Genevieve Allen Hearn
Mike and Shelly Peters have turned their passion for brewing into a brewery specializing in small batches of quality craft beer. As a self-funded, semi-retirement project, and with the help of their children Andy and Aleesha, they recently opened a taproom in the heart of Berwick. Smokehouse Nano Brewery currently offers twelve varieties of beer, ranging from lager to porter and everything in between. They also offer limited-release varieties that customers need to scoop up quickly before they disappear!
The Grapevine (GV): First off – what is a “nano brewery” and how is this different from a microbrewery?
Mike & Shelly (M&S): A nano brewery is a small-scale craft brewery with an annual volume of less than 2000 hectolitres (HL). Last year we produced 160HL. Also, typically nano breweries have a brewhouse system that is 3.5 beer barrels (bbl) or less. Our current system is a 1bbl.
GV: What inspired you to start a brewery? What is your unique offering?
M&S: I have been a home brewer for the past thirty years, along with two of my brothers, and decided to open up a small-scale brewery so people could enjoy our products. Our unique offering is that the small-batch brewing process allows us to provide the freshest beer possible. Some of our offerings are limited to less than 80 servings available per batch.
GV: Why did you choose Berwick as your location for your taproom?
M&S: Berwick has been our home for the past thirty years and the brewery is located on our property here in Berwick. The old smokehouse that is on our property offered a very unique layout for the size of brewery we are operating. The smokehouse was once an integral part of the town’s businesses and has lots of history with the people who grew up in the area.
GV: Tell us about the craft beverage industry here in the Annapolis Valley. How do you feel you fit into the scene?
M&S: The craft beer industry in the Valley is booming—more people have been changing over to craft beer than ever before. The Valley has a great vibe going with its breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries. We are seeing more and more people making a trip out to the Valley as a tourist destination. As far as support, we have had 110% support from the town and the residents—they are doing everything possible to bring new business into this town. Like all business, there has to be competitive markets, it’s what keeps you thinking on your feet. We have been able to build some good business relations with other breweries in the Valley and they are very supportive of us being the new brewery on the block. So far it appears that we have found our spot in the brewery scene. We are always looking to see what we can do to keep the vibe fresh and exciting for our customers.
GV: Any advice for our readers on starting a business in the Valley?
M&S: Probably the best advice I can offer is to be true to your passion. It’s definitely important to make revenue, but the driving force should be your passion for the talents you are offering. The quality of the products you are offering should always be your #1 priority.
The new Smokehouse Nano Brewery taproom is located at 134 Union Street in Berwick. For more information, visit smokehousebrewery.ca. The taproom does not have a kitchen, but they offer a selection of snacks and takeout is permitted.