FREDERICTON (GNB) – A new campaign was launched today, pairing New Brunswick’s traditional maple syrup industry with the growing craft beer industry.

“New Brunswickers want the government to make investments to develop economic opportunities. The New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan outlines selected opportunities to grow the economy and create job opportunities for New Brunswickers,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet. “Tourism, particularly food and beverage tourism, as well as the maple syrup industry, are key opportunities.”

Doucet spoke on behalf of Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister John Ames.

The two sectors are creating Sticky Season, a campaign encouraging families to explore New Brunswick’s participating sugar bushes, or enjoy a maple beer at participating craft breweries. Thirteen craft breweries and distilleries have teamed up with six maple syrup producers to create this product and promote each other’s experiences.

A list of the paired craft breweries and maple syrup producers is available online.

New Brunswick is one of the world’s top maple syrup producers, and the government has identified maple syrup tourism as an economic development opportunity.

“March is maple month, and what better way to celebrate than by combining New Brunswick's maple syrup with New Brunswick's craft beers?” said Louise Poitras, executive director of the New Brunswick Maple Syrup Association. “Agri-tourism is the fastest-growing segment in the travel industry, and this provincewide initiative is a great example of where the provincial government creates an opportunity and partnerships come together. New Brunswickers and tourists want to have more of a connection with their food. It is all about a truly authentic and unique tasting experience.”

While microbrewery products account for about three per cent of the provincial beer market, the province’s craft microbreweries are capable of meeting up to 30 per cent of demand, indicating strong growth potential in this sector.

“Craft breweries are always seeking new and interesting partnerships with other New Brunswick businesses," said Stephen Dixon, president of the New Brunswick Craft Brewers Association and owner of Grimross Brewing. “Our experience with local producers of fruit, honey, maple syrup and hops has been fantastic, and propels us to be innovative and create new local products.”

In 2015, direct and indirect economic spinoffs of the microbrewery sector amounted to $8.3 million. Cider and spirits have become increasingly popular in New Brunswick and abroad, showing potential for growth.