Industries Aren’t Built by Procrastinators

Posted Nov 21, 2014

Glynn Williams fell in love with Nova Scotia 26 years ago while on vacation and it completely changed his life.

He bought a 130 year old farmhouse by the ocean, and brought his family out for summer vacations — quietly getting to know the area and soaking up its peace.

He was intrigued by Guysborough — a beautiful coastal town, rich in history, that was struggling to keep its Main street alive after years of outmigration. It was unknown whether it was possible to reverse the community’s fortunes. There was potential, Glynn believed, but someone needed to take the plunge – there was plenty of risk and much local scepticism to overcome.

He started out by transforming an 1837 manor home into one of Canada’s most romantic hotels, reopening a pub in a former 1929 general store and making it into one of Canada’s top 10 craft beer destinations, and then converting a tired store into a lively café and shop. Then came a golf resort on the harbour and this family of businesses became known as Nova Scotia’s Authentic Seacoast™.

While tourists came to Guysborough in the summer months, Glynn knew the village needed more if it was going to reverse almost a century of population decline and see an infusion of investment and job creation on a sustainable basis. “It was like a light bulb went on,” recalls Glynn. “I realized that we needed to be creating products — really authentic products — right here, within the community that we could take to markets far and wide, to bring back the proud trading history that had helped build Guysborough into one of Nova Scotia’s leading communities in the 18th and 19th centuries.” So he created Harbour Belle Bakery and a certified fairtrade organic coffee-roasting company – Full Steam Coffee. A bottled water business – Glanbùrn Artesian Water – was launched in 2013.

He opened and expanded his craft brewery – Rare Bird Craft Beer – that began producing award-winning ales. “Being blessed with fantastic water in Guysborough, and by collecting local ingredients, whether they be hand-picked spruce buds, pumpkins fresh from the patch or maple sap directly from the bush, we’ve been able to create flavours in our hand-crafted real beers, second to none”, says Glynn.

He worked with a local soap-maker to create a line of goat’s milk soaps using sea kelp, rum, blueberries and his own beer and roasted coffees. Lavender, fresh from Fortress of Louisbourg, became an essential ingredient in his heritage soap – Louisbourg 1713.

All along, Glynn was working towards the goal of honouring Nova Scotia’s sea-faring history with a line of spirits from Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company. Launching with three varieties of Sea Fever  Premium rum – Amber, Spiced, and Coffee Maple – these quality, handcrafted rums each have distinctive flavours that speak to the unique seacoast experience on Chedabucto Bay. More are on the way.

It’s been a long road – with plenty of red tape, and very challenging logistics and supply issues – but he couldn’t be happier to be launching his prized rums.

“It gives me great pleasure to be with a tremendous team of hard working men and women, who share a passion to celebrate our heritage and see the rebirth of this beautiful community on the Guysborough harbour” says Glynn.

“We’re bringing history to life in an authentic and memorable way and, like the strong winds off the bay, I think it’s going to blow people away when they try it.”