Visiting Village Brewery

After moving in to our new store location this past summer, we realized that Highfield by WineCollective has one of the coolest neighbours in Calgary.


Village Brewery just turned three years old this past December, yet their increasing popularity has made a great impact on the Calgary craft beer scene. Over my new favourite Village brew, Brunette, I got the chance to chat with communications and beer expert Jake on Village’s past, present and future.

“It takes a Village to raise a beer.”

Village is made up of 7 partners, including brew master, Larry Kerwin. From sales to dismantling old breweries, these guys have over 100 years of beer experience combined. Even with immense knowledge of the beer world, Village partners started spreading the word by door-knocking at local bars and pubs. They were after all, looking to create beer by and for the village people… of Calgary.

This spring, Village is reaching its 1000th brew. Its products are also now available through out Alberta through Liquor Connect. Through their milestones, the brewery remains dedicated to the Calgary scene. “Calgary is the market we brew for,” says Jake.


Brews and beers

Several years ago, Village created their first beer, the Blonde. From that point, frequent additions have been made to their line up which now includes the Wit, Blacksmith, and Maiden. Seasonal brews such as the Brunette come and go, but with much popularity and pleading, the beer may become part of the everyday selections.

Creating new beers at Village is a very involved process. Brewers and partners of Village meet frequently to discuss upcoming trends and interests in order to decide on the next styles of beer to brew. However, it is always a family connection that forms the next character.

“Each beer is named after a character you would meet in a Village,” says Jake. “But that character comes from the story of a family member or friend as inspiration.”

For example, the delicious and dark Blacksmith was named after a great uncle of one of the brewers, who was of course, a blacksmith! Not only are the beers named after that connection, but the entire style of the beer and package design is created in their image. You can even find each story on the bottom of every Village beer and package.

Fresh, local beer

“Craft breweries don’t really see themselves as competition between each other, it is much more about getting market share away from mass produced beer,” says Jake. “Instead, we are driving people towards a higher quality product, made with better ingredients. Village is brewed locally, supports local jobs, and local economics.”


The reason for craft beer’s popularity is because “the best beer is fresh beer.” Not only are you drinking a brew that was bottled days ago, Village also uses as many local ingredients as possible.

“We get great malts from our prairies and partner with Village gardeners who grow hops for us.” Jake says that local honey and lavender are also sourced, and in return, Village gives all of their spent grain to local farmers who use it for animal feed.

YYC Arts

Village Brewery does not stop at agriculture when it comes to supporting local initiatives. To start, 10% of all bottom sales go to local charities in support of the arts.

“We want to be a positive part of the Calgary community,” Jake says.

Each variety pack uses a different artist to create the artwork displayed on the case, and you can even find their information on the package. In addition, you will find numerous paintings and even Village Brewery merchandise around the brewery and tasting room, all of which are for sale with 100% of proceeds going back to the artist for their work.



You can now find all of Village’s products in Highfield by WineCollective, including their delicious growlers at discounted member pricing.

But, before or after your wine stop, take a turn around the corner. Village regularly hosts tours and tastings for only $15, including this upcoming Saturday, January 31.

Wine for your Valentine

Chocolate and flowers can really put a smile on your Valentine. But wine that smells and tastes like chocolate and flowers… now that will likely get you more than a smile – if you know what we mean. *Wink

Cork Heart

In time for Valentine’s Day, WineCollective is offering two very special mixed packs. For each pack, we’ve chosen, with love, four special wines to take you through February 14th. Over brunch or dessert, these wines are destined to be shared.

A Special Valentine

Retail: $70 | Club: $62.99

Your special someone, palate and wallet will love you

Treat your sweet heart to the Anima Negra MUAC, Real Compania Garnacha, Joseph Mellot Sincerite and the Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Écusson Brut Rosé. These budget friendly wines are extremely impressive WineCollective favourites.


An Indulgent Valentine

Retail: $137.49 | Club Member Price: $105.99

Splurge on your Valentine with fine wine.

