June 15, 2016 3:12 pm
Updated: June 15, 2016 3:50 pm

P.E.I. brothers converting age-old New Brunswick church into microbrewery

WATCH ABOVE: A pair of brothers is converting a former community church in Alma into a microbrewery, and so far they have the blessing of the community. Global’s Shelley Steeves reports.


Prayers have been answered for two brothers from Prince Edward Island who recently moved to New Brunswick to follow their dream of opening a microbrewery.

Jeff and Peter Grandy are well on their way to converting a more than 80-year-old former community church in Alma into the region’s first microbrewery — to be christened “Holy Whale Brewing Co.”

“We are very passionate about beer, no question,” Peter said Tuesday, adding that the establishment will also feature a café.

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Jeff is a master brewer, Peter an engineer. For the two brothers, brewing beer is like a religion — they’ve been doing it for years, travelling the world studying beer brewing.

READ MORE: Craft beer brewers calling for NB Liquor policy revisions

The brothers hope opening their microbrewery and café in an old church, which used to be the heart of the community, will help them connect with the people living in the town, creating a space for residents and tourists alike to gather, break bread and share stories.

“There is always typically a very welcoming, or at least familiar feel here, a familiar vibe you get” Jeff said.

Holy Whale Brewing Co., a microbrewery, will be opening in an old church in Alma, N.B. next April.

Holy Whale Brewing Co.

Peter says hardly a day goes by when the locals don’t stop in to watch them work and reminisce about the old church.

“Pretty much every day somebody shows up and they are like, ‘oh I went to church there,’ ‘I was baptized there,’ ‘I went to Sunday school there,'” Peter said.

The brothers hope to preserve those memories for community members, keeping the stained glass windows intact and even making use of the organ if they can.

“We are trying to keep a lot of character within the church and at the same time trying to be respectful to those who did go to this church at one point in time” Jeff said.

They’ve have also decided to keep the original church bell, which Jeff says won’t be used to signify the start of services — instead, they’re “planning to use it for happy hour, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.”

READ MORE: Craft beer industry finds a welcoming home in the Maritimes

The brothers will serve their own brand of on-site-roasted coffee, called Buddha Bear, in the café portion of Holy Whale, which they aim to open in August.

The microbrewery won’t be ready to open until next April.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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