March 2020

Kyle Wudrich

The Beginning – Our Story

Our Beginning

Over a beer. That’s how most of these stories start. Ours started three years ago while I (Kyle) was sitting around for just another homebrew pint with Dave and we get to talking. “This is really good. You’re brewing some wicked beers!” Dave says. And then the question some homebrewers inevitably ask: “What do you think about starting our own brewery?”

Wow. That’s a big step. Homebrew to pro brew. Questions flood my head.  Where do we even start? The laws had recently changed to make small production a possibility. A lot of other breweries had started to pop up; over 20 in Alberta in 2016. Where do we get equipment? How do we find a location? Neither of us has really started our own business before.

The conversation and beer continue to flow. Is it really such a crazy idea? What if we just start small, right here in Airdrie? Now my insecurities catch up: would other people even like the beer? Is there enough interest? Would the community want something like this here?

A question starts to come up as we sit for meetings with other breweries and their owners, that question “What’s your brewery called?”

We start to throw around names. What do we call ourselves? How do we want to be recognized? Airdrie is our home town and we want to stay here. We want to hear all of our neighbors stories.  Yankee Valley Brewing? Nah. Airdrie Brewing? Nope, a little generic. How do WE say Airdrie? Do residents still remember getting the first traffic lights? Do they remember the rat hole, the old Post Office…? “What about the original phone number? 948!” says Dave. That’s it. The number. Those numbers you knew by heart growing up. They connected everyone. Three simple numbers. When you met up with friends after school, riding on the bus home, making plans to get together on the weekend. You exchanged your last four digits. You didn’t need anything else; everyone in town had the same prefix and there was no need for the area code.

Everything started with 948, and so will we. This is it. 948. This is how we begin.

Where are you located?

 The most asked question during this whole process. Where are you located?

My answer ” Nowhere yet…”

Yet is the key word. Trust me, We’ve been looking. And looking and looking. Sure there have been a few spots that would have worked if we wanted to have a bigger production facility and had a larger budget. Real estate is expensive and if you want to stay small, those large spaces can quickly eat away at your profits. Lucky for us our city has been helping. They want to see us succeed as much as we do. So we push on.

Everyone seems to think that if you are starting a brewery you have a pile of money laying around somewhere that you just didn’t know what to do with. I’ve gotten “Oh, I didn’t know you were independently wealthy”, “$300,000 is cheap for that equipment”, “When did you quit your office job?” I’m not rich, I don’t make six figures a year and I probably never will but that isn’t what matters to me. I just want to share my passion with my city. This is where I grew up, where my home is, where my friends are. It makes me happy to be able to start a business like this with my best friend so we can give something back to a community that’s given so much to us.

Where are you located in your life? That can be a bigger question I suppose. For now we’ll continue to contract brew and give Airdrie a taste of what to expect When we do finally find our home.

Contract Brewing Part 1

 As our search for a location was going to take a while, we decided that we should contract brew a couple of our recipes. Basically, we would pay another brewery to make 948 beer.  It would give us a better idea of the market and help us establish our name. We didn’t have to look far.As we sat in the Red Bison tap room shortly after they opened their taproom, owner Steve mentioned that they had some tank space and were open to the idea of contracting.

Within 2 weeks we had a contract drawn up, they’ve ordered ingredients and fit us into their schedule to make our first batch. Thus brewed Extra Terrestrial Bitter. We couldn’t have imagined an easier process. The team at Red Bison was always a step ahead of our needs.

The beer turned out perfectly: an exact replica of our award-winning home brew. Immediately we asked if they could help us out with another beer. Batch after batch, they achieved perfection for us. After a year of contract brewing, Steve announced that they will be closing their doors.

Our hearts were heavy. They didn’t just help get 948 off the ground but everyone that worked there are friends and people we care about. They are amazing people who make great beer. We will always be thankful for everything they’ve done for us. We know this won’t be the last you see of the Red Bison and their incredible brews.

 Contract Brewing Part 2

 During the first year of contracts with Red Bison, Dave and I decided we should sit down for a pint, after work, downtown Calgary. The location we chose, or perhaps fate chose, was Craft Beer Market. “Why Fate?” you ask. We end up running into Derek, one of the Dandy Brewing crew. Derek had heard through other brewers that we are on the hunt for equipment and potentially another location to contract brew. Dandy was growing and moving, meaning the original Dandy location was ready and waiting.

An after work pint or growler fill was nearly a weekly affair at Dandy 1. Stopping in that small cozy tap room to try the latest brews always made for a great Friday.Their small batch system was our idea of “The next step” for 948. The Dandy crew ran us through how all the equipment worked, they brewed several contracts for us and in the end, we purchased nearly everything in the original Dandy space. Soon after the purchase we had to move the equipment out and were on the hunt for another contractor and our search for a permanent location continued.

