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Former Summerside train station will be brought back to life as brewery

Summerside's Rotary Regional Library
Summerside's Rotary Regional Library

The former Summerside train station turned Summerside Rotary Library will soon become a brewery for craft beer.

Alex Clark, owner of Open Eats on Water Street, is set to embark on a new project this fall after buying the landmark building.

The former train station was once a gateway to the city, and Clark wants to create that once more, he said.

For the last two years, Clark has worked to establish Open Eats, a downtown restaurant.

Open Eats took the slow approach, an approach Clark plans on taking with the new brewery.

Some people rush to market, without thinking or planning, resulting in failure, that wasn’t his approach, Clark said.

“A property like this has to be viable, has to be successful because it is so key to downtown. It is the entry point to downtown.”

A microbrewery will take over the space, first as a manufacturing facility for beer, then down the road, a pub-style restaurant.

“The demand for local product, a good high quality local product is amazing. It’s incredible. It’s all people want.”

Selling local beer at Open Eats, Clark has seen the success, and he wants in on it, he said.

The multi-staged project will start slow and steady, feeling out what works best and what Summerside truly wants, Clark said.

Bringing the building back to life and keeping the historical significance of the train station in tact are the goals, while renovating the space, he said.

While it may have been plastered over, acting as a library, the bones of the train station are still there.

His vision is to showcase the history, bring character from the past, but most importantly, design the inside to give the feeling of movement – the hustle and bustle of the old train station.

One beer that focuses on locals will be the main area of concern, said Clark.

“A small canned product you can throw in your golf bag or beach bag that you can take anywhere.”

The branding and company name are still yet to be released, and they won’t be coming soon, as the entrepreneur will be getting married next month.

Open Eats will remain the same for the time being. Later it will become a complementary restaurant to the brewery that, down the road, will also incorporate a pub.

Brewing is on the forefront of the latest project though, starting with small distribution to restaurants and events to allow time to properly develop the brand and product.

A taproom and dining room will be added to the old train station later in conjunction with the brewery. Open Eats would then become a more “refined” dining experience, all the while both locations play off each other, said Clark.

Summerside Mayor Bill Martin is excited about the project, he said, and hinted at even bigger announcements to come regarding the downtown core and economic development.

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