Brew­ing some­thing new

For­mer Summerside train sta­tion will be brought back to life as brew­ery

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY ALYSHA CAMP­BELL news­room@jour­nal­pi­oneer.com

The for­mer Summerside train sta­tion turned Summerside Rotary Li­brary will soon be­come a brew­ery for craft beer.

Alex Clark, owner of Open Eats on Wa­ter Street, is set to em­bark on a new pro­ject this fall af­ter buy­ing the land­mark build­ing.

The for­mer train sta­tion was once a gate­way to the city, and Clark wants to cre­ate that once more, he said.

For the last two years, Clark has worked to es­tab­lish Open Eats, a down­town res­tau­rant.

Open Eats took the slow ap­proach, an ap­proach Clark plans on tak­ing with the new brew­ery.

Some peo­ple rush to mar­ket, with­out think­ing or plan­ning, re­sult­ing in fail­ure. But that wasn’t his ap­proach, Clark said.

“The de­mand for lo­cal prod­uct, a good high qual­ity lo­cal prod­uct is amaz­ing. It’s in­cred­i­ble. It’s all peo­ple want.” Alex Clark

“A prop­erty like this has to be vi­able, has to be suc­cess­ful be­cause it is so key to down­town. It is the en­try point to down­town.”

A mi­cro­brew­ery will take over the space, first as a man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity for beer, then down the road, a pub-style res­tau­rant.

“The de­mand for lo­cal prod­uct, a good high qual­ity lo­cal prod­uct is amaz­ing. It’s in­cred­i­ble. It’s all peo­ple want.”

Sell­ing lo­cal beer at Open Eats, Clark has seen the suc­cess, and he wants in on it, he said.

The multi-staged pro­ject will start slowly and steady, feel­ing out what works best and what Summerside truly wants, Clark said.

Bring­ing the build­ing back to life and keep­ing the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of the train sta­tion in­tact are the goals while ren­o­vat­ing the space, he said.

While it may have been plas­tered over while a li­brary, the bones of the train sta­tion are still there.

His vi­sion is to show­case the his­tory, bring char­ac­ter from the past and, most im­por­tantly, de­sign the inside to give the feel­ing of move­ment – the hus­tle and bus­tle of the old train sta­tion.

One beer that fo­cuses on lo­cals will be the main area of con­cern, said Clark — “a small canned prod­uct you can throw in your golf bag or beach bag that you can take any­where.”

The brand­ing and com­pany name are still yet to be re­leased, and they won’t be com­ing soon, as the en­trepreneur will be get­ting mar­ried next month.

Open Eats will re­main the same for the time be­ing. Later, it will be­come a com­ple­men­tary res­tau­rant to the brew­ery that, down the road, will also in­cor­po­rate a pub.

Brew­ing is on the fore­front of the lat­est pro­ject, though, start­ing with small dis­tri­bu­tion to restau­rants and events to al­low time to prop­erly de­velop the brand and prod­uct.

A tap­room and din­ing room will be added to the old train sta­tion later in con­junc­tion with the brew­ery. Open Eats would then be­come a more “re­fined” din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, while both lo­ca­tions play off each other, said Clark.

Summerside Mayor Bill Martin is ex­cited about the pro­ject, he said, and hinted at even big­ger an­nounce­ments to come re­gard­ing the down­town core and eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

ALYSHA CAMPELL/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Alex Clark, owner of Open Eats in Summerside, bought the old train sta­tion and li­brary and plans to turn it into a brew­ery.

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