Canadian Craft Beer

Since the first ever brewery opened in Quebec city in 1668, the beer industry has played an important role in the Canadian identity and economy. Along with hockey, bacon, winter and maple syrup, beer is a big part of our image, with over 2.3 billion litres sold in 2015. Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Canada, and it’s still growing; since 2010, the number of Canadian craft breweries has more than doubled. And Canadians don’t just love beer, they love Canadian beer, meaning that almost 90% of beer sold in Canada is made in Canada. Pretty patriotic! Let’s have a closer look at the amazing craft brews we make here in Canada.

What is Craft Beer?

Each province across Canada has a different definition for “Craft” beer, but most rely on batch size to set regulations. Generally, brewers that produce between 49,000 and 175,000 litre batches are called “craft” breweries. More broadly, a craft beer is any beer made in a traditional or non-mechanized way by a small brewery. Many craft breweries are family and friends-run businesses in smaller communities across the country.

Where can I try Craft Beer?

Craft beers are available right across Canada. Some are available to purchase in liquor stores, and some you can only get by visiting the brewery. In PEI, you can sample craft beers in breweries and in local restaurants and bars.

Be sure to keep an eye out for these select craft brews available in PEI Liquor stores:


Prince Edward Island

Upstreet Craft Brewing: This newcomer to the PEI craft beer scene is a runaway hit! Open in 2015, these guys are making a name for themselves across the Maritimes. Try: Go Devil American IPA

PEI Brewing Company: Beginning in 1997 as the Gahan House, PEI Brewing Company eventually outgrew it’s small downtown quarters and is now brewing award-winning beer in a new state of the art facility. Try: Gahan Blueberry Ale


New Brunswick

Picaroons: This Fredericton brewery opened in 1995 and is now sold across the Maritimes and Canada. Named after a log handling tool, this company has over 30 kinds of beer in regular rotation and has a very loyal following. Try: Picaroon’s Double IPA

Pumphouse: This Moncton brewery was opened in 1999 by a retired firefighter and has been going strong ever since. They’ve won multiple awards for their beer, including Canada’s “Brewer of the Year”. Try: Pumphouse Crafty Radler


Nova Scotia

Garrison: This Halifax operation has been making great beer since 1997 and is now available across most of Canada! They make a variety of hand-crafted ales with all-natural ingredients. Try: Garrison Tall Ship

Spindrift: This brewery in Dartmouth, NS, opened in 2015 and is new to the craft beer scene. They are passionate about canned beer, which limits oxygen and light exposure and helps keep the beer fresh! Try: Spindrift Killick