Edgerton on tap for laugh show

By Geoff Lee

April 26, 2016 6:00 AM

Bruce Anderson, Ribstone Creek Brewery's general manager, stands in his Village of Edgerton brewery, a focal point for the CBC's popular Still Standing show, which is set to hit the small town soon.

If laughter is the best medicine, the Village of Edgerton doesn’t need any doctors.
Frantic Films will be in Edgerton May 12-16 to shoot video about town folks who are able to laugh in the face of adversity.
“It’s pretty incredible, we are really excited about it,” said Mayor Barb Sjoquist, who noted her town can definitely laugh at itself.
“We are rural people; we like to have fun” she said.
The week will culminate in a live-to-tape episode for CBC Television’s Still Standing series with standup comedy by Johnny Harris joking about the town.
The final episode footage might include Sjoquist touring Harris about town on the back of her Harley.
“I think we’re going to have fun with him when he comes to town,” said Sjoquist.
Harris’s comedy show will take place at the Agriculture Hall May 16 beginning at 6:30 p.m.
“The show itself is a hoot,” said Shayla Howell, story producer for Frantic Films.
“I can’t tell you how many times people have left the show and said, ‘I didn’t even know that about my town.’ “
For Still Standing, Harris explores small towns experiencing hardships and performs a standup show for the locals who have stuck it out and know how to laugh at themselves.
“It’s a celebration,” said Howell.
“We are looking for towns that are really affected by change.”
Howell said Edgerton was suggested to their research team as a great example of a town pulling together to diversify its agricultural and oil economy with something new.
“They have a good story,” said Howell, who was in Edgerton two weeks ago to dig up leads.
“They opened a brewery.”
The Ribstone Creek Brewery is the brainchild of a village administrator, a farmer, a lawyer,  and a mechanic who wanted to create a business in the town they grew up in.
During last downturn in the oilpatch, the local dreamers latched on an idea to turn an old tractor shop into a craft brewery that produced its first craft beer in the fall of 2012.
“Before I started talking to people I thought that was unlikely in a town that isn’t really on the way to anything,” said Howell.
There’s only 400 people in Edgerton, but it turns out you don’t need a lot of people to have a successful brewery.
“You just need to have passion and commitment and good water helps.”
Sjoquist said the entire community is thankful for the success of Ribstone Brewery.
“From the beginnings of four guys, the founders who were just sort of brainstorming how they could give back to their community, to see it become a reality, to see it growing like it is, is amazing,” she said.
The exposure from Still Standing will add horsepower to the brewery’s ongoing expansion.
“The salesforce out there and the word of mouth—we’re selling the beer almost faster than we can make it,” said Bruce Anderson, Ribstone Creek Brewery’s general manager.
“It’s wonderful, but it’s still a problem—we do not want to run out when we’ve got this momentum going for us.”
The brewery plans to double production of 306,000 cans of craft beer in 2015 to up 700,000 in 2016.
“With 20 paycheques coming out of here, it makes us the second largest employer in town behind the school,” said Anderson.
Anderson expects the brewery will be one of the prime interview locations for Harris where the comedian might participate in a brewing activity to get a sense of how the brewery is run. While about town, Harris will be mining material for his standup routine.
“I can pretty well guarantee they’ll be making me fun of me,” said Anderson, who was spraying dandelions while speaking to the Source.
“It’s the whole town and all the crazy people that are in the surrounding areas that have been interviewed,” he said.
“It will be a real fun event.”
The Still Standing show will also help project Edgerton to CBC viewers as an open minded community.
“Everyone is so nice and hospitable and they tell me they see themselves as very accepting of new ideas and really supportive of one another,” said producer Howell.
She noted most of the brewery investors are people from town adding they were happy to support the brewery that’s become an economic generator that Sojquist is revviing up.
Added Mayor Sjoquist: “Since I’ve been on council (25 years) we’ve really tried to focus on things you could create here or grow, but not necessarily try to sell to the people here.”
Ribstone Creek Brewing markets and distributes its beers to the entire province through Connect Logistics in Edmonton. “Our challenge now is to grow the rest of the community through the opportunities that the brewery is providing,” said Sjoquist.
“There’s people coming here, so what else can we do with them in terms of tourism and other businesses?”
Sjoquist said, as a community, it’s always a work in progress.
“What comes next?” said asked.

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