Big hit

Great re­views for the first Craft Beer Farm­ers’ Mar­ket.

Annapolis Valley Register - - FRONT PAGE - BY LAWRENCE POW­ELL THE SPEC­TA­TOR

Nova Sco­tia’s first Craft Beer Farm­ers’ Mar­ket drew al­most a dozen ven­dors on its first day – and lots of cus­tomers.

A steady stream of craft beer lovers, in­clud­ing Premier Stephen Mc­neil, made their way through Annapolis Royal’s Mar­ket Square on May 13 to sam­ple the wares and pick up a few cans, bot­tles, or growlers.

The mar­ket con­cept started with Danny Mc­clair and Paul St Lau­rent of Annapolis Brew­ing Com­pany. They booked the space from the town for every Sun­day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. un­til the fall.

If they were prog­nos­ti­cat­ing a good turnout for such a ven­ture, they were right. Pre­dicted bad weather turned warm and sunny and ven­dors from across the Annapolis Val­ley set up in the rus­tic mar­ket booths and were busy for four straight hours.

“For the first ever Nova Sco­tia Craft Beer, Spir­its, and Wine Farm­ers’ Mar­ket we’re happy with the turnout,” said St Lau­rent. “The weather’s been co-op­er­a­tive and we ex­pect it to get busier and busier as we move on into the sea­son. But we’re happy with the turnout.”

Cus­tomers were able to sam­ple craft beer, cider, wine, and spir­its, along with kom­bucha, a healthy, pro­bi­otic, non-al­co­hol drink made from fer­mented tea and fruits, herbs, and botan­i­cals. They could then pur­chase their favourites.

Good Feed­back

St Lau­rent said the feed­back from those pur­chas­ing from the ven­dors has been great.

“They keep telling us this is great, it’s per­fect for the area,” said Mc­clair. “It’s been a long time com­ing.”

“We’d like to add more ven­dors ob­vi­ously as we go on,” said St Lau­rent. “It’s a great spot right here across from the wharf on a beau­ti­ful sunny day … we’d like to see it get to 15 or 20 ideally as a goal.”

Just like the ven­dors, the clien­tele came from all over.

“I just ac­tu­ally served a gen­tle­man from Halifax,” said St Lau­rent. “He drove up here to­day, from Halifax, for this mar­ket. He’s see­ing brew­eries that aren’t pre­dom­i­nantly show­cased in the city. So it’s great. He’ll head back to the city now and talk about the beers he’s tasted here. It’s nice to see that peo­ple will come from all over. As the tourist sea­son keeps go­ing now we should have peo­ple from all over the world tast­ing our beers.”

Asked how he thought the in- au­gu­ral event was go­ing, Mc­clair was pos­i­tive about the first day.

“I’m go­ing to have to go with ‘un­real,’” he said. “I’m re­ally pleased with the turnout. There’s peo­ple com­ing in and out. It’s a steady crowd. It’s not su­per crowded yet but I’m sure we’ll get there, but it gives us time to talk to peo­ple, talk about our prod­ucts, and in­tro­duce them to new things, have a chat, and see what they’re look­ing for.”

Changes Com­ing

Mc­neil, at home in his own rid­ing, stopped and talked with every ven­dor. He said changes to help the craft brew­ing sec­tor are com­ing soon.

Mc­clair said the May 13 open­ing was just the start and bodes well for the mar­ket.

“I rec­om­mend peo­ple come back every Sun­day,” he said. “We have va­ri­ety and one-stop shop­ping. They get to sam­ple prod­ucts, they get to in­ter­act with the peo­ple who are mak­ing their drink.”

Among ven­dors were Hor­ton Ridge, Lunn’s Mill, Annapolis Brew­ing, Way­farer’s, Me­an­der River, So­las Kom­bucha, Casa Nova, Still Fired Distillery, and Roof Hound. Dar­ren Rod­well manned a booth that sold hand crafted growler car­ri­ers, wine racks, and other re­lated items.

LAWRENCE POW­ELL

Craft beer brew­ers, spir­its dis­tillers, wine and cider mak­ers, and kom­bucha mak­ers at­tended the first ever Craft Beer Farm­ers’ Mar­ket May 13 at Mar­ket Square in Annapolis Royal. There were 10 ven­dors and a steady line of cus­tomers who think craft brewed is the way to go. Among those sam­pling the wares was Premier Stephen Mc­neil, who lives just a few min­utes away. The event was started by Danny Mc­clair and Paul St Lau­rent of Annapolis Brew­ing Com­pany and runs every Sun­day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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