Keeping it Craft & Cold – Our Ultimate Craft Case from the Summer of 2022

It has been a long time coming but the summer of 2022 saw the return of family and friends getting together at the cottage or weekend barbeques on the deck.  Plus, it saw us get back to day trips to the beach, bonfires, and the much-needed return of festivals of all types after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus and enjoying a few adult beverages with the ones that we love.  


While celebrating life getting back to normal, well as normal as it gets around here, this is what we had in our cooler this summer as we put together our Ultimate Craft Case from the Summer of 2022 project.  Some have stood the test of time from the Ultimate Graft Cooler last year and there are a few new ones that were a huge hit with the team this summer as we compile our must-haves for your coolers, ice box or fridge for summer and the rest of the year.


Earl Grey Mule | Vodka | 6.9% ABV
Black Diamond Distillery | St. Albert, AB, Canada

The award-winning Black Diamond Distillery is located in St. Albert, Alberta, co-owners, Andrea and David Scade feel strongly about producing all their own alcohol. They don’t believe that true craft spirits can be produced using shortcuts like flavour additives or mass-produced spirits. While certainly not the most profitable or efficient means of production, they have strived to stay true to the quality and authenticity of what they produce, using natural, pure, organic (when possible) ingredients. The couple is proud of what they create and never waiver from the truest form of their craft and are focused on the belief that their customers deserve the best experience we can give them, their friends and family.

Spotlight on Business Magazine had the honor to feature Black Diamond Distillery in our August 2020 Issue know that they are a good thing as they head for this award-winning distillery as they expanded their market exposure.

Black Diamond Distillery’s Earl Grey Mule is made with all-natural ingredients; filtered water, Earl Grey Vodka, ginger-pepper syrup [water, ginger, black pepper, beet sugar] and lime juice.  This perfectly mixed ready-to-drink canned cocktail is ready for any event.  We hope you love it as much as we do as we know that we will be ordering more of these that is for sure!!!


Zombie | Rum | 7.0% ABV
Black Fly Beverage Company | London, ON, Canada

Black Fly Beverage Company, Ontario’s first micro-distillery was founded in 2005 by husband & wife Rob Kelly and Cathy Siskind-Kelly after being awarded the first Distillery License granted in Ontario in over 100 years.

Like the iconic Canadian insect after which the company is named, Black Fly started small with the determination to fly under the radar and deliver a mighty bite. Since that time, Black Fly has successfully developed and launched a line-up of unique premium spirit beverages that speak to what today’s consumers are looking for; innovative “Not too sweet” quality ready-to-drink beverages.

Their vision was to create more natural and less sweet premium spirit beverages using quality ingredients and with your first sip of their, Zombie Rum Mixed Drink you experience the exhilarating taste of blended aged rums and real lime, apricot and pineapple juices that has been lightly sweetened with cane sugar.

Forget to put them in the cooler, no problem their non-breakable, resealable bottles with wide mouth open allows lots of room to add ice so you can enjoy right away while the others are on ice in the Ultimate Cooler.


Island Time | Lager | 4.3% ABV | 15 IBU
Breton Brewing | Sydney, NS, Canada

What happens when two friends who always shared a passion for homebrewing come together?  Well after brewing batch after batch in their kitchens, garages, and driveways (of which their neighbours often mistook as lobster), they honed their skills over the years while working in professions, until their entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and the process of several years of dreaming and planning for what would become Breton Brewing Co. in June of 2015 with keg and growler sales.  They were welcomed throughout the community of Sydney and Nova Scotia with open arms. A year later, in 2016, Breton launched its cans in the NSLC, and has since expanded to Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador. Breton Brewing Co started with just 3 employees and now has grown to an amazing team of 20+ people with 14 different beer offerings like their Island Time Lager.

Spotlight on Business Magazine was fortunate to speak with Bryan and Andrew the founders of Breton Brewing when we features the company in the February 2019 Issue although the labels on the can have changed, thankfully what comes inside is as clean and refreshing now as it was then and why it has been one of our favorites long before the Ultimate Craft Cooler Project was even an idea and one that we always have on ice.

This Munich Helles Lager is brewed with care, to be enjoyed in good time. Savour the bright, malty character of this clean, refreshing beer that regardless of where you drink it that’s you to a happy place of swaying palms and sandy beaches.


