Wayfarers’ Ale Craft Brewery Wins Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce Valley’s Best 2019!
The name Wayfarers’ Ale is a tribute to an old custom in England where medieval travelers, ‘wayfarers’ as they were known, would stop at local churches, knock on the door, and be given a small horn of ale and a piece of bread to refresh them along their journey. Well, for two years now, the brewery located next to the historic Port Williams wharf has been welcoming visitors and making a name for itself far and wide. “A Wayfarer, like a seafarer, is a person who is on a path, ups and downs, hopes and dreams, good and bad times. We are all Wayfarers and our name speaks to who we are, all on a path,” explains Christopher Killacky.
Launched back in 2017, the brewery building is the result of the Wayfarers’ Ale Society, which was founded in 2012 by a small group of beer enthusiasts interested in taking their interest to the next level. Now the brewery is a new landmark for the area and Wayfarers’ has been named among the Valley’s Best for 2019. “We chose Port Williams as it’s a great place and we love the location,” says Killacky “It’s central to many of where our Society members live and work. It has a history and it has a maritime past, it speaks of quality and is full of interesting people who all have a story to tell, as do we.”
Their beers, available at the brewery, along with a selection also available at the NSLC, are the result of a lot of experimenting, tasting, and even some reviving of old heritage beer recipes. “As for new brews we are now in partnership with Hennigars for specialty ciders, we have a summer Sour and have just launched our ThistleDew malted beer in the local NSLC’s as well as our Classic Hellene, River Hog and Ruby Red,” says Killacky. “The Sassy Ginger is amazing but only available at our brewery.”
The brewery now includes a retail shop, a deck overlooking the river, and a tap room with kitchen: the perfect spot to cozy up by the woodstove, order a charcuterie board or nachos with your beer, and sit back to watch the tides roll in.
We ran out of space in our print edition! We’re delighted to be able to include our full interview with Christopher Killacky here:
The Grapevine (GV): What made you decide to open a brewery?
Christopher Killacky (CK): We have always loved beer and loved local. But it’s not just beer, it’s the best beer we love. There are many people in our Society who help out with everything we do, from brewing small batches, experimenting with different malts and hops, all the way to developing new and novel methods of making good beer. We needed a brewery for that, for our Society and for Nova Scotians who love local beer. We also wanted to support the local economy now that so many of the big brewers are no longer owned by Canadians.
(GV): Why did you choose Port Williams?
(CK): We chose Port Williams as it’s a great place and we love the location. It’s central to many of where our Society members live and work. It has a history and it has a maritime past, it speaks of quality and is full of interesting people who all have a story to tell, as do we. Other great companies such as The Noodle Guy, Planter Ridge Wine, Sea Level Brewing and Barrelling Tide Distillery are here, not to mention The Port. There are some other great brewers who have given us inspiration such as Bad Apple Brewing whose brewer Jeff Saunders is arguably one of the best brewers in the Maritimes.
(GV): How did you choose the name?
(CK): We are a Society of literally hundreds of people who love beer and who are part of Wayfarers’ Ale Society. We are all Wayfarers and our name speaks to who we are, all on a path. As we sit down in our superb taproom overlooking the river, we talk, listen and enter into the space of community: all over a pint that we have been part of. Everyone is welcome to join our vision and hold to our community bonds and values, long may it live on!
(GV): What is the story behind your logo?
(CK): It’s our Wayfarer, a pilgrim on a path, each of us. In old days people struggled to make their way, despite many problems. They were like us. Yet they kept going forward with charity in their hearts and hope upon their heels. Along the way churches would open their doors and give a glass of ale and piece of bread and help them. We do the same and support local charities, employ local people who struggle, and our logo represents charity and hope, as do all those who drink our beer and cider to eachother’s good health.
(GV): Why did you choose the CEDIF model?
(CK): Our CEDIF plays an important part in investing in our brewing business and enables many people to invest in a way that returns them up to 65% of their investment through equity tax credits. The CEDIF does all the work and they really do get back 65% of their investment plus more if they put funds in through their registered funds. Plus we have just declared a dividend after just two years, beating the return on virtually all other CEDIFs. That’s an outstanding opportunity for people.