After a successful soft launch at Sociables Pub this past weekend, Trider’s Craft Beer is set to open the doors to their retail location this Friday at noon. Located at Unit 3 of 46 Anson Avenue in the Amherst Industrial Park, Trider’s is the first brewery in Nova Scotia’s Cumberland County. Business partners Scott Parker, Joe Potter, and Laura Parker have been hard at work for many months planning, building, and now launching the brewery. We asked Scott to bring us up to speed on the Trider’s family (literally), and their plans for Amherst’s local brewery.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Our Brew Master is Joe Potter from Springhill, Nova Scotia. Joe was working as a lawyer in the town of Amherst and has been home brewing for more than a decade. He realized brewing was his true passion and decided to make the plunge and chase a dream of his! Joe has extensive knowledge working with all grain recipes which have garnered a ton of compliments from almost everyone who has tried them. He really does brew a fantastic beer!
I (Scott) was living in Toronto and working for a marketing firm until September 2015, when I decided to move back home to Nova Scotia. At the firm, I worked very closely with SABMiller. Grolsch, Peroni, Fosters, MGD, and Miller Light were some of their beers that I marketed across both Canada and the United States. I worked on the team that handled the entire product launch of Miller Light into the Canadian marketplace. Such a fun experience!
My sister Laura Parker (who happens to be married to Joe), is our Operations Manager and will be managing our tap room/retail location. She brings a wealth of experience to the table from the merchandise management standpoint. She is currently a Veterinary Assistant here in Amherst making the transition with us over the coming months.
Scott has been drinking craft beer since the early days of Picaroons. Craft beer has such an extensive variety when compared to those of the big box brands. There are always new and exciting flavors or styles to try. Joe never buys the same beer twice, knowing there has to be something that he’s never had before. He is a huge fan of the exploding craft beer scene in Nova Scotia. Luckily, he lives right on the NB/NS border so getting his hands on what NB has to offer isn’t too far out of reach for him. Laura prefers the gluten-free alternatives, as she is allergic to wheat. We hope to have a gluten free alternative at some point!
What made you decide to take the step into brewing professionally? Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
Joe started home brewing with his father shortly after finishing high school. Like most home brewers, he started with simple kits, and gradually became more and more advanced with his techniques. Joe has certainly worked though the motions of home brewing, going through extract kits, fruit and spice flavour additions, partial grain steeping, hop teas, dry hopping, and eventually full all grain mashes. The true spirit of brewing is in the ability to experiment and continually push the boundaries of the craft. This applies to everything from ingredients to the equipment being used. Joe always enjoyed building new gear to drive the beer forward. This progressive momentum has done nothing but pick up speed from day one. After making the jump to all grain brewing, it became obvious that the beer he was making had to be shared.
We are opening our doors with sales of beer made on a 40 litre pilot system. We run a three vessel, propane fired, manually driven stainless steel brew house. The bulk of the pilot system was sourced through our buddy Dave at Everwood Ave Brew Shop just outside of Halifax. While each batch is only forty litres, we have more than 300 litres of fermentation space, and a wealth of carefully engineered methods for maintaining strict temperature control. We are carbonating in corny kegs for the moment. The larger system currently under production (with delivery expected in October) is a three vessel, 8.5 hectolitre (7 BBL), electric brew house manufactured by DME in Prince Edward Island. Our fermentors are sourced from a company in China called Jinan Tiantai. There is a lot of talk right now within the industry surrounding sourcing brewhouses from Asian manufacturers. It has certainly become a central theme to discuss with everyone we deal with. We have developed a good relationship with our supplier and raised many of the concerns North American brewers voice when debating the issue. They were the first to point out that there are lot of questionable manufacturers, and that it is crucial for brewers to do their research before buying. Still, it seems that the largest problem is often due to a misunderstanding of the needs of the brewery and the extent of what the manufacturer can actually offer. We noticed right away that Tiantai had figured this out, and were operating in a similar fashion to North American equipment suppliers. We are happy with them so far, and fully expect a quality product to help us bring the beer to our customers.
What are your plans for distribution?
Distribution from now until December will be in our storefront, where we will initially be providing growlers, with 500ml stubbie bottles to follow shortly. During our grand opening later in the fall (after christening our main brewhouse), we expect to have our products listed with the NSLC. We hope to have our 6 packs and 500ml bottles in their stores come the new year. We do have restaurants who are awaiting our kegs and taps but we have agreed to not release their information at this point.
Do you have some accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We currently have our beer on tap at Sociables Pub in Springhill, NS, and may branch out as production allows.
We will be starting with our three staples which are Yellow Beer’d Ale, Rod’s Red, and our Scotian Pale Ale. Yellow Beer’d is a very friendly 5.0% ABV Blonde with a hint of Citra and Columbus hops at the end of each sip. We want this to be an introductory beer into the craft beer scene for those of us who have yet to develop a taste for the more full flavored beers available. Rod’s Red is Joe’s late father’s secret recipe. It’s a very smooth 5.0% ABV Red with a nice finish of malted barley. Dark in color, but light in feel. Our Scotian Pale Ale is an exciting take on the classic and very popular IPA. Our S.P.A. is a very nice pale ale that is dry hopped with Cascade hops that will be sourced from a local hop farms (Wysmykal Farms). We will have rotating seasonals such as Oxford Blue (Blueberry wheat ale), Maccan Maple (Maple beer brewed with sap from our own maple trees), and the Coal Miner Stout. Again, we are aiming at having easy drinking craft beer in hopes of getting more people into the craft beer scene that normally wouldn’t stray too far from their usual big box brands. We want to share the amazing beers that our province has to offer and would like even more people enjoying the various beers of Nova Scotia.
Have you had any assistance from other breweries and other folks people in Atlantic Canada?
Absolutely! The gang at Jym Line has been massively helpful. They provide around 90% of the craft beer scene with a lot of their glassware. They gave us a few pointers and have provided us with contact info for a few of the local breweries. Unfortunately, we have not reached out to all of them yet. Sean at Picaroons has been a large help and Aaron from Halifax Folding Cartons is absolutely incredible. I recommend anyone who needs beer boxes made to contact Aaron. We have been keeping a close eye on Upstreet in PEI and absolutely love everything they are doing. We have a number of friends working as staff for them and are always happy to hear about the inside scoop. A lot of Scott’s contacts from his time working with SABMiller have been a large help.
Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
We hope to be a household name with beer drinkers throughout the province in three years. We really want to be the stepping stone into the craft beer scene for the “craft curious” who might not like that double IPA right away or the non beer drinkers who would like to start drinking beer.
Scott’s favourite craft beer is currently Boxing Rock‘s Hunky Dory while Joe seems unwilling to pick any favourites. Scott is a fan of very strong IPA’s generally, and Joe isn’t happy unless he has had a crisp clean ale followed by a rich and malty dark brew.
Thank you to Scott for sharing the info on Trider’s! Their retail location will be open today from noon until 10pm, and Saturday 12 to 10pm, for 1.89 litre growler sales and fills of Yellow Beer’d Ale and Rod’s Red, as well as merchandise. Until their Grand Opening later in the fall, they will be open Thursday (4-10pm), in addition to the Friday and Saturday hours. Look for the launch of their 500 ml bottles of Scotian Pale Ale in the coming weeks. And be sure to head to the Amherst Fire Department’s Rocktoberfest, being held at the Fire Hall October 1st, to drink some Trider’s and support the local FD. Keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for the latest Trider’s news.