This exclusive Indulgence package includes two wines that have never been featured on WineCollective before. The 2012 Foxen Pinot Noir and Dr. Von Basserman-Jordan’s 2012 Spaltese Riesling, are two premium selections recently sold on Tannic. We are happy to offer them through this Indulgence pack – one time only! The pack also includes the 2012 Milou Rouge and the Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Écusson Brut Rosé.


If you live in Eastern or Northern Canada, order your Valentine’s Day gift pack by February 2nd to receive the wine in time for Feb. 14th.

Members in Western Canada must purchase by Feb. 9th.

Members in Alberta can also use the coupon code WINEFORMYLOVE for free shipping on a Valentine package.

For more information on our Valentine packs, including tasting notes and food pairings of all the wines, visit the WineCollective store!

Exclusive feature from Schug Carneros Estate

WineCollective partnered with esteemed Sonoma producer Schug Carneros Estate, to bring our members an exciting offering. We are proud to showcase the WineCollective Cuvee Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Schug. These wines are exclusive to WineCollective members online, and available only at Highfield by WineCollective in Calgary.


2013 Schug WineCollective Cuvee

Pinot Noir

Sonoma Coast, California

Retail: $29


2012 Schug Cuvee WineCollective


Sonoma Coast, California

Retail: $27

Schug Carneros Estate

Owners Walter and Gertrud’s appreciation of wine came early in life, as both their fathers managed estates in Germany. The couple moved to California, where Walter worked for several large producers, such as Joseph Phelps. While living in St Helena, Napa and working as the winemaker at Phelps, Walter had the opportunity to produce produce under his own label. Starting with Pinot Noir, Walter began building the Schug brand.


The vineyards just south of Schug Carneros Estate.

Through it’s growth, Schug has remained a family ran business. All of Walter and Gertrud’s children are involved in the winery’s success. Axel Schug, one of Walter and Gertrud Schug’s three children, is responsible for the estate’s sales and marketing ventures. Axel hosted WineCollective late last summer, where we were able to learn more about the winery’s history and future.

Schug Carneros Estate is located in its founding location within the Carneros appellation. When the demand for Schug wines outgrew their production in Napa, Schug grew its acreage 1989 with 50 acres in Sonoma. Home to our exclusive cuvees, the Sonoma Coast enjoys a cool maritime climate, perfect for ripening crisp Pinot and Chardonnays! Of the sprawling 500,000 acres designated within Sonoma Coast, only 2% of the land is planted to vineyard. The majority (75%) of the vines are planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Schug 3

View of the vineyards looking out from Schug Carneros Estate.

The Wines

After meeting with Axel Schug at the winery, we were confident that we had found a great producer to showcase an exclusive wine for WineCollective. Axel Schug toured us through the estate and poured the winery’s current releases. We were blown away by the quality, consistency and dedication of the Schug team, crafting exceptional and accessible wines.

The 2012 Chardonnay is a perfectly versatile Chard, with flavours of peaches, dried apricots, zingy white grapefruits and a hint of vanilla. The body is bold enough to entertain heavy pastas and roasted chicken, with just enough acidity and a long juicy finish.

The 2013 Pinot Noir is sourced from 5 vineyards within the Sonoma Coast AVA, including Ricci, Stage Gulch, and Schug Estate vineyards. The Pinot balances rustic notes, ripe berries and savoury herbs and minerality. The elegance will impress Pinot-lovers, while containing enough bold character to also impress the apprehensive.


Vineyards to the north of Schug Carneros Estate.

The WineCollective Cuvees are an exclusive opportunity to own a wine from Schug Estate that has been carefully selected by the WineCollective team, directly at the winery. We are proud to be able to offer our members the opportunity to enjoy this Pinot Noir Chardonnay from a premium producer at an exceptional value. We are excited to feature both these wines to WineCollective members at a price substantially below market, one of the benefits of our sourcing wine direct. These wines will be available to members through the online members-only store, Tannic, and at Highfield by WineCollective until they sell-out. We would like to thank the team at Schug for helping to create a memorable wine experience!