An Ontario brewery and a Quebec brewery have teamed up to create a new beer that they hope will highlight what they see as unreasonable interprovincial trade barriers.

The limited run Gerard Comeau Brut IPA was launched on Thursday at Flora Hall Brewing in Ottawa and simultaneously across the Ottawa River at Brasserie du Bas-Canada in Gatineau, Que.

The breweries are about 10 kilometres apart, but provincial rules mean customers from either brewery can’t legally buy some bottles and then drive across the bridges flanking Parliament Hill.

The brew is named in honour of Gerard Comeau, who was fined $240 plus administrative fees in 2012 for driving into his home province of New Brunswick with beer he had purchased in Quebec.

Comeau challenged the fine in court, but New Brunswick fought against him and the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of New Brunswick’s law in April.

Dave Longbottom, owner of Flora Hall, said he hopes that people who see the beer will Google Comeau’s name and find out about the laws.

He said he’d like to sell beer in other provinces but to do that “you’ve got to deal with the provincial control board.”

Doing so “turns out to be a bad business so nobody does it,” Longbotton said. “For smaller craft beers, there’s a barrier there that’s just too high,” he added.

Longbottom said he hopes to find breweries in other provinces interested in collaborating on other types of Gerard Comeau beers. He also said he has Comeau’s blessing to use the name.

Marc-Andre Cordeiro Lema, owner of Brasserie du Bas-Canada, said the goal is “to prove a point, to say our commerce laws involving alcohol are crazy.”

Eli Wallace, a brewer who works for Lema, said he enjoyed collaborating on the new brew, which he describes as “very dry, very effervescent, highly carbonated (and) big on hops flavour and aroma.”

He also thinks it’s “fantastic” that it could bring attention to the trade laws.

“There’s a city of a million people (across the river) that don’t really know our product and don’t really have access to our product,” he said.

In 2016, Conservative MP Dan Albas put forward a motion calling on the federal government to ask the Supreme Court to hear the Comeau case and to recognize that it's a constitutional right for Canadians to trade with each other. The New Democrats and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May supported the motion, but the Liberals voted it down citing their desire for a comprehensive agreement on interprovincial trade.

Last year, before the Comeau case was decided, an online poll of 1,103 Canadians found that 89 per cent agreed they should be able to bring any legal product from one province to the other, and 78 per cent of respondents who had heard of the Comeau case believed he should win.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver

Nous vous annonçons que la journée de lancement de la Gérard Comeau, notre Brut IPA brassée en collaboration avec Flora...

Posted by Brasserie du Bas-Canada on Tuesday, July 10, 2018