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Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewery surging forward into the future

Heritage Brewing Company general manager Gabrielle Hurlburt says it feels as if Heritage Brewing Company (launched in 2018) is just getting started. “Folks can definitely expect to see more from Heritage Brewing in coming years.”
Heritage Brewing Company general manager Gabrielle Hurlburt says it feels as if Heritage Brewing Company (launched in 2018) is just getting started. “Folks can definitely expect to see more from Heritage Brewing in coming years.” - Carla Allen

COVID precautions at brewery include no dancing, visiting other tables or socializing

YARMOUTH, N.S. —

Who would have known that a couple of friends getting together to brew beer would turn into an ever-growing business on Yarmouth’s Main Street? 
Such was the case with Jason Murphy, Albert Whittaker, Drew Jackson and Jeff Bain.


Heritage Brewing Company general manager Gabrielle Hurlburt says it all began when the partners made a lot of beer that was consumed by a lot of people. The common feedback they received was, “you guys have to sell this!” 
“It was really a community driven decision combined with some entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. 


Although it’s been challenging this past year, Hurlburt says despite the circumstances the company has “really thrived.” 
“We have grown so much in the past two years and I think we’re really lucky in the sense that we have extremely loyal customers who are always supporting and encouraging us.” 
In launching any company that has products containing alcohol there are many rules and procedures that must be followed. 


Hurlburt says there were a few that caught the owners off guard but everyone was very supportive, and the different levels of government have been great to work with, “especially at the local level.” 


Managing a business wasn’t something that Hurlburt planned on so soon after obtaining her BA from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish. 

Heritage Brewing Company general manager Gabrielle Hurlburt with some of the company’s growlers. - Carla Allen
Heritage Brewing Company general manager Gabrielle Hurlburt with some of the company’s growlers. - Carla Allen


Her original intention was to work at Heritage for the summer, but she found the experience so positive she decided to postpone continuing her studies for a year to continue working at the business as a taproom employee. 


After that year was up, she left Yarmouth, moved to Cape Breton and began studies in human resource development. 
COVID-19 hit halfway through her studies and she, like everyone else, had to change course. She returned home to complete her studies online. 


“This gave me a wonderful opportunity to return to work at Heritage,” she says. 
After graduating, she began working full time and soon after, the general manager position became available. She says she was fortunate to be offered the position and to have been at Heritage since the business opened as a full-service brewery and taproom.


“I’m proud of how far the business has progressed in such a short time,” she says. 
The business has seven “extremely hard-working” employees. 
“They do such an incredible job,” says Hurlburt.


Even during the beginning of the pandemic, the employees continued to work, albeit in less than perfect conditions. 
When most people were isolated in their homes, the employees continued to come to work each day, ensuring customers were able to get their beer-to-go. 
“They’re all very dedicated to their job and we’re so fortunate we have employees like them to be the face of our business. I think it’s safe to say, we’re not only coworkers, but we consider each other friends as well,” says Hurlburt. 

In addition to being sold on site, Heritage beer is now available in cans, can be found on NSLC shelves and is on tap throughout the province. - Carla Allen
In addition to being sold on site, Heritage beer is now available in cans, can be found on NSLC shelves and is on tap throughout the province. - Carla Allen


To comply with COVID restrictions, the business has reduced capacity, discourages customers from visiting other tables, provides table service only, ensures customers are staying seated and sanitizes all tables after each use. 
Growlers from other breweries can no longer be filled and employees all wear a mask. Being a business that thrives on people socializing and having a good time has presented a challenge. But standing, dancing, and socializing with other tables is discouraged.


“This might sound very cliche, but when we start to get discouraged, we remember how lucky we are to be able to remain open during these times,” says Hurlburt.
She says one of the best things about the business is the genuine relationships formed with customers. Operating in a small town like Yarmouth, employees have the opportunity to get to know people on a more personal level. Most of the customers and employees know each other by their first name. 


“We all love getting to know everyone that comes in. We have been told by customers that they have walked in alone and left with new friends, which is always great to hear,” says Hurlburt. 
Heritage beer is now available in cans and can be found on NSLC shelves and is on tap throughout the province. 


A patio expansion is tentatively planned for this summer and the business recently launched its new website.
Hurlburt says it still feels as though the business is just getting started and folks can definitely expect to see more from Heritage Brewing in coming years. 

Behind the Business is a regular feature that introduces you to local businesspeople. Want to suggest someone that should be featured? Email your idea to Scott Doherty.

PROFILE: 

Business name: Heritage Brewing Co.
Owners name: Jason Murphy, Albert Whittaker, Drew Jackson, Jeff Bain Date opened: Main Street Taproom - June 2018
# of employees: 7 
Nature of business, products sold: Craft beer taproom and brewery 
Address:  250 Main St., Yarmouth
Phone: 902-881-2777 

INFO BOX:

Hours:
Sunday: 12 – 9 p.m. 
Monday: 1 – 9 p.m. 
Tuesday & Wednesday: 1 – 10 p.m. 
Thursday: 12 – 10 p.m. 
Friday & Saturday: 12 p.m. -12 a.m. 
 

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