Nova Scotia Beverage Producers Get Boost From Data Analytics Company
Wolfville, NS – When shopping at the NSLC, it’s hard to miss the recent growth in the number of local products available. Wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries have been popping up all over Nova Scotia and their products are increasingly easy to find.
Now these local businesses hope to get a helping hand from a new company that performs data analytics specifically for them.
The online company, growNSdrinks.ca, uses the NSLC’s sales data to produce simple, easy-to-understand graphs and charts that give beverage producers a clearer picture of their markets, and help guide their business decisions.
The company is a spin-off of a Dalhousie University research lab led by Dr. Sean Myles, an associate professor in the Faculty of Agriculture. Dr Myles’ research focuses on big data challenges in agriculture, but he and his team were eager to turn their attention to local beverage industries.
“Our day-to-day research involves computational science whose applications are generally far into the future. For a change, we wanted to turn our attention to a project that could have immediate impacts locally,” Myles explains.
The research team spent about a year developing the software. Myles says they are fuelled by a strong desire to help local businesses grow by making data analytics accessible even to small producers.
“Many of the small businesses selling products to the NSLC are run by busy entrepreneurs like us,” says Matt Kenny, head brewer and co-owner of Tatamagouche Brewing Company. “The raw NSLC numbers are time-consuming to analyse on our own, and these reports give us the information we care about quickly in a way that our entire team can understand.”
Dr. Myles is also the co-founder of the Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville, so he says he’ll also be a customer himself.
“Nova Scotia craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, and cideries give us reason to be hopeful about the future of our province. They are injecting positivity into communities everywhere,” says Myles.
Local products capture less than 10% of sales at the NSLC, and over 90% of sales are from products made outside of the province. Myles hopes that the reports will help local businesses capture more market share by replacing imported products.
“Nova Scotians are catching on to the positive social and economic effects that buying local can have on their communities,” says Alex MacDonald, executive director of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia, “but a large proportion of consumer dollars spent at the NSLC still flows out of the province. These new reports are helping to keep more of these dollars here at home, which stands to benefit all of us.”
The reports are available as a monthly subscription at growNSdrinks.ca and Myles hopes to get the bulk of the producers in the province to sign up.
“We’re trying to create a win-win situation for everyone involved, from the farmers who grow local fruit for these industries all the way to the customers who want something made here at home,” Myles says.
Image: Sales of local products at the NSLC were up 37% in March 2020 compared to March 2019, suggesting that Nova Scotians are purchasing more local beverages for at-home consumption since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis (growNSdrinks.ca).