Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We are four friends who decided to get together and open this brewery, all hailing from the Yarmouth area. Jeff and Albert are both teachers, Jason is a vice principal, and Drew works in heating and ventilation.
How did you get into the world of beer?
Albert and I (Jason) went to an NSTU function, where various businesses were invited to come and promote their products. The Yarmouth Brewing Centre (an excellent homebrew supply shop in town) was there, and sold us on the idea of “Just Add Yeast And Water” boxed beer kits. We thought we were making great, cheap, beer and were feeling pretty good about ourselves until we went to Rudder’s and had their IPA! It was an excellent beer, and we decided we needed to do better than our boxed kits. We bought two turkey fryers, a mesh bag for BIAB and some grains, hops, and yeast. Over time, we have slowly built up from a 5 gallon homebrew BIAB system with plastic bottles for packaging, to a 55 Gallon Blichmann RIMS system and kegs.
What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
We have been talking about it for years, we love the craft beer we have tried around the province, but one thing we kept saying was that our beer was as high quality as some of the bigger craft breweries. I (Jason) have always been a bit self-conscious about our beer, but as we kept giving more and more out, to more and more people, we kept feeling more confident and encouraged to move forward with it.
What is the ethos of Heritage Brewing Company?
We want to show our pride in our community ,and our love for beer. All of us are from Yarmouth; some of us moved away for a number of years, and have come back to settle down and have families.
I think our logo is a play on the idea of our love for beer combined with a well-known Yarmouth landmark. We had a friend who came up with the idea, and a great local artist (Danielle Mahood) who drew it up for us.
We, like other small breweries, believe every town should have a locally-owned and -operated brewery. We want people to buy beer, and talk about beer, with the people that actually make their beer! We want to be a part of a positive change in our downtown area and help build the economy in our home town.
As we start to release names for our beer you will also see many of them reflect the history and culture in Yarmouth.
Do you have an approximate opening date?
After our soft opening this past weekend, we will be open Thursday afternoons 4-8PM and Saturdays 10AM-4PM. We will make it a rather quiet affair, to see what kind of kinks we run into, before we do a grand opening in the next couple weeks.
Can you tell us about the beers you currently have available?
We are starting with an Amber Ale, Blonde Ale, Session IPA and a Stout. As a small brewery, we believe we have the flexibility to respond quickly to our customers’ tastes and we have excellent Cream Ale, Double IPA, Porter, Brown, Red, and Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat recipes all ready to go. (In fact, we have our Red and Cream Ale in fermenters at the moment, along with Rhubarb in the freezer).
We are really excited to offer our Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat. We made it last summer, it was so much work and so messy we swore we would never make it again no matter how good it was. After tasting and giving some away, the feedback was so positive we have already started freezing rhubarb and tracking down strawberries.
What are your plans for distribution? How can folks enjoy your beer?
We are offering growler fills (both 0.95 and 1.89 litres) on site, along with tasters (4oz). We have been in discussion with local establishments to have our beer available to customers on tap and in bottles, distributing bottles to restaurants in the coming weeks. We do not have a tap room at this time, but we do have hopes and plans for expansion.
Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Yes, I think it is really important to thank the guys at Tidehouse Brewing Company. We have sent them an awful lot of messages and questions and they have been extremely helpful and quick to give advice.
Alan from Meander River Farm and Brewery allowed us to spend a day there talking beer while he gave us tips and pointers, which were really helpful in completing our business plan.
As fellow teachers, we made contact with Schoolhouse Brewery as well, and Cam was more than willing to talk beer with us, and give us advice that we really appreciated.
We have been blown away with the support other craft brewery have been willing to give us and are really excited to be part of this industry.
Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next few years?
We hope that our system will be too small to keep up, and we will be able to expand rather quickly and add a taproom to our brewery.
What type of system are you be brewing on?
Currently we have an electric 180 litre (1.5 BBL) system, with 8 fermenters. We hope to produce and sell at least 350 litres per week.
Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I think all four of us have slightly different favourites, though our single hop Citra Session IPA is one of our personal favourites.
Between the four of us, we have been to a lot of craft breweries, especially between Yarmouth and Halifax, and we have found something we like at each one.
How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I am a fan of heavily-hopped beers, and dark roasty beers. The Citra and Chinook hops are my favourite to work with, and our customers will taste that with our Citra Session IPA. We will also start off with a great Stout followed by a Porter and Brown ales, that will showcase my passion for dark beer.
Thanks to Jason and the Heritage crew for sitting down with us and giving us a behind-the-scenes look at their new brewery. As mentioned above, drop by the brewery today (and every Thursday) from 4-8PM and Saturdays 10-4PM to grab a taster and growler, and keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook and Twitter pages, where they’ll be sharing the newest beers available, and the details of their Grand Opening Party. Congratulations!