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Island brewers expand to the mainland

The Brew
by Bryan Carver

HopYard co-founder Mike Ross (photo: Bryan Carver)Over the last few years, a number of PEI based businesses in the beer industry made successful leaps across the Northumberland Strait. Launching their new ventures in larger markets has highlighted the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that Islanders possess. We are fortunate to have such an abundance of quality establishments in our small province and it is great to see these brands generate more outside exposure to the great food and beverage community we have.

Late in the summer of 2018, Kent Street’s popular restaurant, HopYard, opened a second location in Halifax. Business partners Mike Ross and Brett Hogan managed to secure a great location on a stretch of Gottingen Street in the North End that is becoming a restaurant and nightlife hub. After a few months of remodeling, they replicated the original Charlottetown experience based around incredible service, a large vinyl collection, biweekly menu changes and offering up a great selection of the best beers from the Maritimes.

Another Island company that has established themselves in Nova Scotia is Upstreet Craft Brewing. The Upstreet crew teamed up with Chef Bill Pratt, to launch the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse on Windmill Road in Dartmouth which had its grand opening in October. With a large selection of traditional barbeque favourites cooked ‘slow and low’ and beers brewed on-site by Upstreet co-founder and brewer Mike Hogan, they have created a destination in Dartmouth for both beer and barbeque lovers.

The classic Charlottetown brewpub Gahan House has established a series of new locations over the past few years. Their first endeavour was on the Halifax waterfront and has been a great success for the Murphy Hospitality Group and that success has lead to the opening of several additional locations throughout New Brunswick. You can now find a Gahan brewpub in Saint John, Fredericton and soon a Moncton location will open its doors. Each location is equipped with its own brewhouse, all three under the supervision of brewer, Spencer Gallant. These four small scale breweries provides a great platform to create some unique test batches that could potentially be brewed on a larger scale in Charlottetown in the future.

All of these Island businesses have made large impacts on the food and beverage community here on PEI. It is great to see that they have the strength and ability to take their successful business concepts and further develop them off-Island in larger markets throughout the Maritime region.

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