It’s a new take on a popular trend. While brewpubs offer customers a chance to fill up growlers full of beer, at a Parksville dairy farm, naturally, it’s milk on the menu. They’ve added a dispenser that’s believed to be the first of its kind on the continent.

“They’re ubiquitous in Europe, in central community areas,” says Raymond Gourlay of Morningstar Farm. “And there isn’t one in Canada or North America as far as we’ve been able to find”

The dispenser was custom-made in Switzerland. The cost was nearly $13,000 including shipping and installation. The farm did a soft launch last year. The price of milk is $2 a litre.

Barbara Smith has been a loyal customer since the machine went in.

“It’s quite a bit richer,” says Barbara Smith of Coombs. “It’s not like two per cent or one per cent or even just homogenized it’s just got a really good flavour.”

But getting this far has proven more complicated than you might imagine.

If you’re a new milk producer in the cottage industry program you can’t sell milk directly to consumers for 15 years so the milk from their 50 cow herd was used to make cheese.

“People have been asking us for years if we sell fresh milk because we’re a dairy farm,” said Gourlay.

Once they completed the program and having the equipment to pasteurize, they decided to go ahead with the dispenser.

“So we thought this was a fun way to offer something new and unique to the community to meet a demand,” said Gourlay.

At this point, they say they aren’t adding dispensers to other parts of the community because of logistical reasons such as transportation.

For now, the farm says the dispenser helps meet their goals of using less packaging and offering a fresh product directly to their customers.

“It would be less compelling I think if it was just kind of hooked up at your supermarket but it’s still a nice product. it’s super hyper fresh and super sweet and delicious,” said Gourlay.

And less than a year after they installed it, many here seem happy to get their fill in a new way.

Kendall Hanson