Bathurst is about to get on board the New Brunswick craft beer wagon. AKA Beer has just become the first nano brewery to officially open its doors within the city, setting up shop inside the existing Au Bootleggerr bar at 100 Main Street.
The family owned brewery gets its three-initial name from its three founders: Adam, Kyle and Andy Hodnett. The three of them have partnered with local entrepreneur Michael Petrovici of Au Bootlegger, which is already something of a craft beer destination for residents of Bathurst. The half-barrel nano-brewery will be found exclusively at Au Bootlegger, at least for the time being, where they will be debuting with their flagship amber ale, ‘Prohibition Ale, AKA Bootlegger’s Brew.’
The business came together as a passion project, but the long-time home-brewers have always dreamed of expanding their business.
“I’ve been working on this recipe for years,” says Kyle Hodnett, AKA’s Brewmaster. “Friends have always wanted to be able to buy it.”
“[It] works out really well because we love the spot and the folks who run it, so it’s kind of an added bonus to help promote them while working on beer,” says Adam. “They’re really drawing out the craft beer fans around here.”
“We wanted to provide just one more reason to draw people to the great businesses in the area,” said Adam Hodnett, co-owner and owner of Folk Media Communications, a content marketing company in the area. “We also want people to have a hand in the development of the beer.”
The brewers say they hope to cater to their customers by involving them as much as they can in the process. They’re also taking the foodie approach to brewing by sourcing ingredients locally, while pushing for a broad spectrum of styles.
“Each batch will be a little different, so there’s limited time to try each one,” said Adam. “We hope to eventually develop a recipe entirely influenced by people’s taste in the region. Do they like hoppy beer? smokey flavours? toffee? light beer? We’ll find out.”
“I’m very interested in where the ingredients come from and how they’re grown,” said Kyle. “A lot of my farming friends are interested in hops in particular, which is great.”
While AKA Beer is the first nano-brewery to officially open within the city, there are rumours of two more micro-breweries opening in the area. If the rest of the province has taught us anything about craft brewing though, it’s the more the merrier.
“It’s going to be a beer mecca in Bathurst soon,” says Adam. “The more people into craft beer the better. We’re hoping our exclusive products add just one more reason for beer-loving tourists to come to the area and try something they can’t get anywhere else. We need to keep it interesting for ourselves too.”