Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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The Sweet Taste of Success

Brian Allaway holding maple syrup bottles

As a boy helping his father tap maple trees in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Brian Allaway never dreamed that thanks to the family hobby, he would one day become the largest purchaser and processor of Nova Scotia maple syrup.

Thirty-two years ago the Allaways sold their first batch of maple syrup to the Sou’Wester Gift shop in Peggy’s Cove. A couple of weeks later the shop’s owner called Brian, asking if he had any more. That was just the beginning.

Today Acadian Maple – which employs close to 20 people in peak season – is still family owned and operated in Upper Tantallon, bottling an impressive 2,000 to 6,000 litres of pure maple syrup a week.

“When our son Brian William graduated from university, he said he wanted to turn our family hobby business into a full-time commercial enterprise,” explains Brian. “We started with maple syrup and now offer over 200 different products. Everything from maple wine to maple soap – if you’re looking for something maple, we probably have it.”

Although Acadian Maple products can now be found in major retailers throughout Atlantic Canada, the family hasn’t forgotten their roots.

“We still participate in farmers’ markets and sell to gift shops as well,” says Brian. “Our local clientele is very important to us, and we take pride in maintaining that personal touch.”

Acadian Maple’s new facility was designed with the public in mind. Large glass windows allow visitors to watch the bottling process first hand, and group tours enjoy samples while they learn about the syrup making process.

“Last year we had over 30,000 visitors, including 300 bus tours,” says Brian. “We see tourists from all over the world. Some of our international markets have opened up through a simple visit.

For instance, we had a Swiss businesswoman sample some of our syrup during a tour, and she asked for our contact information. A month later she emailed me asking for some of our syrup products, and five years later we now supply all the Starbucks in Switzerland with our maple syrup that is used for mini pancakes.”

According to Brian, ACOA has been instrumental in Acadian Maple’s accessing international markets, specifically through participating in several ACOA-led trade missions.

“We’ve seen great opportunities come out of these trade missions,” says Brian. “They are educational for us as well, helping us better understand the global market for our products. It really opens your eyes, giving you the chance to talk to key people.”

maple syrup bottles

Brian also appreciates the financial advice they’ve received from ACOA, and the input from ACOA staff.

“Our current success wouldn’t have been possible without ACOA’s investment,” explains Brian. “The advice we’ve received has been invaluable.”

According to Brian, the secret to Acadian Maple’s success has been dedication to their product, and consistently creating a delicious result.

“At the end of the day, we want to ensure our customers get the best product possible.”

Published September 12, 2014