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Sussex Craft Distillery Acquires Main Street Waterfront Location

By Scott Pettigrew Nov 10, 2022 | 4:45 PM

You may soon be able to enjoy a cocktail or a dram of whisky while overlooking picturesque O’Connell Park in Sussex.

The Sussex Craft Distillery has bought a former provincial building overlooking Wards Creek, just before the old stone or “castle” bridge on Main Street, and is making plans as to what to do with the site.

“We have the keys,” says Greg McCollum, a member of the nine-person consortium who run the distillery.

“Ideally we’re going to go for spring,” he says of when the distillery would move from its current location at 119 Cougle Road. “That would be our goal but it’s too early to determine that yet because we haven’t really dug into the nuts and bolts of the actual building.”

The building, located at 717 Main St., once housed education support initiatives like the Early Intervention Program. It then sat vacant before going to tender through the province.

“I’d been chasing it for four and a half years,” McCollum says. “We did our legwork and we were persistent enough on it that we were fortunate enough to put in the winning bid.”

In addition to a patio overlooking the creek, McCollum says they will have a bar set up and plan to also brew beer.

Being able to provide their products by the glass will be a big advantage for the distillers because they won’t have to rely solely on selling bottles, which has proven challenging given Alcohol NB volume sold thresholds for putting local spirits on their shelves, McCollum says.

Sussex Craft Distillery was recognized at the 2022 Canadian Artisan Spirit awards earlier this year. It won Gold in the Excellence in Terroir for its Creamy Caramel liqueur, a Bronze for the Shoreline Blue Raspberry fruit liqueur, Bronze for the Sussex Corner Golden Rum-Alternative, and Bronze for its traditional rum, Resurrection.

The distillery was founded in 2016 following the closure of the Nutrien Potash Mine in Penobsquis. The founders, many of whom worked at the mine, were looking for alternative ways to make a living in Sussex and stay in the town they loved.

The new location is within walking distance of the Sussex Ale Works, which has established a steady following since opening in 2018, also by a former potash mine employee, and is now one of the liveliest spots on Sussex Main Street, especially on a warm summer evening.

Creating a more vibrant core along the Sussex Main Street, is a trend that Sussex Craft Distillery hopes to add to, as the town becomes more and more of a place to stop rather than a place to drive through.

“I feel a lot of our business is from away, coming to town. It’s usually people from out of town that are coming to Sussex for the day or for the weekend,” McCollum says. He notes that hiking, ATV trails, and even craft breweries like the Ale Works have made the town a destination of sorts. “I mean, we do have our regular local people as well. But we see a lot of new faces and repeat faces of people that aren’t from here.”

Alex Graham is a reporter with Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.


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