Brothers Jeff and Pete Grandy knew that young beer lovers were looking for a bit of sweet taste added to their favourite brew so they played a hunch.
The innovative tandem behind the Holy Whale Brewery and Buddha Bear Coffee Roaster and Cafe in Alma took a chance an added Skittles, a tangy fruit-based candy, to one of their craft beers.
Like many of their original ideas, it has been a hit. The beer is among the attractions at the brothers’ facility on Main Street in Alma, where tourists and locals have been flocking to sample 10 original flavours for the last four years.
The Alma craft brewery is open year-round, but most of their business comes from tourists, who are visiting nearby Fundy National Park.
For three summers, they have also operated a beer garden/tap room at the Chocolate River Station on busy Coverdale Road in Riverview. There is no food service, but customers can bring their own snacks and meals or order from the 5 Bridges Restaurant, which will deliver orders to the tables.
“We’re getting a lot of traffic,” said Jeff Grandy. “It’s been a great addition to the business and we’re getting a lot of positive feedback from the community in both Alma and Riverview.
“It’s kind of funny because (my brother and I) were not much into technology and were not going to rely on social media even though we are on Facebook and Instagram,” he noted. “People have found a way to hear about us and the word has been getting around. We’re always amazed by how people discover us.”
Jeff, 39, and Pete, 35, grew up in Prince Edward Island and neither has a background in brewing. Jeff worked in business marketing and Pete was involved in engineering and teaching.
They bought a former church in Alma, which now serves as the home for their successful brewery, taproom and cafe. Combined with the Riverview operation, they’re a team of almost 20 people and their business dreams are coming true.
In the future, they will look at expanding the business to include the possible sale of 12-packs and larger volumes. Skittles beer might be exported all over the world.
“We don’t know what’s ahead, but we want to keep moving forward while keeping all of our customers happy,” Jeff said.