Ed opened his own law firm in 1960 in Calgary. Representing a group of southern Alberta barley growers, he led one of the first legal challenges against the Canadian Wheat Board. At issue was why the Wheat Board was selling malting barley for premium dollars but not paying farmers the premium price. As his involvement in the issue grew he would go on to join the Board of Directors of the Alberta Barley Growers and become an outspoken advocate of the finest two-row malting barley in the world.
Boom and Bust
In 1985, inspired by Fritz Maytag of Anchor Steam Brewery and supported by his friends, Ed launched Big Rock Brewery. At the time Calgary was still reeling from a recession in the oil and gas industry. To many - the scheme to brew more flavourful ales and lagers, using Alberta hard water and 2-row barley, in a "yellow-beer" drinking province sounded risky. But Ed found support, and more importantly investors among his close friends and family.
Less Work, More Beer
In the summer of 1985 strikes at Carling-O-Keefe, Labatt, and Molson breweries meant that Big Rock was the only local beer available in Calgary during some of the hottest days of the year. Ed rallied the troops and the Big Rock ran 24 hours a day to meet a thirsty provinces demand. Even Ed was on the production line. Sales skyrocketed overnight and word spread across Canada about Big Rock Brewery.
Ed likes what he likes
Ed started Big Rock Brewery because he couldn’t find the European beers he liked to drink locally. His drive for a better beer led to the creation of what is now one of the largest independent craft breweries in Canada. In 1995, Ed was named Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young. In 2005 he was given the Order of Canada and the Alberta Centennial Medal. Ed was also inducted into the Calgary Business Hall of Fame in 2009. Fast forward a decade and many great new craft beers later, Ed’s legacy lives on.