By Kim Stoodley, Special to The Weekly Press

ELMSDALE: It took approximately two and a half years from concept to customer. Years of planning, designing, re-designing, tasting and still more planning. And more tasting.

Now, after two record-breaking months of construction, brewing through renovations and first opening their doors next to Sobeys in the Elmsdale Shopping Centre on June 14, Chill St. Fresh Beer and Cider Market held its Grand Opening weekend July 29-31.

PHOTOS: Chill St. Brewery opens (Stoodley photos)

Chill St., the first freshly brewed craft beer and cider retail store in Canada, is owned and operated by Barry MacLeod. He, along with eight to ten hard working staff such as MacLeod’s “#2” Monique Gallant-Colpitts, are the driving and bottling forces behind Chill St.

The festivities began with the official ribbon cutting ceremony and throughout the afternoon, there was a barbecue, food and beer/cider tasting, games and snow cones for the kids while Stewiacke guitarist Casey May played in the background.

The Chill St. philosophy is about slowing down, kicking back, being positive and recognizing the important things in life. And chillin’. This relaxed attitude is reflected in all of their products, with names such as,Hants Down pilsner and Skinny Dipping apple cider.

The Sobeys location in Elmsdale was chosen for a few reasons.

Demographically, it fit. MacLeod said he wanted to bring the brewery to the traffic and choosing to pair the location with a leading grocery store allows the consumer to think about trying their beer and cider with food pairings. It’s not only the drink, but also what goes well with the drink.

“I think it’s fantastic having them here. It’s all about pairing the drink with food, so we can help pass that knowledge on to our customers, and help make those connections,” said Sobeys store manager Paul DeCoste. “I’ve seen lots of people going in and checking it out, it’s a great upgrade to our store!”

“We want to provide a craft beer retail experience that is accessible and convenient for all consumers, with something for everyone,” said MacLeod.

How has the response been in the community?

“Oh, we have awesome customers and many loyal followers already.” said MacLeod.

Chill St. is also helping raise money for CCOA (Corridor Community Options for Adults), a non-profit organization that supports individuals with disabilities.

For every Life’s A Beach Grapefruit Radler that is sold, $0.25 goes to CCOA. Following the ribbon cutting, a $1,500 cheque was presented to CCOA manager, Ross Young, from Barry MacLeod and Paul DeCoste.

Chill St. is open from Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.