Ev­ery­thing is A-OK at Hell Bay

Liver­pool’s Hell Bay con­tin­ues to grow, sev­eral events planned this sum­mer


Although Hell Bay’s not hop­ping yet to­day, things in the back are busy. It’s noon on a Wed­nes­day, and Ian Walker is bot­tling beer. Mark Bal­lie, who co-owns the brew­ery with Me­lanie Per­ron, is serv­ing cus­tomers.

The red build­ing at 38 Le­gion Street in Liver­pool used to be a place one might go to find an­tique fur­ni­ture or dish­ware. Now it’s a place where peo­ple will find pints, growlers, a brew ket­tle and a mash tun. That’s be­cause it’s Hell Bay Brew­ing Com­pany.

In the last six years, Hell Bay has grown from 300-litre batches to four 10-bar­rell tanks and two 500-litre tanks. There are also five brite tanks, says Bail­lie.

Back in the day, if peo­ple wanted beer from Hell Bay, they would have to wind their way

along High­way 331 to an old grey barn in Cherry Hill, Lunen­burg County. That barn opened its doors for busi­ness April 1, 2011.

“I ren­o­vated a sec­tion of the barn, bought some small tanks, and we could do about four kegs a week,” said Bail­lie.

The brew­ery’s first client was Lane’s Pri­va­teer Inn in Liver­pool. That sum­mer, Lane’s was the sole busi­ness Hell Bay sold its kegs to. From there, things grew a lit­tle more, and Bail­lie and Per­ron were able to do 300-litre batches. Busi­ness in and out of the barn kept grow­ing.

The move

“Then we de­cided to take the leap and get a big­ger spot and some big­ger gear,” said Bail­lie.

As to why the co-own­ers chose Liver­pool as a spot to pull pints, Bail­lie says the two had lived in the com­mu­nity.

“It was a lit­tle closer to the heart,” he added.

Bail­lie and Per­ron took pos­ses­sion of the build­ing in Jan­uary 2012 and opened that spring. Ini­tially, it was just a store and not a tap­room. Bail­lie says the craft brew­ing in­dus­try in the prov­ince was still quite young when Hell Bay opened.

It was the fifth or sixth brew­ery in Nova Sco­tia, and now there are more than 40, in­clud­ing brew­pubs.

For Bail­lie, open­ing a brew­ery only made sense.

“I’d home-brewed for years,” he said.

Hand­crafted beer, like Hell Bay beer, is pretty much ex­actly as it sounds. Ev­ery­thing is done by hand.

“We grind the grains here. We mash it in with a wooden pad­dle back there,” ex­plained Bail­lie.

He says ev­ery­thing at the brew­ery is ba­sic; noth­ing is au­to­mated. Ev­ery­thing is hands-on.

Bail­lie says work­ing in the

craft brew­ing in­dus­try is re­ward­ing, espe­cially when peo­ple come in to com­pli­ment their prod­ucts. There are also beer fes­ti­vals around the prov­ince, and Bail­lie and Per­ron get to at­tend those events.

When they’re not host­ing or at­tend­ing events, is there a typ­i­cal work­day? Not re­ally, says Bail­lie.

“It’s kind of a weekly cy­cle.” First, they en­cour­age their li­censees to sub­mit or­ders early in the week. Mid-week is when bot­tling be­gins for NSLC and pri­vate liquor store or­ders. Along with all that, there’s also brew­ing.

As far as what’s to come, Bail­lie says there are lots of ideas but noth­ing con­crete yet.


Mark Bail­lie, co-owner of Hell Bay Brew­ing Com­pany, pours a growler for a cus­tomer.


Mark Bail­lie, co-owner of Hell Bay Brew­ing Com­pany, checks the grains.


Ian Walker boxes bot­tles of beer.

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