Nova Scotia

2 Cape Breton craft breweries looking at expansion

Cape Breton's only craft breweries are both expanding to meet an unquenchable thirst for local beer, aiming to make their beer more available to people across the province.

Big Spruce Brewing opening a second brewery, while Breton Brewing is shifting to can production

Jeremy White, owner and alesmith of Big Spruce Brewing, near Baddeck, says they supply 45 locations. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

Cape Breton's only craft breweries are both expanding to meet an unquenchable thirst for local beer, aiming to make their brews more available to people across Nova Scotia.

Big Spruce Brewing, which opened just three-and-half years ago, has already maxed out its production capacity at its current brewery.

Supplying 45 locations, with more on waiting lists, made expansion inevitable, said owner Jeremy White.

Owner Jeremy White says Big Spruce has maxed its production capacity. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

"Right now we just can't satisfy that demand, so something had to be done," he said.

With funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, New Dawn Enterprises and Business Development Bank of Canada, Big Spruce is building a second brewery across the road from its location on the Yankee Line in Nyanza, just outside Baddeck. 

The 560 square-metre building will allow the company to produce its most popular beers in greater quantity.

White says construction will start in the next few weeks, with the goal of producing beer there by November. 

"It's going to be nice to get to a point in our business where we don't have to be so worried about where we're going to get beer for orders in a given week," he said.

Closer to Sydney, the folks at Breton Brewing are also hard at work.

Breton Brewing co-founders Bryan MacDonald, left, and Andrew Morrow. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

Along with selling their product in growlers, they're now putting four of their beers in cans. 

Co-owner Bryan MacDonald carefully works the canning system, while his partner Andrew Morrow keeps up with the brewing end of things. 

"We're canning a couple of times a week right now," said MacDonald. "Basically we're going from zero stores to approximately 40 [Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation] stores, so the demand is quite high and we're trying to keep up with that."

Breton Brewing has sent out 20,000 cans so far.

MacDonald says he and his partner are pleased with their expansion and the public's response.  

"We just launched [cans] on Monday and already stores are running out of our beers, so it's a good sign," he said.

"I think people like our product and now it's more easily accessible for them."

Big Spruce is also planning to can beer once its new facility is built.

The breweries have nine employees a piece — a mix of full and part-time workers.