The thirst is real

The Hal­i­fax Bev­er­age Expo high­lights non-al­co­holic bev­er­age busi­nesses.

The Coast - - FOOD + DRINK - BY RE­BECCA DINGWELL

HFX Bev­er­age Expo 2018 Sun­day April 9, 9am-7pm Dal­housie Stu­dent Union Build­ing $7/$5 hfxbev.com

Get ready to get hy­drated (and make sure there’s a bath­room nearby). The first Hal­i­fax Bev­er­age Expo is tak­ing place this week­end.

“We want a re­ally di­verse crowd,” says Phil Hol­mans, owner of World Tea House. He’s or­ga­niz­ing the expo with David Moore of Tea North. “We also want to fo­cus on the peo­ple who like craft.”

With no short­age of wine and beer fes­ti­vals to choose from, this fest is of­fer­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent. “We’re a booze-cen­tric prov­ince. That’s OK. But there are a lot of non-al­co­holic bev­er­ages that come from Nova Sco­tia,” says Moore.

Hol­mans started the Hal­i­fax Tea Fes­ti­val with Ash­ton Ro­den­hiser in 2015, but there were never enough tea-cen­tric busi­nesses to fill the space in the Hal­i­fax Fo­rum. This year, Hol­mans ex­panded the idea, went with a dif­fer­ent venue and got Moore on board. Thus, the Hal­i­fax Bev­er­age Expo was born.

Although it’s not ex­clu­sively fo­cused on tea—cof­fee, smooth­ies, kom­bucha and more will be in the mix—the expo is still on track to be a tea-lover’s dream. Hourly sem­i­nars are also part of the event, “so we’re go­ing to ed­u­cate peo­ple on this prod­uct,” says Hol­mans. On top of that, he’s us­ing the expo as an op­por­tu­nity to de­but some bar­rel-aged teas.

The se­lec­tion in­cludes In­dian oo­long that’s been aged in a gin bar­rel, white tea aged in a sauvi­gnon blanc bar­rel and a black tea called As­sam aged in a port bar­rel. Those bar­rels were cour­tesy of 2 Crows Brew­ing: a tes­ta­ment to how small busi­ness own­ers help each other out.

“I like that sense of com­mu­nity and that’s re­ally what we want to put for­ward in the fes­ti­val. The sense of com­mu­nity with the bev­er­age in­dus­try,” says Hol­mans.

While sup­port­ing lo­cal is a big part of the expo, Hol­mans em­pha­sizes that the event isn’t ex­clu­sive. In fact, David’s Tea will be one of the big­ger com­pa­nies present along with the se­lec­tion of lo­cally-owned ven­dors.

“If it doesn’t have al­co­hol in it and you drink it, we want it there.”

Coupons are avail­able at var­i­ous busi­nesses around town (such as World Tea House) for $2 off the en­try fee.

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