Wood Buffalo Brewing Shuts Down in Fort McMurray

FORT MCMURRAY, AB – Wood Buffalo Brewing, the Fort McMurray location of Alberta brewpub chain Bear Hill Brewing, has closed down after approximately six-and-a-half years in business.

According to a report in Fort McMurray Today, a number of factors contributed to the closure:

The first major hit to the craft brewery and pub, which opened in 2013, was the global collapse in oil prices that began in late 2014 and worsened the following year. Then there was the May 2016 wildfire.

Both events resulted in thousands of people leaving Fort McMurray, while disposable income became tighter for remaining residents. [Bear Hill CEO Brett Ireland] also admits changes to the menu chased away some regular patrons.

But the biggest hit was a combination of the failed municipal plan to reshape downtown with an arena project, and new housing and commercial developments north of the Athabasca River.

“With the arena not opening up and the movie theatre relocating uptown, it just seems the city is more focused with developing uptown,” said Isaac Van Nie, managing partner of the brewery. “It’s kind of depressing going downtown.”

While the Wood Buffalo brewing facility is no longer in operation, several of its brands including Northern Dark Black Lager and Babe Blueberry Vanilla Ale will remain in production at other Bear Hill locations and sold at retail outlets in Alberta.

For more details, see the full report.

Source: Fort McMurray Today

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