Nova Scotia Brew Pubs Now Allowed to Sell Beer To-Go!

*Updated Below (because at LT this really is the closest thing to breaking news!)*

Big news, fellow craft beer lovers.

If you are anything like us, you’ve had more than a few conversations about Nova Scotia’s liquor laws when it comes to growler sales from brew pubs.

You know what I’m talking about…back-door deals at Paddy’s that require a set of instructions:

  1. Purchase a growler at the bar.
  2. Collect your receipt.
  3. Walking outside, then around the building to the side door.
  4.  knock three times
  5.  Hand your receipt to another staff person
  6. Collect your growler.

Or the call-ahead rules at Rock Bottom.

  1. Call the day/night before
  2. Staff receive your order and fill your growler before the pub opens.
  3. Growler gets placed in a cooler just outside the door of the pub.
  4. Enter the pub and pay.
  5. Have staff escort you out of the pub and to the cooler to get your growler.

Well, all of that is about to change.. release announced that legislation has been passed to allow microbrewery customers to buy a take-home bottle of their favorite local brew right from the bar.

From the press release:

 “Changes to the Liquor Licensing Regulations, effective today, Jan. 29, allow beer made in-house to be sold from the pub instead of having to be purchased from an adjacent, segregated storefront.

“It’s about convenience and making it easier for microbreweries to do business,” said Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister Mark Furey. “These businesses can now serve their customers and avoid some of the extra red tape that has been burdensome for them. At the same time, the change does not increase access to liquor beyond liquor store hours.”

I can only begin to imagine the positive impacts this rule change will make, not just for locals but for craft beer tourism opportunities. As locals, we’ve become use to the necessary steps to take to make sure we can get our favourite beer to-go. We experienced the flip side of that coin while traveling through Quebec this summer. It was impossible to get a bottle or growler to go. At best, we could make an extra trek to a corner store in hopes they would have the bottle we wanted in-stock.

There will still be a few rules around the sale of growlers. The press release indicates that ” sale for offsite consumption is not permitted after 10 p.m”.

And, if you are visiting a pub for a glass of beer first, you’ll also have to purchase your growler last, “Brewpubs and microbreweries can now sell their product within the premises as long as the patron leaves after purchasing the bottle. The bottle must be sealed.”

From the release, “This is an encouraging step toward reducing the regulatory burden for Nova Scotia’s small business community,” said Jennifer English, senior policy analyst with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). “Small businesses consistently rank government regulations as a top concern, so any move to eliminate unnecessary red tape is a welcome one.”

We’ll cheers to that! Fingers crossed that the new rules will convince Hart and Thistle and Townhouse to start selling beer to-go!

UPDATE: Well, either Hart and Thistle saw it coming, or they have uncanny timing. Yesterday, just after the press release, Hart and Thistle tweeted…

Hart and Thistle Tweet


Looking to explore craft breweries and brew pubs in the province? Check out our Complete Craft Beer Guide to Nova Scotia!


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The Local Traveler

Two travellers' tales of finding adventure on the East Coast. This blog is dedicated to the best parts of travel, and to discovering, celebrating and promoting things to do in our corner of the world, and sometimes beyond. We especially love craft beer, day trips, romantic escapes, local food & hidden gems. Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and share tips and photos of your favourite East Coast adventures.

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