Todd Smith: Crafting a Career in Beer Knowledge

OCC_005 Todd CMYK

What inspired you to become a Retail Product Specialist?
To be honest, I started working at the Agricola Street NSLC 10 years ago. At the time, I needed a part time job and a friend told me to apply there. It’s funny, when I first started with the NSLC, I didn’t know anything about our products. I couldn’t tell you the difference between red and white wine — other than the colour. All beers were the same to me and rum went in Coke. Over time, I learned more and more about products. So much so that now I’m a Retail Product Specialist. Needless to say my product knowledge has come a long way since I started.

You’re now working at the Barrington Street store. What do you like about working there?
I love working in the South End. You’re in the centre of everything down here and you always hear what’s going on in the city. With the Seaport Market and the Cunard Centre around the corner, I can always count on something to be going on. Of course, Garrison Brewing is also just a couple blocks away. It sounds like your drink of choice is beer. Is it? I am a beer lover at heart. I know my way around wine and spirits, but I always come back to beer. My next step is to become a certified Cicerone, which is the beer equivalent of a Sommelier. It seems like a logical move for me. I think it would be a lot of fun and open new doors for me. I started, like most people in Nova Scotia, drinking Keith’s, but then I just kept trying new beers. I’d buy a case of Keith’s, but I’d also pick up one or two cans from the Beers of the World section. Some I loved, and others not so much. It’s all about trying new things. I have my core brands that I always go back to, but now I’m happy to try new and different beers when I get the chance.

What do you think of the local beer scene?
The craft beer scene in Nova Scotia is amazing right now. Every time you turn around there is a new microbrewery opening up or a seasonal beer from Propeller or Garrison coming out. The growth and rise in popularity has been meteoric in the last few years. It’s been a lot of fun to be a part of it. These days I am really enjoying Hell Bay English Ale. If you like a malty, full-flavoured beer, that’s a must try. The East Kent Golding India Pale Ale (IPA) from Garrison is outstanding as well. I think that’s the beer that really got me into IPAs. Of course, Boxing Rock is one of the hottest breweries in the province. You can’t go wrong with anything from them. Their Vicar’s Cross Double IPA is one of our bestsellers. That said, I still like some old favourites. If you take a look in my fridge, you’ll find some Schooner or Oland’s, though I’ve also become a big fan of Coors Banquet.

Todd’s Top 5 Halifax Beer Experiences
Bar Stillwell: If you’re looking to try some craft beers, Bar Stillwell is the first stop. It’s a fantastic beer bar on Barrington Street. They have a lot of rotating kegs. You never know what you’re going to find on tap there.

The Stubborn Goat Gastropub:
The Goat’ has great food and an extensive selection of local craft beer, including a delicious pale ale from a brewery in Cape Breton.

Garrison Brewing Company:
Garrison simply is a must visit.

Gahan House:
The newly opened Gahan House in Historic Properties is a wonderful spot to get a pint.

The Seaport Beerfest:
It’s one of my favourite events of the year. It takes place every summer and I highly recommend going. It has something for everyone. Beer and ciders from Nova Scotia, all over Canada, the USA, and beers from Ireland have been there the last few years.

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0