Mill Street spills the tea for Pride

The brewer partners with drag queen Lemon to revive its Lemon Tea Ale, the latest way it's supporting community causes with beer.


Mill Street Brewery is celebrating Pride by partnering with a Canadian drag superstar and relaunching an old favourite under a new name.

The brewer, in partnership with drag star Lemon, launched a limited-edition run of Spill the Tea Lemon Wheat Ale on Friday. The ale is a refresh of the brewer’s Lemon Tea Ale, “the first craft beer we ever launched in cans,” says Sam Jacobs, VP of marketing for Mill Street.

PINT&CAN 002The ale, which was renamed in reference to a phrase rooted in drag culture, is available for sale exclusively through Mill Street’s Toronto and Ottawa brewpubs. For every can sold, the brewer is donating $1 to Rainbow Railroad, an international charity that helps members of the global LGBTQ+ community escape violence and persecution.

The brewer has been a sponsor of Pride since 2006, and the new partnership is the latest example of how Mill Street supports community initiatives through beer sales, Jacobs says.

As one example, he points to the recent release of Celebrating Sisters Raspberry Wheat Ale, brewed for an event of the same name co-ordinated by the Indigenous Brew Crew and Do Better Be Better to raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada and support the Women’s Native Resource Centre.


These kinds of partnerships give Mill Street an opportunity to give back to the community, Jacobs explains.

“One of our company values is being passionate about the things that we stand for and being authentic,” he adds, noting that its partnership efforts are often employee-driven.

Mill Street plans to host numerous Pride events during June as pandemic restrictions allow, and Spill the Tea will be part of those festivities, Jacobs says. Among the events it has planned are “a series of drag brunch events,” including one to be hosted by Lemon at the Toronto brewpub in early July as a Pride month wrap-up.

“Our hope is that we get as many cans into peoples’ hands as we can, and donate as much as we can to Rainbow Railroad,” he says, noting that if the beer sells well and demand is proven at the brewpubs, Spill the Tea may receive a wider retail release.

The redesign of Spill the Tea was developed in-house, in partnership with Lemon, Jacobs says. Mill Street also handled a social push on Mill Street and Lemon’s channels, beginning today to coincide with the beer’s launch.