A brewery with a very unique genesis will be launching very shortly in Sackville, New Brunswick, home of Mount Allison University – it began as a project in Dr. Nauman Farooqi’s third-year commerce class in entrepreneurship and is fully owned and operated by MtA students! With a name that reflects the brewery’s home (Bagtown being a longtime nickname for Sackville), and a logo that evokes the Sackville Waterfowl Park, Bagtown proudly wears its origins on its sleeve. Their first beer, the Wobbly Duck English Pale Ale, was released at Ducky’s on April 1st where the first keg sold out in 40 minutes! An official launch party for the brewery will happen at 9pm this Saturday night, April 8th, also at Ducky’s. Earlybird tickets will be available at the brewery Thursday, April 6, from 3-7pm, that will provide access at 8pm on Saturday. A $10 ticket will get you 2 beers, and $15 will get you the same two beers plus a Bagtown branded pint glass to take home.
We asked the team behind Bagtown to answer a few questions about their brewery and their plans.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We are a brewery that is fully owned and operated by 14 students that has come out of an Entrepreneurship class at Mount Allison University. While 12 of the students will be graduating at the end of this year, Brewmaster Anthony Maddalena has stepped up to follow his passion, committing to a 5th year in Sackville and taking ownership control of the brewery. The other members of the team will remain shareholders, coming out of their undergraduate careers with an investment and a company start-up experience on their respective resumes.
How did you get into the world of beer?
Basically the first day of class, we had to think of some ideas of what we were going to do for our entrepreneurial venture. There were a few ideas tossed around and the one that intrigued most of us was a brewery – a venture that no one had ever done before. Because we had 2 people in our class that had brewed beer before we decided to go for it.
What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
A couple of the students in our class brewed beer this past summer in Sackville. One of them has a brother who is in the beer industry and has worked with Moosehead as a Production Manager. Because of this, there was a lot of knowledge that was passed down, which has been a fantastic resource for the company to use.
When is your launch date?
We had originally hoped to launch at the beginning of March, but unanticipated delays in the listing process pushed our opening date into April. The first keg of our beer to be served to the public was tapped at Ducky’s in Sackville last weekend and we’re doing an official launch party this Saturday night at 9pm.
What are your plans for distribution? Will you be licensed for on-site sales or consumption at the brewery?
To date, we have our brewer’s license and our ANBL listing, and have are in the process of getting our brewer’s agency license. Our plan for now is to sell kegs to restaurants and bars in the area to get our beer out to the public. Once we have our brewer’s agency license, we will be able to sell growlers from our storefront at 62 Main St, in the Sackville Commons C0-op complex. We will not be licensed right away for on-site consumption, however maybe down the road this could be a possibility. Our main focus for the time being is getting our beer in the public’s hands!
Do you have some initial tap accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
In addition to Ducky’s, we have talked to Joe and the Crow (Joey’s Pizzeria & Pasta / Split Crow Pub Sackville), who are both on board to have our beer on tap.
Can you tell us about the beer you plan on offering initially? Any seasonals or one-offs in the works?
The beer that we plan on initially offering in an English Pale Ale called the Wobbly Duck! The beer is medium-bodied with a low carbonation. It is golden in colour with a moderate hop aroma and a mild bitterness. You will be able to taste a mix of fruity, earthy and malty flavours with a smooth finish! We have thought about producing a cranberry beer that our brewmasters have fiddled with, however it is not on the radar quite yet as we want to get our first beer underway. There have also been some other ideas tossed out such as a maple beer, but we will have to see what comes in the future!
Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Tatamagouche Brewing has been a huge help for us. They have answered a lot of our questions and have been a fantastic resource on our journey thus far. We have had so many other great resources as well with people reaching out and letting us know that if they can offer any assistance they are willing to help.
Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Hopefully our brewery will become a success and grow to offer multiple different kinds of beer and become a staple in the town of Sackville.
What size/manufacturer/type of system will you be brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We currently brew on a 40 litre system. Monthly out will be approximately 1000 litres.
Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
We have experience homebrewing from last summer and fall. The experience provided us with the information we’ve needed in order to develop our recipe and refine our production process in order for it to be as efficient as possible.
Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Definitely enjoy drinking lighter craft beers such as Garrison Irish Red or Picaroons Blonde. Something that is flavourful but also easy to drink.
How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
We love to use Cascade hops in our pale ale. It is a very versatile hop that can add a lot of character to your brew.
Anything else you’d like to share, we’d love pass it along?
We want to thank everyone for their support thus far in our journey and we cannot wait until we finally get our beer into the public’s hands!
Thanks to the Bagtown crew for sitting down with us. Be sure to drop by Ducky’s Saturday evening to grab a pint of Wobbly Duck Pale Ale. Keep up to date with growler sales launch, additional events and new beer releases on their social media pages: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.