Small business takes new step

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It’s hard to top a successful homegrown business when it comes to bringing out community pride. When it happens to set up shop in the heart of Pictou County as part of this province’s burgeoning craft beer industry it adds another level of interest.

Uncle Leo’s Brewery, which just opened to customers early last summer in Lyons Brook, is adding another stage in its development as it ships out product to a number of select Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation outlets in the province – including New Glasgow. For this outing, it’s a one-time promotion to run to the end of March.

The brews from Uncle Leo’s, since its opening, have been available at the business’s distinctive wooden building in Lyons Brook, which houses both the brewery and a retail area. It’s also on tap as draft at a number of restaurants and pubs, some in the area and in other parts of the province.

Rebecca Whiffen, co-owner of Uncle Leo’s with her husband, Karl, describes this latest venture with wider distribution as a testing of the waters.

Considering the reception so far, the test should prove positive. When Uncle Leo’s opened for business late last June, local fans of craft brew kept up a steady line to get through the door throughout the weekend. It was an optimistic sign for the owners – in a business that’s seen a number of new microbreweries starting up around the province in recent years. These operations brew in small batches and specialize in varieties drawing on distinctive styles of brewing from around the world. It’s a grand departure from any homogenized approach to beer making – and an interesting education for the palate.

This is what small business with its economy-driving dynamics is all about, and it’s encouraging to witness success and increasing interest. Identify a product that’s a little bit different, a growing trend with potential customers eager to educate themselves. It’s good to have an entry in the market that can make a splash in rural Nova Scotia.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation

Geographic location: Lyons Brook, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

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