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Trailway’s ‘Union House’ Taproom To Open In Saint John This Spring

By Scott Pettigrew Jan 10, 2023 | 9:31 AM

Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing Company is expanding into Uptown Saint John this spring.

“Fredericton and Saint John always kind of feels like sister cities,” says Chris McIntosh, the general manager of the new location. “Union House” is expected to open in the coming months.

“It’s a really cool spot that came up and, you know, the gears started spinning.”

The spot is at 143 Union Street, at the corner of Dorchester Street, the former home to First City Brewery, a nanobrewery specializing in small-batch craft ales. Trailway bought the property in late 2021 and initially planned to open in June of 2022, but post-pandemic issues caused delays.

Trailway, with its large and ever-expanding collection of speciality beers, was a good fit to carry on the small-batch brewing tradition.

The new location will also feature guest taps that will see Trailway augment its tried-and-true repertoire with smaller brews.

“The idea of doing one-off beers here in our brewery has definitely been floated,” says McIntosh. “The current idea is that we’re probably going to produce what we would consider our house spirit here [and] our normal tap of Trailway offerings will rotate very, very regularly with a few stable beers.”

McIntosh adds that wine and cider will also be available.

The Saint John taproom will seat about 50 guests and is being built by Riverview’s Avant Garde Construction Management. There will be a summer patio with a handful of tables on Dorchester Street when the weather allows.

The brewery plans a quick-serve menu with featured items like burgers to accompany an ice-cold beer.

“We’re going to be doing smash burgers, which is a thin patty,” McIntosh says. “We can do singles, doubles, or triples…We work with [Fredericton’s] Local Valley beef, which does really, really good grass-fed, ecological beef.”

He says that although the menu will be limited, the goal is to provide high-quality burgers and snacks for guests with “really good French fries.”

There’s also a plan to have a sort of “Trailway Inn” above the Saint John brewery. Three units will be available as short-term rentals: two one-bedroom and one two-bedroom units. The idea is that the downstairs taproom will be a place for short-term guests to socialize.

Founded in 2014 by Jake Saunders and Dan Mason, Trailway has expanded from a small, home brewing setup to a taproom with several 30-barrel and 10-barrel fermenters, as well as a candlepin bowling alley featuring their beers, called The Drome.

McIntosh was the manager at The Drome until undertaking the Saint John project.

Now, Trailway has ambitions to expand outside of Fredericton, with sales of cans in Quebec coming to fruition in 2020, and the Saint John location on tap for 2023.

“We have a large following down here to people who regularly make the commute to Fredericton,” McIntosh explains, noting that he is moving from his native Fredericton to be the general manager at this new location.

“Saint John seemed like a good fit.”

Looking even further into the future, Saint John may not be the only market Trailway has its eye on for expansion, but the main focus right now is to get the Saint John taproom up and running in the coming months.

“Opening here has been the 100 per cent concern outside of the ordinary function of business,” McIntosh says. “It seems like the right place and the right time.”

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


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