New Scotland Brewing Co.

Opportunity is Brewing

At almost half past five in the morning, Mike Gillespie wakes up and drives to the brewery to start making beer.

“When I have a bag of grain on my shoulder, the moment it hits the water there’s this waft of a wonderful smell,” Mike says. At that moment, he’ll think “this is why I’m doing this.”

Suddenly, he’s not tired anymore.

Brewing, Mike explains, has always been a part of his life. His father, a homebrewer himself, helped to instill this passion.

“From the age of seven, I remember sitting on the floor in the kitchen, a big green aluminium pot on the stove,” he describes. “[I was] shoveling tablespoons of sugar into the bottles, shaking them up and handing them to Dad to cap them.”

Mike says that in “Every part of my life, I’ve always made beer. At one point in time, I got good at it. Then I thought I might like to open a brewery.”

Mike met Kevin Saccary while the two were working in IT. On a trip to Newfoundland while collaborating on a project, Mike suggested that Kevin expand his existing clothing brand, New Scotland, into brewing. Kevin fully agreed.

Recruiting Kevin’s brother Scott, the three formed a partnership Mike affectionately refers to as “the doer, the dreamer and the skeptic.” The company incorporated, and in July of 2018 the brewery opened its doors.

While Mike says New Scotland Brewing Co. is primarily known as an India Pale Ale (IPA) brewery, customers can expect seasonal beers as well. “We do cider, we do mead, we do seltzer. Folks from out of town will usually try the more adventurous stuff, but when it comes to the lager, that’s the one that everyone will drink.”

In downtown Dartmouth, many people live a stone’s throw away from the brewery. Even their lager, Alderney Dry, reflects their community’s roots.

Having incorporated the iconic lion from the Nova Scotia flag into their branding, Mike explains that “Our community is our number one customer.”

Giving back to this community has been one of the team’s greatest accomplishments. In 2021, New Scotland partnered with the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia to change the way people think about mental illness and addiction through initiatives like the ROARback campaign. Mike explains that “It’s one thing to be a business and survive, but to be able to raise money for a cause, that’s pretty important. When you’re able to give back, that feels good.”

Finding a banking partner that could foster these community-oriented values was key. CUA, who supports the success of small businesses in Nova Scotia, was always the right fit for New Scotland Brewing Co.

Reflecting on how the team at CUA helped turn their dreams into a reality, Mike explains that “We needed capital, and there was a unique Nova Scotia Loan Guarantee program that CUA was offering.”

Working together towards the New Scotland Brewing Co. vision, Mike says, highlighted the CUA difference.

“There’s a different way of doing things at CUA,” he says. “They want you to succeed. They open the toolbox, keep you on track, keep you in check and advise you.”

Mike describes CUA as not just a bank, but a support system. “They’re there to make sure you don’t fail.”

Most recently, through a loan and line of credit with CUA, New Scotland Brewing Co. finished a “huge expansion” to their upstairs taproom, having built a kitchen and purchased new equipment.

In the future, Mike says that the team is looking towards buying a new brew house, which will enable them to make more beer and sell to a wider base. The big dream, he says, is a national brand across the country.

“I think Nova Scotia resonates with people a lot, regardless of where you’re from. So having that brand and that lion on a shelf everywhere you go across Canada, that’s our goal.”

In keeping community close to heart, CUA offers a unique financing program designed to empower small businesses in Nova Scotia to succeed. Learn more about the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program. Call us today at 902-492-6500 or email us at