Ski resort diversifies with beverage manufacturing
rök Glacier also plans to use the beverage manufacturing business to help fund environmental restoration efforts.
Food & Beverage
Fortress Mountain Resort knows all too well the effects the pandemic has had on the tourism industry. As a small ski resort, their tourism dollars were cut off completely in 2020 due to COVID-19.
However, in an act of foresight, the leadership team at Fortress had entered into a partnership with Rapid Ascent Brewing to license and sell glacier water across the province. The decision to sell water came in 2019, when Fortress realized they would need more funding to complete their ongoing redevelopment projects and sustainability efforts.
rök Glacier has moved ahead with their beverage production and now offer a variety of products, including alcoholic beverages. Part of rök’s mission is to make sustainability a primary issue and their cans and packaging display this through 100% recyclable material. While many other cans do not have a recyclable holders, rök Glacier boast a sustainable approach to everything that goes into their beverages, including the holders. rök Glacier also plans to use the beverage manufacturing business to help fund environmental restoration efforts from when the resort was first closed down in 2007. Cement, debris, restoring old roads and placing a water protection plant in place are all part of Fortress Mountain’s sustainability plan.
rök Glacier continues to experience growth in 2021 in the midst of the pandemic. As a local beverage producer in Alberta, they’ve been able to take advantage of provincial programs like the ‘Go Local’ program and have signed distribution agreements with Safeway Sobey’s and other local distributors as well. They are also in the midst of hiring a number of other full time positions in 2021 to help with their expansion and growth.
When Fortress Mountain first pursued a water license in partnership with Rapid Ascent brewing, they were looking for a way to fund their sustainability plans and decided to move away from land leasing and selling portions of the resort to outside buyers. They wanted a creative solution that would allow them to make money over a longer period of time as opposed to in a one-time purchase.
“We didn’t want to sell the land. We knew that was a possible route, we also knew it was sort of the route every resort and park tended to go towards. It was the easy, popular decision. But we wanted a way to keep the land and still continue making money on the land, and the glacier gave us that opportunity,” said Michael Wood, president of rök Glacier.
This decision continues to pay dividends as their beverage manufacturing presence grows in Alberta. This is also the kind of creative decision that can help manufacturers rebound and remain competitive in 2021 by considering novel approaches to their pandemic challenges.