You don’t have to dig deep to find some fascinating facts on Calgary’s history. This time of year, our city is getting prepared for the Calgary Stampede and with that our minds turn to the Big 4. We are all familiar with the term “Big 4”, but let’s find out why these 4 are important to all of us Albertan’s.
Comprised of four wealthy businessmen-Patrick Burns, George Lane, Archibald McLean, and A.E. Cross, the Big 4 were all involved in the province’s cattle industry in the early 1900’s. All four men each contributed $25,000 to put on the first Calgary Stampede in 1912 and the rest, as they say, is history. They equally led impressive, successful careers in a variety of verticals that all eventually bled into politics, but the one that piques our interest is A.E. Cross, simply because he was also a brewer.
Born in Montreal, Alfred Ernest Cross moved to Calgary in 1884 and worked on a ranch that was located where Cochrane is today, by 1886 he owned his own ranch by Nanton. In 1891 he obtained a diploma as a Brewer’s Apprentice and established the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company, Alberta’s first brewery. His own brand, Calgary Beer, identified by the buffalo logo, quickly became popular in Alberta.
Situated in Inglewood, sections of the original building structure have been retained as there are talks of redeveloping the site found along 9th Avenue and 15th Street SE. Historically it was known as Brewery Flats and it was a pivotal piece of the social and economic puzzle of our city. Brewery Flats employed many people and carried them through the Great Depression. The brewery strengthened the community, supported the local economy and brought people together. Today the craft beer scene is following in the footsteps of A.E. Cross and is an integral part of supporting the Alberta landscape. Tool Shed is so proud to play a part in those accomplishments.
Cross eventually moved into politics, becoming an MLA for East Calgary. He died in 1932, after which a school was named after him, in addition to the Big 4 building. As a flattering testament to who he was, 32 local breweries will descend on the grounds at this year’s Stampede and simply continue what he started. Come by when you’re on the grounds to the Big 4 Building and help us toast this formidable and historical man! We made a beer just for the occassion, To the Patio! #TB4RoadHouse