Our beer community stepped up again. Fitzsimmons heard about our situation and was ready to up our brewing game.  Canning!. Out of this world cans of the Extra Terrestrial Bitter and our Patio Krusher Kolsch soon hit the market. We were happy before to be working so closely with our craft beer neighbours, continuing that, Fitzsimmons reminded us what our Airdrie community is all about. 948 Brewing is so thankful to all of you who have held our hand, been our teachers, our mentors and sometimes pushed us off that step we were hesitating to take. You make us proud to be brewers and follow in your footsteps.

Location, Location, Location

We wanted to find the perfect home for the 948 Taproom and Brewery right from the get-go. It took us a while to learn there is no such thing as perfection. With Realtors, property owners, and online ads, the big world of commercial buildings lay before us like an uncharted area of space. We were trying to find the perfect balance of size, neighbourhood, available power, larger water lines, and should we lease or purchase! With all those elements, could perfection come into alignment? You know what we remembered? A home is made; it takes work – you can’t just walk in and sit down.

There are some amazing properties in our lovely neighbourhoods that sit empty. They weren’t the right fit for us, but we are sure they’re the right fit for someone; so why are so many vacant? What more can be done by all parties to fill the spaces with local business? Why are property owners content to leave them empty? If you own one of these properties, please give the little guy or the new kid on the block a chance. Let them build their perfect home, just like we are building ours, finally.

In our journey to a home, we went through nearly every commercial building for lease or sale, new and old across Airdrie. Remember, a home is made; it takes work. We are glad to be settling into our new home, and we can’t wait to make it ours and yours. Because Airdrie, 948 is named as it has been home to us for years. Welcome to our home.


18 months. For some that may not feel like a long time but for us it felt like forever. In the end, every minute was worth the wait. It’s not perfect but as we said before a home is made. Our work was just beginning.

Lucky for us, most of the work was cosmetic. Our new home was a warehouse and office. It had two washrooms and two floors. With a few coats of paint, a new floor, a bar, and some finishing touches, it will work nicely. We’ll turn it into the right mix for a workspace, brewhouse and a cozy taproom.

First step: Cleaning. Oh boy, does it need a cleaning. There was welding dust on the walls, a stained ceiling, and drywall holes everywhere. Time to roll up our sleeves, dip into some elbow grease and get to work. As we washed, patched and painted, we began to see everything come to life. We saw where we’d put our chairs and tables. We saw images of people sitting, drinking, laughing. We saw our beer flow from our taps and we knew those 18 months before were nothing. That was the past. We saw the future. We saw 948 as we’ve always wanted it to be. A place for home. A place for beer. A place for you.

Move in!

Cleaning and painting completed, it was time to move equipment in. All of the equipment had been moved from Dandy 1 and put into storage in Airdrie. Storage is a very nice way of saying our families volunteered to give up garage space to house as much as each location could hold.

Thank you to Rob for the giant truck you provided to make the move easier. Thank you to Jeremy, Al and all the helping hands we had that day. The emotional support you’ve continually provided transformed to physical labour, delivering the heart of our new home that day.

Thank you to Mom (!!!!) for allowing us to store an entire brew house in your garage for 6 months and thank you always for your guidance and life lessons . Thank you to Dave’s lovely wife for her patience with equipment often overflowing onto her side of the garage and for putting up with two men on a wild adventure to open a nano brewery.

The Bar

The Bar. The heart of our home.

The pieces we’d been gathering for a while have finally come together:

Taps! These chrome icons once poured the liquid gold of Dandy Brewing. We only changed what we needed to make it our own. What once gave life to Dandy will now pour for us.

We drill holes, re-wrap lines, and add new legs for it to stand on. Not to forget but to give new life to a piece that means so much to us.

The frame. A sturdy structure for our community to lean on, to hold them up. A place to gather for support.

A bar top. Not just a place for beer but conversation, a place to share ideas, ideals and banter. The hard work put into it will see hundreds and thousands of hours of friendship, spilled pints, and will reverberate with laughter.

We have a heartbeat, it’s nearly time to brew.

1 year after open

Wow. It’s been quite the year. Opening Match 14th, 2020 for 4 hours to participate in the Airdrie brewery tour. Only 3 beers on tap. Keeping up with the bus loads of people who came in to support us on our first day. Then getting an email 3 days later informing us that all Alberta taprooms are closed.

Fast forward 365 days. Here we are. 2021! We are open for pints and flights with 12 taps full of our constantly rotating flavors. Our off sale fridge is full with an even bigger selection of those brews. We’ve created 35 different beers so far with more on the way. Week after week, changing rules and restrictions, we cherish every moment that we see all of you enter our doors, post your photos and show 948 some love in all your own ways.

We couldn’t have done this without You. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We hope to see you soon.


Dave and Kyle