Edward E. McNally, B.A., LL.B, O.C.
Calgary Business Hall of Fame Laureate
All of us at Big Rock Brewery are raising a pint to toast our founder and friend, Edward McNally, who passed away on August 19th, 2014. Our hearts go out to his wife, Linda, and their children during this most difficult of times.
Ed was the driving force behind the creation of Big Rock. His name is synonymous with our brewery. He built this great company against all the odds and has left an incredible legacy for craft beer lovers everywhere. We will be forever grateful for his unique vision. He touched many lives, and we feel part of his extended family.
Fathering some of Canada’s most sought-after craft beers was only part of a life well-lived for Ed. He was born in Lethbridge in 1925. He lived through the Depression, and saw that the one industry that thrived was the town's brewery. It was their pride and joy. Ed never forgot that in good times and in bad, people love great beer.
After completing his law degree, he married Linda and had four children. Summers were spent on a family farm south of Calgary where he discovered the joys of growing his own produce. His passion for farming grew and expanded to include growing barley and raising cattle.
A voracious reader and entrepreneur at heart, Ed read about the rebirth of microbreweries in the United States and believed that there was a market for “real beer” in Alberta; beer that was flavourful and true to the Reinheitsgebot (The Bavarian Law of Purity of 1516). Big Rock Brewery was established in 1985 with the help of a few brave people who believed in Ed's vision.
He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1951 with a Bachelor of Laws and Arts Degrees, he also received an Honourary Doctorate of Laws Degree from the University of Calgary in 1998. Directorships held by Ed, include positions with: Alberta Barley Growers, Alberta Genetics, Algonquin Oil and Gas Ltd., Huntly Cattle Company Scotland and the Western Barley Growers Association.
Ed was frequently honoured for his vision, business acumen and community involvement through receipt of awards like: the Governor General of Canada's Order of Canada in 2005; the Mount Royal College Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award in 2004; the Ernst and Young, Canada’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1995; the Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, Pinnacle Award of Business Excellence in 1992, and the University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business, Distinguished Business Leader Award in 1992.
His philanthropic contributions and donations are notable, and much too numerous to mention individually. Ed was particularly focused on supporting the arts, education, healthcare and agriculture. He was generous with both his time and financial support.
Ed’s life experiences, determination, hard work and commitment to the community have culminated in the success that is now Big Rock Brewery. Big Rock has become the second largest Canadian-owned brewery dedicated to the production of a brilliant selection of pure malt, unpasteurized, preservative-free craft beers. Thanks to Ed’s unique vision and perseverance, Big Rock Brewery is a true Alberta success story, our pride and joy. Today, it is a public company with over 130 employees, its own distribution network, and soon, breweries in three provinces across the country.
Please join us in raising a pint to Ed.
Three cheers for real beer!