Local wineries and breweries play a vital role in your local economy. While many people will still go for your typical Budweiser or Barefoot selections, the increase in local drinks connoisseurs over the past few decades has been significant – infusing strong growth in the microbrewery and micro winery industries. Especially in Nova Scotia!
As we preach supporting local stores and businesses, we can’t forget about local wineries and breweries. This industry is vital to the social life of each city. And, as small businesses, important contributors to our local economies.
Despite the increased market interest, however, they have had their fair share of difficulties. America’s Brewer’s Association listed 2020 as one of the toughest years that local breweries have faced to date.
Yet, despite these difficulties, they have found ways to cope.
And, in support, we’ve highlighted ways we can all help ensure our unique local drinks providers continue to thrive.
Choose a local brewery or winery for your next outing
There’s a general consensus that buying local results in more benefits than buying from big box chains.
According to the Sustainable Connections Organization, buying local is not only better for the environment, it also ensures that more people from your community are employed, while contributing to your community’s public infrastructure through social and economic support. You can find out more about how to support your local economy here.
Thankfully, local Breweries typically populate the downtown of most cities, so you’ll have lots to choose from. And most of them offer great snack foods as well. You’ll even find many that offer a full menu. Check out North Brewing Company’s food and drinks menu for an enticing Dartmouth local brewery as a sterling example.
Furthermore, microbreweries and wineries tend to accomplish three things that their big box counterparts can’t.
1. Great Food
A quick walk down Argyle Street in Halifax displays this beautifully. There are some cool local brewery restaurants there – Gahan House being a much loved PEI brewery known for great food and handcrafted beer. And many of the restaurants on this now largely pedestrianized street pride themselves on serving a variety of local craft beers, ciders and wines.
In fact Auction House proudly boasts that they have:
And what’s A Meter of Beer, you may ask? Well, it’s a sampling of 10 different brews. Now that’s something every beer lover’s gotta experience! And a great education in beer craft to boot!
2. Quality Drinks
Since breweries and wineries can’t rely on a mass amount of resources to produce their products, they tend to brew in-house. And it’s widely recognized that craft beer contains deeper and richer tones as a result. This can be attributed to the honing of the craft beer craze that started just a few decades ago.
For most of Canadian history, the beer industry was dominated by three chains. However, these products resulted in rather light and almost watery beers, due to the sheer amount of production required. As the 1980s approached, people had a hunger for richer beers, which was why the craft beer industry became popular.
Local breweries and wineries have the advantage of creativity — they get to cultivate their products in-house, on their own land. They get to experiment with different flavours and mixtures. So if you end up going to a brewery or a winery for your next outing, you will get to experience a full range of local tastes and notes that you wouldn’t have tried otherwise!
3. More eco-friendly
By purchasing from your community brewery or winery, you’re also indirectly supporting other local producers. Local brewers and wine-makers typically purchase resources from other local businesses – which lowers their carbon footprint.
In fact, sourcing locally is almost baked into their practice.
Wine connoisseurs are typically interested in the “terroir” of wine. This means that different regional wines are defined by their taste — and their taste is mostly defined by the land on which it is cultivated. In fact, lots of micro wineries choose to cultivate their own wine-grapes on local land for this very reason. It lends their brand a terroir that no other can provide.
Garrison Brewing, an amazing pub near the Halifax waterfront, makes a point of prioritizing sustainability. In fact, they specialize in environmentally friendly and natural products. They also have a unique atmosphere and a wide selection of beers to choose from. Great food too. Check them out if you haven’t already!
Now, let’s explore some ways to support local wineries and breweries to make the most of all these benefits!
Attend events held at your local brewery and winery
Your local brewery and winery will host different events, from theme nights to beer or wine tastings. A lot of pubs are also known for their comedy nights. This is when patrons get to enjoy a drink and a comedy show for an affordable price. In doing so, these breweries and wineries bring together close-knit communities, and you can get to know more people who share the same passions and interests that you have!
You can visit your local event postings. Sometimes, breweries and wineries will also list their upcoming events in a calendar on their website. This can be a great way for you to keep up with fun things to do in your community.
Hold your own events there
Aside from the events that the breweries and wineries organize, you can also host your own events there – whether it be a work party or a wedding reception! For example, Lightfood & Wolfville Vineyards is great wedding venue, just an hour outside of Halifax. This can create a unique atmosphere for your guests, and you can have fun experiences, like wine-tasting, for them to try.
And it’s not just wineries – local breweries can make great wedding venues too! In fact, East Coast Pop Up Weddings has a section entitled, “A craft beer lover’s paradise. Brews before I dos is a must in downtown Halifax.”
There are lot of other ways to support your local drinks providers outside of their actual premises.
Oftentimes, microbreweries and wineries will sell their own merch, whether it be cool sweaters or snapback hats with an interesting design on the front. You can support your favourite brewery or winery by sporting their graphic designs for all to see.
Additionally, your local breweries and wineries will also sell a lot of their beers and wines at your local alcohol store. If you find that you forgot to bring a gift to a party, you can pop in at your local Co-op Wine, Spirits, Beers shop and purchase beer made from your local brewery. Instead of putting your money towards a big chain beer corporation like Budweiser, you can invest in some good quality local beer.
Not sure which to choose? Just ask! Most wine and beer stores LOVE to chat about all the local options available and their knowledge can help you choose your next new favourite – or great local gifts for your beer or wine loving friends.
And, as mentioned above, you can always ask for, and choose, a local option when you’re out dining or partying with friends to support our local brewers and wine-makers!
Tell your friends about it
Sometimes, the most effective way to support your favourite brewery or winery is to spread the word. A lot of people are eager and curious to discover new things in their community.
Your friends and family might equally enjoy the local brewery and winery that you enjoy, and they’ll happily make purchases of their own. Excited, they tell their friends and on-and-on it goes, generating a happy word-of-mouth referral snowball effect that draws more and more new customers.
So many wins!
We hope we’ve inspired you to get out there and find more local breweries and wineries to enjoy. Doing so will grow your local economy and keep this important industry thriving and innovating. So they can keep delivering the delicious food and drink flavours that only your home local can provide.
Now, we’ve only scratched the surface of Nova Scotia microbreweries and wineries in this blog. To find more of each, check out the “Our Breweries” page of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia here and the Wineries page at Tourism Nova Scotia here.
Speaking of – what are some of your favourite local breweries and wineries – either in Nova Scotia or elsewhere? Feel free to talk them up in the comments below, so the rest of us can check them out when we’re in the area!