Pink Lemonade | Vodka |5.0% ABV
Coldstream Clear Distillery | Stewiacke, NS, Canada

Spotlight on Business Magazine had the honor to feature the team at Coldstream Clear Distillery in our September 2020 Issue.  Coldstream Clear was clearly making an impact in Atlantic Canada’s vibrant distillery industry then and continues to be a leader in the industry today with delicious, mouth-watering flavours invite consumers of the popular Coldstream Clear brand to share in the founders’ vision of sipping a favourite drink while enjoying the company of friends.

Pink Lemonade is only one of the many newly released ready-to-drink canned beverages by Coldstream Clear Distillery to hit the market this past summer and has been a hit with both consumers and our editorial team making its way to our 2022 Ultimate Craft Cooler.

Fresh pink lemonade flavours of raspberry and strawberry combined with natural lemon create the perfect balance of sweetness with a natural lemon zest and just the right amount of vodka giving this non-carbonated beverage and smooth and refreshing taste.


Sour Cherry Lemonade | Vodka | 5.0% ABV
Coldstream Clear Distillery | Stewiacke, NS, Canada

Another one of Coldstream Clear Distillery’s latest ready-to-drink canned beverages, Sour Cherry Lemonade, hit the market this past summer and has been another homerun with consumers and was hands down our editorial team’s official drink of the summer making its way to our 2022 Ultimate Craft Cooler for every event that we attended this summer, and we have a feeling that it will be the go-to beverage of choice for some time.  But don’t take our work for it give it a try for yourself.

This ready-to-drink beverage offers natural flavours of cherry and lemon with just enough sourness and just the right amount of vodka that make this non-carbonated beverage so refreshing on a hot day.  Which is just one of the many reasons that it will be in the cooler on ice or in the fridge all year long.  Oh, and did we mention that it also comes in a 4-litre box for sharing with friends, we will go with that.

Both Coldstream Clear Distillery’s Pink Lemonade and Sour Cherry Lemonade will have you wishing that we could restart summer all over again, so that you could have this in your cooler, with your butt in the sand and your toes in the water.


Hard Seltzer | Black Cherry | 5.0% ABV
Colliding Tides | Charlottetown, PE, Canada

Colliding Tides, which is a division of PEI Brewing Company out of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island was established in 2013.  However, the Colliding Tides brand came on the market in 2019 and it has been making waves ever since.  The name of the brand comes from a wild phenomenon that happens off PEI’s East Point and North Cape twice a day. Two tides blend together in a mixture of Mother Nature’s making and what inspired them to create these small batch craft cocktails. 

Colliding Tides does it again with their Black Cherry Hard Seltzer, a perfectly mixed ready to drink vodka beverage that is a supremely refreshing hard sparkling water with clean, simple black cherry flavours and best of all no sugars, carbs, or preservatives.

Colliding Tides’ Black Cherry Hard Seltzer is definitely a ready-to-drink beverage that needs to be on your must-have list and in your cooler or fridge all year long, but you might want to save these ones for yourself as they are that good and why they are in our Ultimate Cooler again for 2021.


Bikini Blonde | Lager | 4.8% ABV | 21 IBU
Maui Brewing | Maui, HI, USA

Maui Brewing Company out of Hihie, Maui, Hawaii, was founded in 2005 and is Hawaii’s largest craft brewery, operating 100% in Hawaii.  For Maui Brewing Company, success means having the confidence in their unique citrus, mango, pineapple and coconut beers, and other ready-to-drink beverages, sharing a true taste of the islands.

Spotlight on Business Magazine featured Maui Brewing Co in our October 2017 Issue and they have not shown any signs of slowing down with product offerings.

Maui Brewing’s Bikini Blonde offers drinkers a clean, crisp and refreshing lager with low bitterness and a caramel malt sweetness which makes it perfect for any occasion and in our Ultimate Craft Cooler every time when we can get some shipped to us here on the East Coast.


Blue Lobster Vodka Soda | Rocket | 6.0% ABV
Nova Scotia Spirit Company | New Glasgow, NS, Canada

The Nova Scotia Spirit Co., located in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, believes that everybody deserves to pour premium quality spirits in their glass and have been delivering just that since 2015.  Whether it is their award-winning, small-batch spirits, their amazing lineup of ready-to-drink beverages or their new Painted Boat Beer Co. Lager, they have something to keep you refreshed all year long while spending time with friends and family.

Nova Scotia Spirit Company’s Blue Lobster Vodka Soda – Rocket offers a trip back in memory lane for those of us that have enjoyed a tri-coloured rocket popsicle treat in the past. The Rocket is a perfect blend of Blue Raspberry and Cherry Lemonade, while cutting back significantly on sugar so you can enjoy a few of these and not worry about fitting into your swimsuit or jeans the next day.  It is a fun flavored treat that you can enjoy all year long and that is why it is in our Ultimate Craft Cooler again for 2021.


