Glynn Williams: Authentic Seacoast Brewing Company
Authentic Seacoast’s Glynn Williams is not your average brewery owner. How many people can say they are the owner of a Toronto-based private equity firm, as well as a brewer, distiller and forager?
Williams personally collected spruce buds this past spring used in the production of their Spruce Ale, one of Authentic Seacoast Brewing Company’s (branded as Rare Bird Craft Beer) seasonal brews. The affable Williams, who is as comfortable talking about brewing maple beer as he is the global impact on the world’s beer market is a hands on owner and a tireless champion of Guysborough County. Williams had previously covered the global beer and spirits industries during his time as a securities analyst. As for his Authentic Seacoast Company, it is a multi-level hospitality operation, based in Guysborough, a piece of Nova Scotia Williams fell in love with a little more than a quarter century ago while on vacation. Williams originally took the gamble of restoring a local inn – the DesBarres Manor Inn — but the company now owns and operates Osprey Shores Golf Resort, the Rare Bird Pub, Authentic Seacoast Brewing Company, a café, store and bakery, a coffee roasting facility, artesian bottled water company and distillery. Although non-committal of the prospects of a winery, Williams has planted L’Acadie Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling and spoke highly of the virtues of growing grapes in Guysborough County.
Occasions: Why did you decide to produce beer?
We’ve been making beer here now for 10 years. It originally began as a brewpub designed to provide quality craft beer to locals and visitors alike. We’ve been blessed with great history there. In the 1650s, Nicolas Denys was granted the rights by royal warrant to open a number of businesses. One was the first commercial brewery in Atlantic Canada (1659). There are still hops growing wild here in small quantities. You can just imagine that they might also have been used by Nicolas Deny 350 years ago. Our beer, like our other products, is driven by authenticity and celebrating history and culture of the most beautiful place on planet, the Guysborough waterfront.
Occasions: Can you describe your brewery’s style?
Our style is not pretentions. We are true to our roots and true to the heritage and culture of our region. Over the years, we have developed a number of products. Our Pale Ale is our mainstay and most popular beer at the moment. It is 7% alcohol and is a little bit on the hoppy side. Our Full Steam Stout is also very popular. It is a blend of traditional Sweet Stout, along with our organic fair trade Full Steam Coffee and also uses dry licorice root to add additional flavour. The idea is to use natural ingredients, great water and continue to be innovative on the product front while still being authentic and memorable. Our source of water is also very important. We have an amazing well which blesses us with ample naturally alkaline water that is recharged from the Milford Haven River System, which has no industrial development. It is so good that we started a water bottling business and are now selling our water under the brand name “Glanburn™”.
Occasions: You’ve now transitioned to bottled beer. What was the motivation?
In the early days, we were making beer primarily for the brewpub but we really needed to get to the point of selling to the NSLC. We are fortunate to have the NSLC as a partner, a corporation that is helping the craft brewing industry grow at a healthy rate. Even though NSLC doesn’t necessarily have an economic development mission, it does provide opportunity. Our partnership with NSLC has led to folks in our community taking greater pride in what we are doing here at Authentic Seacoast. When our beer appeared on the shelves of the NSLC, people in the community commented “that must be good.” It was the same beer we sold before but it was an important external affirmation. The goal and desire is to use as much local ingredients and talent as possible with the aim to serve the local market but wouldn’t it be wonderful to develop an export product for other parts of Canada, the US and elsewhere? I’ve scaled the brewery to help us achieve that goal. Two years ago we tripled the fermentation capacity. We’ve almost completed a new building next to the golf course with new fermentation equipment. Our productive capacity will increase by 15 to 20 times. We won’t run out of beer.
Occasions: You are constantly developing new products and experiences in Guysborough. Will this continue?
The idea is to create an Authentic Seacoast experience that touches on so many different things. We create memorable experiences. As we continue to progress we will continue to deliver amazing experiences that people will find interesting.
Local Supporting Local
The NSLC, Authentic Seacoast & The FoodStruck Cantina are partnering to bring a little local flavour to the Wyse Road NSLC (210 Wyse Road) this Halloween. Join them on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a free sampling of Authentic Seacoast craft ale paired with gourmet slider courtesy of The Foodstruck Cantina or a sample of rum punch provided by Authentic Seacoast Distillery. For a full story see next week’s section of Occasions.
Get introduced to the brewers behind two of Nova Scotia’s most established microbreweries, Garrison Brewing Company and Propeller Brewery.
Rare Bird Pale Ale, 4 x 500 ml, $14.99
Rare Bird Full Steam Stout, 660 ml, $6.99