Mr. November - Neil Herbst
The “hop father” and owner of Alley Kat Brewery just wanted to buy some Prairie Mill bread at the City Market Downtown when he was asked if he’d be willing to be in a new calendar to raise funds for the Food Bank. It was only later he found out that meant he’d have to get “sexy” but Neil says “it was for a good cause.” The calendar is just one of the many ways Alley Kat has supported Edmonton’s Food Bank over the years.
Alley Kat, located in a small industrial area south of the Whitemud between 99 street and the rail tracks, has become a feature in Edmonton in its 20 years. It’s leader is the affable Neil Herbst who greets people with a broad friendly smile. A former civil servant Neil opened Alley Kat 20 years ago this year. He started it because he thought it would be a fun business to be in and now he says he doesn’t see himself ever fully retiring. “I’ll probably always have my fingers in it. It would be hard to let go.”
Here’s how Neil answered our questions:
Five favourite things about Edmonton
- The people. It’s a friendly city
- The long summer evenings (all the better for enjoying an Alley Kat brew right?)
- Cross country skiing in the winter
- Cycling in the river valley
- The growing number of independent restaurants and pubs. (Many supporting local brews)
Best thing about your job?
Beer! It’s the hospitality industry so people are generally in a good mood.
What is something about your or your business that may surprise people?
“Well, people may be surprised we’re 20 years old.”
Then there’s Jake. “Yeah people may be surprised we have a dog. Since we’re named after a cat.” Jake is the small adorable curly haired dog that takes care of “security”. You can see him and the other Allet Kat staff on their website.
Alley Kat Brewery is Alberta’s fourth oldest micro-brewery. They brew many award-winning brews including 2015 Canadian Brewing Beer of the Year!