Beer... in this place: new road signs point to nearest brews

Big beers ahead. The latest New Brunswick tourism signs are of roadside brews built to entice travellers to taverns.

Province's new blue beer signs let travellers know where they can grab some local suds

The newest 'supplementary service signs' going up in New Brunswick point travellers to taverns and microbreweries. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Big beers ahead. 

The latest New Brunswick tourism signs are of roadside brews built to entice travellers to taverns. 

And now several blue signs showing a mug full of suds have been installed on New Brunswick's Vanier Highway to let  drivers know beer is right around the corner at the Maybee Brewing Co.

'It suggests that you're going to be able to pull off the highway to a sports bar or something and grab a quick cold beer.' - David Coon, Green Party leader

"When I saw it, too, I was a little bit surprised even though I had applied for it," said Paul Maybee, the owner of Maybee Brewing.

Maybee said that once he knew the option existed it was a simple matter of requesting the signs from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

After a brief inspection of his brewery, the signs were installed a few weeks later.  

Several new signs installed on New Brunswick's Vanier Highway point the way to the Maybee Brewing Co. in Fredericton (Shane Fowler/CBC)

"As soon as I put on Instagram and Facebook that we have a highway sign, now that day, I got four or five phone calls and messages from other breweries saying 'I didn't know you could do this.'" said Maybee.

Advertising drinking to drivers on provincial road signs may turn a few heads, but it isn't new. Wineries and wine tours have been featured for years. 

The beer mug symbol indicates a "microbrewery," according to the "supplementary service symbols" listing on the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure website.  

Message not clear

Paul Maybee, owner of Maybee Brewing, says after requesting the highway signs and getting a short inspection of his brewery, the signs were soon installed. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Still, there are some who feel the message behind the image of a roadside beer should be clarified.

"We have a great microbrewery industry in New Brunswick and we need to tell everyone about it," said David Coon, leader of the Green Party. "But I think the sign that they've got is misleading.

"It suggests that you're going to be able to pull off the highway to a sports bar or something and grab a quick cold beer." 

In a statement to CBC News about the newly installed signs, government spokesperson Johanne LeBlanc said the NB Craft  Alcohol Producers Association asked the departments of Transportation and Infrastructure and Tourism, Heritage and Culture last year for a symbol that would represent the breweries in the province.

"After an evaluation, the request was approved and work was done with the association to create criteria for the new service symbol," she said.