Nova Scotian breweries are using the power of beer to support their communities.
This weekend, Boxing Rock Brewing Company in Shelburne, N.S., launched their new Back to Birchtown ale in collaboration with Change is Brewing Collective. The collective’s founders say it was formed in June 2020 to tackle a lack of diversity and inclusion in the craft food and beverage industry. Their goal is to open the door to these industries through education, scholarships and employment for BIPOC communities.
Their newest creation — the Back to Birchtown beer — is billed as an old stock ale or a “twist on the historical style.” The brewery says this ale would have been similar to the kind casked in the days of the Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia.
Proceeds from the sale of the beer will go to Change is Brewing Collective and the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre.
“Just in the creation of this beer specifically, we’ve been able to make connections not only with the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre but also Seed Shelburne, who is doing a lot of great work when it comes to environmental justice, especially for the Black community here in Shelburne,” said Change is Brewing Collective co-founder, Shekara Grant.
“So for us, it’s been a connecting tool for community.”
Meanwhile, Schoolhouse Brewery in Windsor, N.S., has begun creating a series of brews to support local community organizations. The first is dubbed the Community Stout and 100 per cent of proceeds will be going to the Matthew 25/Windsor Food Bank.
Cameron Hartley, who is with the brewery, says they know firsthand about the financial toll of the pandemic.
The taproom had to close its doors for 10 weeks during the first wave and once again during the second wave. It recently re-opened on Feb. 24. In a bid to help others, he says they reached out to the local food bank because they’re aware food insecurity is an issue for families in the province.
“It’s been hard for us but we’ve still had food on our table,” he said.
“We’re not in a position to be able to sign over a big cheque but we are in a position to use what we do to make a beer in support of the food bank and to not only just generate funds for the food bank but generate awareness.”
Both beers are available for sale at their respective breweries.
— With files from Elizabeth McSheffrey
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