Peter and Jeff Grandy wanted to do something special when the Atlantic bubble opened last summer.
The brothers are originally from P.E.I. and are now the owners and operators of Holy Whale Brewery in New Brunswick. It has locations in Riverview and just outside of Fundy National Park in Alma.
They decided to brew a special beer for every province. Now with the bubble scheduled to reopen April 19, they are reviving the P.E.I.-themed beer in hopes of luring Islanders to the mainland.
It is, of course, a beer brewed with P.E.I. potatoes.
"It's kind of a goofy beer, but at the same time, the potatoes do add a little bit of a dimension," said Jeff Grandy.
"It's very starchy and sugary, so it does ferment and makes it a little bit more crisp."
A taste of home
The P.E.I. beer is a traditional wheat beer with potatoes added to the mash.
The 2020 bubble beers also included a Nova Scotia blueberry beer and a rhubarb beer for New Brunswick. The original plan was to brew a bakeapple beer for Newfoundland and Labrador, but there were shipping complications.
Grandy said the idea for the spud beer came after a conversation with an Islander friend.
"He said, 'Just whatever you do, do not do a potato beer,' and then I said, 'I think we have to,'" Grandy laughed.
"We thought we would do something unique, that would kind of cheesily resonate with folks from each province."
He said the hope is to get Islanders to explore different parts of New Brunswick and not just to stop at big box stores in Moncton. Grandy said the potential loss of the tourism season last year made them fearful, just like many businesses.
"We sort of are off the beaten path," he said, referring to the location on the Fundy coastline. "August, September, we heavily rely on Quebecers and Ontarians that do come."
Grandy said things worked out overall. There was a shortage of visitors to Alma, but the business in Riverview picked up and the numbers were comparable to the prior year.
"We were largely unaffected," he said. "We did have to shift from a lot of in-house consumption in our Alma location to takeaway products."
Like many in Atlantic Canada, the Holy Whale team has connections and family across Atlantic Canada and look forward to the bubble opening.
Earlier this week, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said the bubble is still on track to open as long as it is safe to do so.
"We're only three hours away from Charlottetown," Grandy said of their seaside brewery, which is in a renovated church.
"Great, lovely trip."
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