Province reverses stance, will allow on-site services at brew supply stores

Amy MacKenzie
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Sandra Chisholm pours some yeast into a mix at Water N’ Wine in New Glasgow. The provincial government has decided to allow the company to continue to let customers make beer and wine on site. Also pictured is employee Stella Fitzpatrick. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS

NEW GLASGOW – Customers were happily preparing wine at Water N’ Wine in New Glasgow Thursday after seeing the battle won with the province over the right to brew on site.

The Nova Scotia government announced Thursday that stores will be able to legally allow customers to brew beer and wine on site. Its Crown corporation, Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, will withdraw its injunctions against Water N' Wine in New Glasgow as well as Wine Kitz in Halifax.

“This is no surprise to me,” said Charles Patton, Water N’ Wine’s owner. “I knew the decision was coming down the line. It was only a matter of time.”

Justice Minister Ross Landry, on behalf of Maureen MacDonald, minister responsible for the Liquor Control Act, said the province has listened to the public, and will develop regulations allowing the legal operation of ferment-on-premise facilities.

 “The reason that we did that was because overwhelmingly from the public, they felt that the law and the rules should be changed,” he said. “We consulted and discussed as a government and at the end of the day, we came to the conclusion that we couldn’t defend the status quo and we felt that the process should be changed.”

Landry said the current liquor law has been in place for decades.

“As of today, we’re going in a new direction,” he said.

The province plans to study the practices of other provinces in creating a regulatory framework, according to a press release.

“As well, we want to make sure that as we develop regulations, that it’s done in a way that assures social responsibility, the quality of standard across the province and the health standards as well.”

Landry thanked the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation “for working with us in partnership and for the leadership they’ve shown in regard to this issue after hearing the public perspective.”

Patton is happy things are moving in the right direction. “It’s been a hectic few weeks, but my business has been under the hammer for the last six years. The people have spoken and they want U-Brews.”

“I want to acknowledge my riding, in Pictou Centre,” said Landry, “and thank the number of people that wrote in or called or brought to my attention directly this issue. As a government, I want to compliment the minister for accepting everyone’s point of view.”

Water N’ Wine employee Keith Beausejour said they’ve been getting calls and having people stop by to congratulate them since the news was announced.

“We’re elated, and thankful too, we’ll all be coming to work next week,” he said.

He said it looks like they’ll be operating business as usual at the store. The new rules will bring Nova Scotia in line with others in the province.

“We’re just catching up with the rest of the country,” he said.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, Pictou Centre

Geographic location: NEW GLASGOW, Nova Scotia, Halifax

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Recent comments

  • darryl diggins
    March 05, 2013 - 23:46

    how many guesses do you need as to who wanted them out of business...

  • Evelyn & Loren
    February 02, 2013 - 13:06

    I personally d/n make Wine or other beverages, I buy THE WATER W/O the Wine...hahahaha. However, I do buy gift certs as gifts for those that do enjoy the BEVERAGES. I see no problem with it & finally a fair decision has been made. Now, hopefully they'll leave u all to what you know and Congrats Charlie for fighting the fight and UR rights to run UR business and the rights of the people. It's about time. We also Love & congratulate Stella on doing a wonderful job, daily & the knowledge she has and shares about your products. She's awesome!!!! Congrats to you too Stella, Wld def miss seeing your beautiful smile and personality plus. You still have a job. LOVE YOU. Happy for U all.

  • Shannon Rogers
    February 01, 2013 - 08:27

    So proud of you guys. Congratulations! For once, the little guys win!

  • John
    February 01, 2013 - 08:19

    Congratulations on your big win!!

  • Glenn MacLeod
    January 31, 2013 - 21:47

    MY hat is off to the Nova Scotia Goverenment, Our 3 Local MLAs, Water N Wine of New Glasgow, Wine Kits of Halifax and NSLC on hearing the people voices of Nova Scotia, in a democrated manner.

    • johnny smoke
      February 01, 2013 - 07:54

      Say what? Pass a law for the benefit of a government monopoly, threaten law abiding small business owners with legal actions, then when the heat is on, slink over to the law books and cross out the offending section. I say bullocks . These business had to hire a lawyer to present their case, they had to go to court in order to get an injunction to stop this foolishness and put the wine gestapo in it's place. When the government antes up their out of pocket expense, legal expense, and any business losses, then I will be inclined to say hats off. Until that happens it's hands off, and keep them off, these hacks are so deep into our poketst it is a wonder that anyone can afford a brew or two, even in the best of times.

  • Ernie MacInnis
    January 31, 2013 - 21:06

    Congratulations Water and Wine! The finally came to their senses.