Brewers and dreamers: inside Garrison Brewing

Drink up all the details behind Garrison Brewing Company’s recent expansion.

The lap of luxury that Garrison Brewery Company now calls home, or part of its home, wasn’t always as pristine as it is these days. The massive space at 1096 Marginal Road, with its 40-foot ceilings, was once used to repair trains, and hadn’t been touched (or tidied) in decades. Like, there was a five-foot-deep trench running through the room. But now, after three years and a facelift, one of Halifax’s leading craft breweries has cozied into its expansion, keeping the product 100 percent Seaport-brewed. It’s a place president Brian Titus is “incredibly proud” of, and here are a couple of reasons why.

Riley Smith

1. “We’re down in the pier area so why not make it look like a bunch of containers,” says Titus of the rainbow-coloured rooms that make up the offices of brewmaster Daniel Girard and VP of operations Mark Obermaier, as well as the crew lunch room, washrooms and Garrison’s lab. “We want people to come here and feel inspired, that’s the cleanliness, that’s the layout—everything has its place. We’re a creative company, we’re trying to make really interesting beers so we need creative people.” Plans are in place for more offices too, built in the 2,000 square feet on top of the massive cooler.

2. The new space also brought a new, Italian-made bottler that Titus says “changes everything” when it comes to efficiency—which is key when you’re producing 50,000 to 60,000 bottles’ worth per week. “It’s about 50 percent faster but it also provides a more consistent product. Normally the operator doesn’t have to watch over or tweak anything,” he says. “We can focus on doing what we want to do, have a decent day and finish at 4 or 5pm. If we tried to do the same numbers on the old line we’d be at it until 10 o’clock.”

3. This was Garrison’s biggest year, resulting in 7,500 hectolitres that’s made its way to five provinces. That growth’s been steady over the past few years, and the new space means the brewery will have more capacity. “Once we get those extra fermenters in we can have one for each brand, which allows us to let the beer condition as long as possible.” Brewing continues at Garrison’s 1149 Marginal Road, focused in on seasonals and specialties. “There’s demand for good quality craft beer, people are interested in what comes out of the east coast,” says Titus. “It’s cool to be able to meet that demand.”

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