New Brunswick introduces road signs telling visitors where the nearest beer is

Published: January 30, 2018

Road sign with a blue beer symbol Photo courtesy of Maybee Brewing Company

Finally, traffic signs are telling us what we really want to know.

In New Brunswick, blue signs have been put up on Vanier Highway telling drivers that there’s beer coming up. The signs mark the location of the Maybee Brewing Co., a microbrewery in Fredericton.

Paul Maybee, the founder of the brewery, was excited when the signs appeared, even though he knew they were coming. “When I saw it . . . I was a little bit surprised even though I had applied for it,” he told the CBC.

So how exactly does a brewery go about getting its own highway sign? It turns out it’s quite a simple process. Maybee simply requested it of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, who did a brief inspection. And now that he has done it, other breweries want to follow suit.

“As soon as I put on Instagram and Facebook that we have a highway sign . . . that day, I got four or five phone calls and messages from other breweries saying, ‘I didn’t know you could do this.'”

Still, some feel the signage could be more clear. The big frosty mug of beer depicted on the sign actually stands for “microbrewery,” but it could be mistaken as indicating a bar or other in-house drinking establishment.

“It suggests that you’re going to be able to pull off the highway to a sports bar or something and grab a quick cold beer,” David Coon, leader of the New Brunwick Green Party, told the CBC.

However, Johanne LeBlanc of the NB Craft Alcohol Producers Association said that the government came up with sign last year after the organization asked it to come up with a symbol to represent breweries, and that they worked with the government to develop with the sign.

While beer aficionados may disagree on what symbol best represents New Brunswick’s beer, everyone can agree that the growing microbrew industry in the province worth letting tourists know about. “We have a great microbrewery industry in New Brunswick and we need to tell everyone about it,” said David Coon.

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