Business

Sales of N.S.-made spirits, wine, beer on the rise

'That connection to the product is really important'

The NSLC's latest quarterly report says that sales of Nova Scotia made products are up.
Sales of Nova Scotian products are up, reports the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.   Lexi Harrington

Spirits are soaring in Nova Scotia.

Sales of Nova Scotian spirits – as well as locally made wine and beer – have increased across the board, according to the latest sales report of the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.

The market for homegrown spirits grew to approximately $900,000, up a whopping 174 per cent from last year.

“It’s definitely exciting for us, especially to see those numbers come out,” says Evan MacEachern of the Nova Scotia Spirit Company.

Located in Trenton, the distillery produces Fisherman’s Helper White Rum, Blue Lobster Vodka and Willing to Learn Gin. This month marks one year since Nova Scotia Spirit’s products were first featured in the corporation’s stores.

MacEachern became interested in making spirits when he moved back to Nova Scotia and was working in a gastropub in Halifax.

“I just realized the obsession that Nova Scotians have with consuming local products – whether it’s food, beverage, local crafts, spices, anything,” MacEachern says.

The corporation released the numbers for its latest quarter last week, revealing total sales were down $4.4 million (2.5 per cent) for the quarter that ended Oct. 2, 2016.

“Following five straight quarters of positive growth, this variability was expected,” Bret Mitchell, president and chief executive of the corporation, said in a press release.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia craft beer sales reached $3.2 million, up nearly 40 per cent from last year’s second quarter. The report says that there are now 38 licensed microbreweries in the province, up from the 32 the corporation reported in March 2016.

Sales of Nova Scotian wines, made with locally-grown grapes, were up $3.2 million, or six per cent.

Joshua Counsil, co-founder of Good Robot Brewing Co, says that the popularity of local products “isn’t a uniquely Nova Scotian phenomenon.”

“People call it a trend, and trend usually comes with the implication that it’s going to end,” Counsil says. “But if you look at the last 20 years … you see this happening in a lot of fields.”

Good Robot, located at 2736 Robie St., offers a variety of house-made brews in its taproom, with pints available in other locations around Halifax.

“I think that locally produced products are really, kind of, in a bit of a renaissance right now,” says Matt Rogers, general manager of Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax.

Bishop’s Cellar sells wine, beer and spirits from around the world, but Rogers said promoting local products is something that retailers emphasize.

“That connection to the product, I think, is really important, and people are really passionate about supporting people in their community,” Rogers says.

“I think there’s a lot of room to grow.”