Workspace of the Month: Inside Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing Co.

“We want it to feel like you’re in a brewery and you’re part of the brewing process,” says brewery co-founder Mark Huizink

In our Workspace series, CB is featuring interesting, smart-designed and one-of-a-kind spaces across Canada. From innovative home offices to out-of-the-box co-working spaces to unconventional setups—like this beauty company run out of a rural farmhouse and this carbon-bike company located in a former auto body shop—we are looking to showcase the most unique and beautiful spaces from all industries. This month we are profiling Halifax-based brewery, 2 Crows Brewing Co.

Smack dab in Halifax’s downtown, 2 Crows Brewing Co. opened its doors in 2017 right when the local brewery scene started to take off. But instead of co-founder Mark Huizink seeing that as a deterrent, he saw it as a good thing. “The more breweries that open, the more people will come to drink here,” he says. “And the more you produce locally, the more people are going to drink locally.”

Located on Brunswick Street at the bottom of a new 18-storey residential building, 2 Crows Brewing Co. is sandwiched between hotels and the sports and entertainment venue, Scotiabank Centre. Huizink, who has a background in accounting but always wanted to run his own business, co-founded the brewery with his wife, Kelly. The duo brought in head brewer Jeremy Taylor, who they met through a mutual friend, to dream up and craft the specialty beers, like the AC Light Lager, which is made with 100 per cent Atlantic Canadian ingredients. Taylor focuses on the brewing side of things and Huizink focuses on the business and financial side. 

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With a team of 13 people, 2 Crows Brewing Co. has established itself as a brewery that goes beyond traditional beer styles, with its fruity spritz series and unique blends, like the limited-edition collection of dessert-flavoured stouts (one was dubbed “liquid s’mores”). Not only does 2 Crows Brewing Co.’s beer stand out when it comes to flavour, but its colourful cans—designed by Alex MacAskill, founder of Halifax’s Midnight Oil Print & Design House—are also easy to spot on the shelves of liquor stores across Canada. 

All of 2 Crows Brewing Co.’s beer is brewed and canned inside its cozy 408-square-metre facility that’s fitted with a production area, a taproom that seats about 50, and a patio out front. When Huizink first viewed the space, it was an empty room with a gravel floor, and impressively high ceilings. “It was a completely blank canvas,” he says. Those bare 9 m x 9 m walls needed some punch, so he hired local artist Christian Toth to paint a large, colourful geometric design. “The industrial look of the space was great, but we needed something to brighten it up,” says Huizink. The art piece overlooks the main taproom, which doubles as an event space where the brewery hosts everything from intimate concerts to clothing swaps and fundraisers.

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No interior designer was hired for the 69-square-metre taproom. Instead, the brewery owners worked with its rustic vibe and sourced furniture from local makers. The tables and benches were created by Going Coastal, a small furniture business on the south shore of Nova Scotia, while the bar and countertops were made by Bedford-based Mill-Right Woodworking Inc. “I really love the feeling in the taproom,” Huizink says. “I like that you can be sitting at a table and watch the beer being brewed.” 

Here’s a look inside.

Inside 2 Crows Brewing Co.
Upon entering the taproom, visitors are greeted by local visual artist Christian Toth’s vibrant mural. “We had some fun with it and went for a retro, 80s/90s kind of look,” Huizink says. (Photograph: Grant Chisholm)
Barrels inside 2 Crows Brewing Co. with workers
Everett Gallagher, the assistant brewer, transfers wort (the sugary liquid extracted from the mashing during the brewing process) to one of the large barrels in the production area of the brewery. (Photograph: Tessa Frey McLean)
Taylor, Gallagher and lead brewer Miles Bishop pose with their award-winning beer, the Classic Maritime Dry Stout, after it was recently crowned ‘Best New Beer’ by Brewers Journal Canada
Jeremy Taylor, Gallagher and lead brewer Miles Bishop pose with their award-winning beer, the Classic Maritime Dry Stout, after it was recently crowned “Best New Beer” by Brewers Journal Canada. (Photograph: 2 Crows Brewing Co.)
Barrels inside 2 Crows Brewing Co.
When sitting in the taproom, visitors can see the barrels where the beer is fermenting—a peek behind the curtain. “We want it to feel like you’re in a brewery and you’re part of the brewing process,” Huizink says. (Photograph: Tessa Frey McLean)
Tanks inside 2 Crows Brewing Co. where the beer is made
This is where all the brewing action happens. The beer production area is equipped with fermentation vessels, barrels, tanks and more. (Photograph: Tessa Frey McLean)
The patio of the Halifax brewery 2 Crows Brewing Co with people sitting on it
With a capacity of 45 people, the dog-friendly street-level patio sits out front of the brewery and really pops off in the warmer months. “We make beer slushies in the summer, so we’re all looking forward to bringing those back,” Huizink says. (Photograph: Grant Chisholm)