Halifax-area brewery in a grocery store the first of its kind

By: Nicole Gnazdowsky for Metro. Original Article published in the Metro on Thu Jul 06 2017

A new micro-brewery in Elmsdale has found a way to differentiate itself amidst one of the alcohol market’s most popular growing trends — making it the first of its kind.

Chill Street Fresh Beer and Cider Market is the first micro-brewery to open its doors within a supermarket in Nova Scotia, said the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC). And owner Barry MacLeod believes the idea may be even bigger than that – he says he is one of the first, if not the first, in North America to implement this concept.

Since mid-June, shoppers at the Elmsdale Sobeys have had the convenience of a one-stop-shopping location. For MacLeod, who spent years in the industry before deciding to open his own brewery, the pairing of beer and a grocery store was a no-brainer.

“I thought it would be really cool to do a concept where there is craft beer closely associated with food,” said MacLeod.

Although they are leasing the space at the front of the store from Sobeys and are operated independently, he intends to work in partnership with the grocery store to promote both his beers, and Sobeys food items, by introducing shoppers to the perfect pairing options.

But beyond pairing opportunities, MacLeod said there is a list of reasons why he thought a brewery would do well in a grocery store.

“It’s really convenient for somebody to purchase it, and easily accessible to people who might not ordinarily drink craft beer, but it would also expose more people to craft beer,” he said.

In a town like Elmsdale it’s difficult to find many locations where there would be a lot of foot traffic, but opening inside a grocery store solves that problem as well.

Chill Street has been an idea more than two years in the making, and being the first of its kind, MacLeod said there were a lot of boxes to tick off before the concept could become a reality.

“We went and met with Sobeys in Stellerton a couple times, they eventually came back and said, ‘OK, we’re interested, you guys see about what’s involved in the red tape to make it happen’,” he said.

From there he approached the NSLC, Canada Revenue Agency for brewery licenses, and the municipality of East Hants to figure out the zoning laws.

Although the process was time-consuming, MacLeod said all the necessary components fell in line and Chill Street opened its doors in time for the summer beer and BBQ season.

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