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As craft breweries continue to pop up across P.E.I., will the newer ones be able to compete?
David McGuire, owner of Bogside Brewing, says it all depends on Islanders.
The Montague brewery’s official grand opening was June 29. Bogside is the seventh brewery to open on P.E.I. and McGuire’s been planning it for the past three years.
“We’ve watched the industry as it’s evolved,” he said.
Today, Islanders have more local choices outside of big-name beer brands, so customers have become more educated. Now, making good beer that people like is crucial for local breweries, McGuire said.
“I think that the customers’ expectations continue to grow,” he said. “If you don’t have quality product, they know, and they will not come back. So, you need to take the care in your product development.”
McGuire is considering what customers are looking for at every stage of beer production. But, that’s not to say you shouldn’t make beer what you’re passionate about.
“We make beer that we love and enjoy,” McGuire said.
Bryan Carver is next in line to start brewing. The cicerone is currently waiting to have his Cornwall microbrewery, Village Green, approved by the town’s council.
The challenge for craft breweries is getting people to transition over from what they’re used to, he said.
“It’s not so much competition between the smaller breweries, but it’s smaller brewers working to bring people over from the traditional, mass-produced lager beer.”
One way to do that is through community interaction, he said.
“They enjoy being engaged in that kind of business and having more of a relationship with the business in general, as opposed to just being a product that they purchase at the store.”
Carver hopes to be brewing beer for customers by the end of this year, he said.
Jeff Squires, president of P.E.I. Brewing Company, says more options have allowed more Islanders to make that transition, particularly younger generations.
“Nineteen- to 30-year-old’s have grown up on craft beer.”
As president of one of P.E.I.’s first craft breweries, more business and competition will be great for his business, Squires said.