Blue Lobster Vodka Soda | Pink Lemonade | 6.0% ABV
Nova Scotia Spirit Company | New Glasgow, NS, Canada

Blue Lobster Pink Lemonade offers a freshly squeezed lemonade punch, with a perfect balance of sweet, sour and tart flavours. Crafted with award-winning Blue Lobster Vodka and juice from local fruit, this refreshing blend of strawberry, cranberry and lemonade will quench any thirst with only a fraction of sugar compared to similar coolers on the market.

With a deep rose colour, it’s great from the can, in a glass over ice or shared on the patio in a pitcher with friends as you share stories of summers past as plans a made for next summer.  We do not know where you will go but Blue Lobster’s Pink Lemonade will be going with you.


Beach Chair | Lager | 4.5% ABV | 12 IBU
PEI Brewing Company | Charlottetown, PE, Canada

Their roots go back to 1997 when Murphy’s Brewing Company, later renamed the Gahan House Brewery, opened in Charlottetown. The brewery grew over the next 15 years and by 2012, they were ready to expand and that’s when the PEI Brewing Company was born. They now brew and distribute the Gahan line of handcrafted ales along with Beach Chair Lager, which is the first canned craft beer ever produced in Atlantic Canada.

PEI Brewing Company’s Beach Chair Lager is an ode to malt and hops, our approachable craft lager is made with only top-quality Canadian Pilsner malts, spicy European noble hops, and lager yeast. After lengthy cold conditioning, the resulting clean character allows the malt and hops to sing out!

Beach Chair Lager is light and refreshing. Perfect for a summer day or enjoying some amazing county music at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival.  Don’t worry you can enjoy off the Island as it is available everywhere.  Pick up a case at your local beer store, pull out the cooler and fill it with ice, grab a chair, turn on Spotify and sing along as you relive the summer that was 2022.


Crafty Radler | Grapefruit & Tangerine | 4.7% ABV | 5 IBU
Pump House Brewing | Moncton, NB, Canada

Pump House Brewing has been proudly brewed in Moncton, New Brunswick since 1999, Pump House has been named Canada’s “Brewery of the Year” and is a favourite of discriminating beer drinkers across Canada and is available in every province except Saskatchewan and Quebec. Why the name Pump House, well one of the founders is a retired firefighter from the Moncton Fire Department.  Why should you try their beer? Well, let’s just say that you will be sorry if you don’t!

This is the one that we call the “Original” and in our humble opinion, it is the best Radler on the market bar none, craft or macro brewery.  Pump House Brewing’s Crafty Radler – Grapefruit & Tangerine is the perfect mix of ale and grapefruit and tangerine soda.  Yes, it might be a little cloudy from the added juice, but we don’t mind and feel you will be the same.  The Crafty Radler is not only the taste of summer, but also the smell as once you crack one open the refreshing mixture gives off a smell of ripe, freshly sliced grapefruit with sweet notes of ripened tangerines with every drink.  If this is not in your fridge or cooler then you are missing out in our opinion, enough said!


Marigold | Blonde Ale | 5.0% ABV | 16 IBU
Sober Island Brewing | Sheet Harbour, NS, Canada

Sober Island’s nearest neighbour is the town of Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia.  We say this because once you try it you will be looking for it on a map.  Its history dates back to the late 1700s when some no-nonsense folks put down the roots for one of Nova Scotia’s premier logging settlements. Then, very much like now you had to be hard-working and tough-as-nails, and not much has changed.  However, in 2015 it became the home for Sober Island Brewing Company.  The next time you are in Nova Scotia stop by for a visit to the brewery.  You will not be disappointed in the beer or their hospitality.

Sober Island Brewing’s Marigold is an easy-drinking, smooth, and refreshing blonde ale.  The Marigold flower can be found throughout Nova Scotia in early summer, and it calls on sunny days ahead. These bright yellow flowers add as much colour to the landscape as this beer will add to your weekends, wherever your travels take you and why this blonde Ale from Nova Scotia’s rugged ol’ Eastern shore is back on ice in our Ultimate Craft Cooler for 2021.

Let us know what favorite craft beverage was in your cooler this summer as we start working on a potential list of nominees for our 2023 Ultimate Craft Cooler.


Please remember to always drink responsibly! 

by Lee Ann Atwater