A new Buzz column focuses on the suds
by Bryan Carver
Though we are just a few months into 2018, it is quickly shaping up to be a banner year for brewers and the people who enjoy their beer here on PEI.
To some, this may seem like an overnight occurrence, but in all actuality it has taken decades to recover from a hangover induced by prohibition to get where we are today. Even with six operational breweries, two in the works and one in planning, we have not seen the industry fully actualize its pre-Prohibition strength. Prior to the early 20th century, Charlottetown alone had a dozen operational breweries, all lost to legislation that destroyed the industry, changed the relationship we have with alcohol and in some ways haunts us to this day.
The brewers on PEI today are spread far and wide. We have Moth Lane Brewing in Ellerslie on the Western end of the north shore, Evermoore Brewing going into Summerside’s old train station this summer, Barnone Brewery smackdab in the heart of the island in Rose Valley, Upstreet Craft Brewing, Gahan House Brewery & PEI Brewing Company in Charlottetown and Montague’s two breweries; Copper Bottom Brewing who started making beer in late 2017 and Bogside Brewery opening later this year. All of these brewers are writing the next chapter in the history of brewing on Prince Edward Island, one that focuses on bringing people together in communities to share a beverage and spend time in the company of neighbours.
Not only are these brewers fostering the spirit of community at their individual locations, but restaurants throughout the Island are now more receptive to dedicating a tap handle or two to the local breweries. Until quite recently, these tap handles were occupied only by larger brewers, supplying beer brewed on the other side of the Northumberland Strait, hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometers away. Restaurants promoting Islander brewed beer allow us to gather and enjoy products made by our friends and neighbours and to showcase the skill and talent our brewers possess to our off-Island visitors.
Though our tiny Island was one of the first provinces to embrace Prohibition and the last to repeal, essentially erasing our historical knowledge of brewing, we have seen the brewing industry recover, setting course to be greater than ever.
The Buzz welcomes Bryan to our roster of columnists. Sláinte!