Brewing a business: St. John's Beer Tours inviting visitors to soak up the city

Give in to Beer Pressure is the slogan of a new St. John's business highlighting Newfoundland craft beer and culture.

Owner Kayla Walters passionate about meeting tourists, sharing Newfoundland culture

Kayla Walters, right, has been teaching English literature for the past seven years, and plans to draw on those skills in the classroom to teach people about beer tasting, the brewing process and the history and culture of Newfoundland. (Sandra Lee)

Kayla Walters has travelled solo around many parts of Europe, and found the best way to meet people, learn about a different culture and enjoy a safe evening out on the town is to hook up with a tour group.

"My love is craft beer so I would always try to find a beer tour where I was visiting," said Walters.

Those experiences will come in handy as she launches her brand new business: St. John's Beer Tours.

Kayla Walters decided to start the business after getting into a conversation about beer with tourists from Ontario in a downtown bar. She ended up describing the different beers made here, drew them a map of where they should go to taste them, and they told her she should do it for a living. (Sandra Lee)

"We're trying to profile as much Newfoundland craft beer as possible."

Walters, 31, has a background in education, and she's planning to bring that experience to her new venture.

"I guess I've gone more into the tourism side of things, more into the travels and finding that true passion there," said Walters.

"Meeting tourists and sharing Newfoundland with them everywhere I've gone has always left me with the warm and fuzzies."

Getting in on the ground floor 

The craft beer movement has taken off in Newfoundland and Labrador over the past few years, and Walters felt the time was right to showcase what's on offer. 

"Right now we have six established breweries and labels and there's six that I know of that are … in the process of starting up … so it's going to grow exponentially this year and I don't see that stopping," Walters told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

Kayla Walters plans to highlight four different breweries to start: Yellowbelly, Port Rexton Brewing, Mill Street — which locally brews a California Common-style beer called Jigger's Delight — and Quidi Vidi Brewery, where people can sit outside to enjoy a drink. (Kayla Walters)

"We're so known for our drinking culture and being people who enjoy a good time, and really it's only been the screech-in ceremony that's really celebrated that, and the kitchen party, so I'm trying to amalgamate those."

Walters said the response from business owners she's approached to partner on the tour has been overwhelmingly positive, and potential customers are excited about it too. 

Participants will get a beer-tasting journal to take notes throughout the tour and a Newfoundland beer diploma at the end. (Sandra Lee)

She was thrilled when a Facebook contest to give away two tour tickets got thousands of hits. 

"I got goose bumps. It's great, it's always a gamble but it's nice to see that everyone is just as interested in this as me, that vote of confidence, so I'm using that and going forward with it."

The first of four tours on offer is set to belly up to the bar June 2.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show