An Edmundston microbrewery tapped its inaugural keg this weekend, christening New Brunswick’s newest craft brewery amidst concerns the industry will be stymied by new liquor laws.
The Petit-Sault Brewers/Brasseurs du Petit-Sault brew out of an old police station in the city’s downtown.
Brewery director Mychele Poitras says the brewery is trying to involve the entire community and its history.
More than 80 shareholders from the area invested in the beers named after people from Edmundston's past.
"We really wanted our beers to tell our stories. We juggled several ideas and finally came up with these unsung heroes, I would call them. One is a prospector, he never really found anything but worked really hard," she said.
Another beer is named after an Acadian heroine who helped save the people of Madawaska County from a famine in the late 1700s.
What started out as a few friends who enjoyed making has beer turned into a business.
"I've got a Ph.D in plant sciences. A lot of my research was using yeast. It translates well into brewing," said brewer Gavin Anderson.
Hovering around the debut celebration is the news that the laws governing craft breweries are changing.
The new Brewery Agency Stores (BAS) policy requires microbreweries to sell 10,000 litres of beer in NB Liquor stores. A BAS licence allows a brewer to sell beer on-site for consumption off-site.
Poitras says every start-up coming after hers will have trouble.
“It's really sad actually. We were lucky in the sense that we started up before this law came about. It seems, from what we gather, aimed at smaller breweries, which is really sad because these smaller breweries are fun and interesting tourism attractions in towns throughout New Brunswick,” she said.
Poitras says micro-breweries are also great for jobs. Hers employs four people.
NB Liquor has said the policy has been developed internally and was not meant to hurt small businesses trying to set up in the brewing industry