRAFT family, with locations already established in Calgary and Vancouver.
Let me just say that CRAFT Beer Market is beautiful. Located in the old Hys building on 101A Avenue, this new addition to the Edmonton food scene boasts high ceilings, vintage trusses, floor-to-ceiling windows and a striking central island bar from which all of the alcohol flows like sweet, sweet manna from heaven. The restaurant offers 104 different beers on tap—no bottled beer here—consisting of various ales, lagers and anomalies such as Parallel 49 Hoparazzi and Brooklyn Sorachi Ace. CRAFT has a custom-made keg room that holds 250 kegs (that’s more than 19 000 litres of beer) and the beer flows through more than three kilometres of pipe.
But General Manager Tyler McCaskie says anyone can serve drinks but that “it takes a lot of commitment to create a quality food program and ultimately it’s the food that is going to bring people back.”
CRAFT’s food concept is described as a “New North American Classic Cuisine … an elevated and sophisticated twist on traditional comfort foods.” All of the food at CRAFT is made daily from scratch as much as possible and the restaurant has partnered with many local suppliers, such as Poplar Bluff Organics, Heritage Angus Naturally Raised Beef, and Gull Valley Greenhouses, to name a few. The resulting menu is unique and inspired, featuring items like fast food sushi, the 20 napkin burger, flatbreads, miso marinated tuna, Big Rock beer can chicken, s’more bombs and chicken and waffles for weekend brunch.
But there’s much more to CRAFT besides the ambiance, extensive alcohol selection and refreshing menu. It’s the restaurant’s dedication to sustainability and community support that sets it apart.
Marketing Manager Matt Salucop says, “we realize that CRAFT will inevitably play a larger role in the lives of our guests and our community than simply being a place to enjoy food and beverages.”
On its website, CRAFT outlines its many partnerships and certifications. Salucop points out that “the original CRAFT Beer Market in Calgary is the largest restaurant in Canada to receive Level 1 LEAF Certification and the new CRAFT Beer Market in Edmonton is on pace to exceed Level 1 LEAF certification.”
This distinction means that CRAFT adheres to sustainable food service and preparation standards, all while reducing the environmental impact of energy, water and waste during its daily operations. Achieving LEAF certification is quite a process: the restaurant is audited on key areas of sustainability as well as “the sustainability of our internal policies, furnishings and the building itself,” Salucop adds. After CRAFT is LEAF certified, audits continue to be conducted annually to ensure the restaurant maintains its sustainable practices.
The dedication to sustainability doesn’t end there. CRAFT’s water filtration system, Q Water, filters tap water to produce both still and sparkling water as needed and serves the water in reusable glass bottles, thus eliminating regular deliveries, disposal and packaging. CRAFT also supports Ocean Wise, the initiative created by the Vancouver Aquarium designed to educate and empower individuals about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood. The restaurant also donates $1 from every Q Water sold to support Ocean Wise.
CRAFT’s efforts to provide a more sustainable food-service program are aligned with its dedication to community service. CRAFT has partnered with many charities, such as Ronald McDonald House of Northern Alberta, Kids Cancer Foundation of Alberta, and St Vincent de Paul Society—a partnership that goes far beyond financial contributions.
“There is a high level of time commitment and personal involvement in the charity initiatives that we have chosen,” Salucop says.
For example, CRAFT’s team recently chose to support CIBC’s Run for the Cure and Movember, “which require a higher level of involvement than just simply donating funds,” Salucop says.
There is much more to CRAFT than first meets the eye. CRAFT serves fresh food that you can feel good about—both in its preparation and in environmental impact—and a ton of beer. But, Salucop is quick to add “the relationship between the community that drives our success and the restaurant cannot be a one-way street.”
10013 – 101A Ave