"We sell more Keith's at the Lower Deck than on the island of Cape Breton," Mike Condy, the Lower Deck's general manager, says proudly. Who wouldn't brag? At 35, it's one of the oldest beer halls in town. A lot of that is Keith's, he says, because he is hands-down Labatt's best customer in Halifax. He's right. For every 20 kegs of beer sold, estimates Dave Page, the Economy Shoe Shop's bar manager, six to eight will be Keith's.
Condy didn't reveal his sales numbers, but figured an average beer hall would sell between 1,500 and 2,000 kegs of beer a year, though that's conservative. I asked all the big beer sellers in town: Shoe Shop (1663 Argyle), Stayner's (5075 George), Peddlers' (1903 Granville), Bubba Ray's (5650 Spring Garden), Alehouse (1721 Brunswick), Old Triangle (5136 Prince) and the Pogue Fado (1581 Barrington), and they all gave ball-park figures ranging up to 4,000 kegs a year.
One 50 litre keg pulls about 110 pints, Page says. Keith's brewery concurs. A conservative estimate: 2,000 kegs equals 220,000 pints of beer a year. Multiply that by seven and drinkers at these bars pound back 1.54 million pints per year. It could be up to 3 million pints, if you factor in 4,000 keg bars. That's a lot of Coors Light.
A year of beer drinking is full of peaks and valleys. Take March 17, when beer consumption could be double a Saturday night, then we might say what? Twenty to 50,000 pints on Paddy's Day? I won't even try to include all the small bars---it would start to sound too much like President Obama's bailout program.