News / Halifax

More craft beer coming to Halifax: a 'great time' for the north end

Two new breweries will soon add even more locally-made quaffing options to Halifax's growing menu of craft beer.

Construction has already begun on Wrought Iron Brewing Company, set to be opening its doors this May on Robie Street in the city's north end.

A few blocks over, near Java Blend coffee shop on North Street, work is also underway on Unfiltered Brewing — a new invention by a former brewmaster at Rockbottom Brewpub.

When it comes to new craft breweries moving into the neighbourhood, Peter Burbridge of North Brewing Company, which has called Agricola Street home for the past two years, is only thrilled.

“I’m excited to become the ‘north end brewing district,” he said of the area on Friday. “It’s a great time for everyone in the neighbourhood.”

With two new microbreweries moving in, the area’s total increased to five, including North Company, Granite Brewery on Stairs Street and Propeller Brewery on Gottingen Street.

Competition is no worry for local brewery owners like himself, Burbridge explains, because new businesses simply means more excitement for all things “beer culture.”

In fact, he hopes with the new openings people will soon begin flocking to the neighbourhood just for the beer, and believes there’s a place for all breweries on that rotation.

“Craft beers drinkers are not necessarily brand loyal, they like options,” he explained.

Mike Maloney of the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation agreed, adding that exploration is part and parcel with drinking locally crafted beer —good news for any new businesses on the scene.

“It’s not an exclusive club,” he said of the market on Friday.

“People who enjoy craft beer also like to explore. That’s part of the appeal of it.”

The corporation’s second quarter sales report, which tracks figures from last June to September, charted what Maloney says is the “highest growth I think we’ve ever seen,” in craft beer.

The reports indicates that provincial sales of craft beer increased by nearly 29 per cent to $1.5-million compared to last year.

Although the corporation only stocks beers from six of the province’s 20 local craft breweries, that’s a jump from just two local producers the year before, Maloney said.

He cites the growing popularity of craft beer to the strength of the local movement, which accounts for robust sales across products, from food to beer, wine and cider.

“Tastes are changing,” he said. “People prefer to know where their stuff is made, who makes it and how it’s made.”

A spokesperson from the NSLC says one out of every two craft beers sold in their stores are local products.