Calgary: I Could Get Used to This!

27 Jan

I had dinner with some great folks tonight at Open Range in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The folks I had dinner with are super smart, very friendly and know how to have a good time! Beyond being a place where nice people live or work (not all were from Calgary; one was from Québec City), I learned that Calgary makes some killer brew (I had the Wild Rose Canadian Brown Ale) and enjoyed some of their local pride and joy: Alberta beef! Specifically: I had the “blackened NY Strip with Rocky Mountain chimichurri sauce” cooked medium rare — it was very tasty! With the beef, I had the house Malbec (red wine). The meal ended with a great-value single-malt (are you surprised? Really??): Highland Park 12 (voted a best daily dram in 2008 by the Malt Maniacs). After dinner, I had a Cragganmore 12 in the bar at my hotel. Busy day tomorrow…more news as events warrant!

Important note:

One of my dinner companions told me that liquor sales in Alberta are privatized. This means that Albertans can probably get a lot of Scotches that I can’t get. I’m jealous!

The US has two things that limit liquor imports: A confusing patchwork of state-by-state liquor laws, and the stupid 750 ml “standard” bottle that is only standard in the US (other countries tend to use 700 ml bottles for alcohol). There might be more challenges at the state level, but those are the big macro-level issues that make selling into the US market difficult for Scotch whisky producers (especially the smaller ones that are more innovative).

Update from YYC: I spent some time at the duty-free shop (Cloud 9 Liquor Store) at Calgary’s airport this morning while waiting to go through US Customs. Most of the bottles at this shop are 750 ml, so I guess Canada and the US are both making the same mistake. 😦 The shopkeeper said that she rarely sees 700 ml bottles. I did manage to score 3 minis of Amrut, which are right next to me as I write this here in the San Diego airport. I can’t wait to try them!


Posted by on 27-January-2010 in Whisky2.0


3 responses to “Calgary: I Could Get Used to This!

  1. WHISKYhost

    27-January-2010 at 23:38

    Preach it, brother, preach it!

    I think back to living in my native Scotland and how easy it was to sample new whiskies in store, order and purchase different releases, and speak to knowledgable individuals about whisky. There’s a lot to love about living in the US but the whisky (and general liquor) issues make me scratch my head.

    Off to sniff glue,
    Jason @WHISKYhost

  2. chris

    28-January-2010 at 17:59

    Hey Tom… Chris here from the aforementioned dinner 😉

    Glad you enjoyed it, gotta admit I was a bit envious of that NY striploin and would have preferred to stick around and sampled a couple single malts with you. Let me know if there is anything you’re looking for (and can’t get there) and I can scout for ya if/when you make another trip up.

    Its cold here, but that cost doesn’t come without a few wins!

  3. tmaufer

    28-January-2010 at 22:53

    Hey, Chris! I had a great time meeting y’all and am pretty sure I’ll be able to come back. Calgary is now my favorite Canadian city (edging out Vancouver). I haven’t been to all of them, so I’ll reserve judgment until I have. But the food in Calgary was awesome and the people were super nice.

    Re: Whisky, I managed to score three mini-bottles of Amrut (a highly rated single-malt from India) at the airport. Amrut isn’t available in the ‘states yet, and I am really excited to try it. I’m going to write about my nice whisky experience at YYC when I get home.

    Taek care and stay warm!


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