Photo: Shane Rempel

Dandy Brewing and Blindman Brewing enter into a new partnership

Over the past few years, the hospitality and food and beverage industries have faced some real challenges. That is probably putting it lightly. 

First came COVID, and then the tidal wave of inflation saw prices go through the roof. Businesses that successfully navigated these treacherous times were forced to make tough and at times creative decisions and ultimately learn how to do things more efficiently, and effectively. “Pivots” have become the necessary components of business success in our current economic environment. 

Dandy Brewing (2003 11 St. S.E.), is one local business that has faced the challenges of the past few years head-on, embracing change with creativity and courage. And in perhaps its most innovative move yet, Dandy has just recently announced a new strategic partnership with central Alberta’s Blindman Brewing (3413 53 Ave., Lacombe). 

The partnership is the first of its kind in Alberta. 

Mergers and acquisitions within the beer industry are nothing new, but to be clear, this is neither. Instead, this is a collaborative partnership that will put each business in a better position to focus on specific elements that have proven successful for each of the companies individually over recent years.  

“We kind of ended up on a phone call with Blindman and then in the typical way brewery people do, we met for some beers,” says Dandy Brewing co-founder, Ben Leon. “As we were chatting about the nature of the industry and what the next chapter will look like, we realized that there might just be a strategy that we could put into play here that could be beneficial to both of us.”

The plan is for Dandy’s regular line up of beers, and the brews intended for further reaching distribution, will be brewed at Blindman’s production facility in Lacombe. This will enable Blindman to increase its capacity. The beer industry deals in economies of scale, so this should be quite beneficial. 

The simple fact is it is hard for smaller, retail-focused, production breweries to compete and be profitable because of the cost of materials, labour, and the increased price of pretty much everything. Larger-scale productions are able to benefit at scale for several reasons. For example, much larger batch sizes are more efficient in their labour costs because labour for a 10 Hectolitre batch of beer costs essentially the same as for a 60 or 100 Hectolitre batch. Also, purchasing far larger amounts of raw materials makes it possible to strike better deals. The addition of Dandy’s core beers will certainly help Blindman’s production reach a new level.

At the same time, this will help take the pressure off Dandy’s beer production. They won’t need to focus on maximizing brewery capacity, rather they plan to focus on smaller batch, and experimental beers. 

“For those who have known Dandy for a while, the feeling is sort of like going back to Dandy v.1,” says Leon, “We hope to experiment a lot and have some fun with small batches and refine food concepts and focus more on the taproom overall.” 

And it may indeed be this focus on the taproom that will form a major component of their future success.

Dandy plans to expand the taproom space, increasing the overall capacity of their bar and restaurant areas and enabling even more people an opportunity to enjoy an increased selection of fun one-off and experimental beers, not to mention their absolutely fantastic pizza. 

The business world can be ultra-competitive and cut-throat at the best of times, but this partnership goes to show that sometimes the best and most creative solutions involve collaboration and co-operation. 

To illustrate this point, Dandy and Blindman decided to initiate their partnership by collaborating to brew a beer. Together they brewed a delicious American IPA, and named it, “Together IPA,” which might just be perfect. 

“Together IPA” is available in the taproom at both Dandy and Blindman and can also be found in cans throughout Alberta. Give it a try and see for yourself just how tasty collaboration can be.