One Entrepreneur’s Battle to Bring Beer to Sober Island
Rebecca Atkinson hatched an ambitious plan to launch the first brewery on this aptly named Nova Scotian isle. Instead, her oyster-brewed stout ignited a turf war with a longtime oyster farmer.
Illustration by Sibel Ergener
This story is republished from MEL Magazine. MEL aims to challenge, inspire and encourage readers to drop any preconceived notions of who they're supposed to be.
When Rebecca Atkinson walked up to a wooden bar in Wales two years ago, she was surprised by one of the beers on tap — the Arbor Oyster Stout. The pump clip said it was “brewed with oysters,” and the bartender told her it had a “really roasty” flavor. Atkinson, a Nova Scotian and seafood fan, was intrigued. It was the only stout she’d ever seen that was made by adding whole oysters into the brew boil of malt, hops, yeast and water. She took a sip of the molasses-colored beer and inhaled the chocolate and coffee aromas emanating from its foamy head. Atkinson, now 27, was expecting to taste “brininess or minerality,” but to her disappointment, any oyster flavor was masked by roasted malt. Atkinson thought she could do better. She turned to her best friend, who was sitting beside her, and said: “We ne…