SUMMERSIDE – Alex Clark is gearing up for Summerside’s first microbrewery to open its doors this summer.
The co-owner of the new brew house said if all goes well, he hopes to have brewing equipment set up by the end of March, beer brewed in June and a taproom up and running in July.
“Development has been really great. It’s gone pretty smoothly. There haven’t been any big surprises, which is usually what happens with older buildings. Now the plan just needs to be completed,” said Clark
Plans to renovate the former train-station turned-library into a brewery began last year and work continues to bring back an older look to the building, similar to its appearance when it was a train station, but with a modern spin. There will also be changes made to the exterior, though he assures the outdoor mural will remain.
Now Clark is rethinking having a dining room ready to serve customers by the time doors open.
“The brew room is on the east side of the building, then there’s the bar, then at the other end are the washrooms and entrance to the kitchen. In the middle is the dining room and that’s where the big question mark comes in. Summer is the time of year where businesses can make it or break it, but at the same time I don’t want to force opening a dining room if it’s not the right time.”
At peak season, with the dining room running, Clark sees the brew house company employing between 25 and 30 people. But in the short-term, staff could be comprised of about seven.
“I’d rather run a tight ship with a small group, than a large group with the wrong people,” he added.
Recently he has been developing a recipe for the brewery’s craft beer and learning how to properly gage the drink’s recipe and how water treatment can affect the taste of beer.
“I want to create a really nice crisp beer. One that’s comfortable to have at the bar or at the end of the day or to have with a group of friends.”
He continued, “Summerside has very hard water and that’s good for ales but not lagers. It’s things like that, that I’m working on and learning.”
Clark hopes the new business in Summerside will spark drive and inspiration in others.
“Taking a building like this and re-beautifying it is huge. But so is any kind of project. I think this is a good push for the community. Redevelopment is always encouraging and I think this could be a real destination place where people can be comfortable and enjoy a drink or not and socialize with friends and the community.”