It’s hard to keep a good brewery small. The craft beer industry is one of the fastest growing in the Maritimes with new breweries popping up almost everywhere and existing breweries expanding. Among them is the award winning Hammond River Brewing, who marked the upcoming opening of their new brewery at a joint announcement with Opportunities NB this morning.
“The local food and beverage industry was identified as a growth opportunity in the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan,” said Economic Development Minister Francine Landry, who is also the minister responsible for Opportunities NB. “We support one of our successful craft brewers as they expand, seek out export opportunities and hire more New Brunswickers.”
Today’s announcement highlighted the support that Hammond River Brewing received from the government. A non-repayable contribution of $69,500 was made via Opportunities NB towards the expansion, including equipment purchases and leasing agreements. As a result of the expansion HRB expects to employ an additional 3-4 people.
“Heck no,” says owner Shane Steeves when asked if three years ago he would have imagined he’d be here. “[I] never imagined this much success or this large a scale brewery when I started out back in 2013.”
“When I was a homebrewer, I thought I was making some pretty good beer, to my tastes at least,” says Steeves, but it was during the first couple weeks following taking home a gold medal from the Saint John Beer Festival that showed that his product could have a mass appeal. “I quickly couldn’t keep up with demand. It really told me that folks were enjoying my beer.”
The new location will not only triple the brewery’s size to 3,000 square feet, but will increase brewing capacity to batches of 15-30 times larger. The increased capacity will allow HRB to begin exporting their beer to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, while the new location will allow for a taproom, and a bottling facility.
The new taproom will feature twelve taps and will include beer from other craft breweries. The room is expected to hold approximately 80 people, and will have the full menu of the adjacent Barrel’s Head Gastropub.
Steeves says it will still be another month before the taproom is open. Just in time for patio season.