After a flurry of announcements in late 2017 many new breweries have spent the winter planning and starting construction. Interestingly, after eleven breweries undertook Environmental Assessment – a key part of planning a brewery in Newfoundland – in 2017, only two have registered (with one completed and the other withdrawn) in 2018. Coupled with government funding through ACOA becoming harder to obtain, this wave of new craft brewers, starting with Port Rexton, seems to have crested into the second generation of Newfoundland craft brewers. As this is Newfoundland there will always be more waves and, it is worth noting, this wave doesn’t get us very close to saturation in this market without years of growth from these producers.
In this post, we’re going to run down through all the breweries and aggregate updates on all of them and point you to where you can follow along with their stories. With so many new names, people, and places it can be daunting to follow along, so hopefully this can be a little quarterly update on what’s happening. We’re going to limit this list to breweries that have given some indication of starting construction at this point and cover a few of the announced but in planning breweries at the end.
Eastern Avalon Breweries
Let’s start with the Eastern Avalon where we’ll go through the three first wave breweries: Quidi Vid Brewing, Storm Brewing, and YellowBelly Brewery and Public House; before moving to updates about the new breweries: “The Fire Hall,” Landwash Brewery, Motion Bay Brewing Company, and Ninepenny Brewing.
Quidi Vidi Brewing Company (St. John’s)
Quidi Vidi is still undertaking renovations to its tasting room and getting ready to roll out some of the new beers brewed on its 3 BBL pilot system (see: “Local Microbreweries Launch New Association & A Pile of Events to Kick off Craft Beer Month”). Lots of work is going on down in the gut to get ready for the summer beer months and their new beers, Calm Tom Double IPA and Mad Mike’s Big Bad Belgian, have been met with positive reviews and brisk sales. More exciting stuff to come from the sounds of it.
Storm Brewing (Mount Pearl)
Storm continues to operate as usual with its Coffee Porter currently on NLC shelves.
YellowBelly Brewery and Public House (St. John’s)
Yellowbelly continues to produce seasonal offerings, with one coming out almost every month thus far this year (see: “YellowBelly Brewing Releases Partridgeberry Wheat Ale”). With their new retail location open and their airport pub underway (see: “Yellowbelly and Newfoundland Chocolate Co. opening at St. John’s airport in 2018“) 2018 isn’t just a big year for new breweries but also for Newfoundland’s first generation breweries.
“The Firehall” (St. John’s)
Expected 2018, Unknown Size
“The Firehall” has been in discussion for the past few years and it seems like construction is finally underway (see: “Something’s brewing at old firehall”). More information is expected soon and it seems likely that “the Firehall” will be a beer hall by the end of the year, though a final name and logo are still forthcoming.
Landwash Brewery (Mount Pearl)
Landwash is the last of the breweries here to have completed its Environmental Assessment, wrapping it up only last month. Having completed that and with development approved by Mount Pearl for their 181 Commonwealth location, Landwash is expected to be brewing on their 15 BBL system by the end of the year (see: instagram). For full disclosure, the author of this site is involved with Landwash Brewery, but for this post has only used publicly available information for all breweries including Landwash Brewery.
Motion Bay Brewing Company (Petty Harbour)
Motion Bay have been moving along with their proposal to put a brewery in the Fisherman’s Co-Op in Petty Harbour (see: instagram). They also just brewed a collaboration beer with Mill Street Brewpub in St John’s (see: instagram). With development ramping up, look to try Motion Bay beers brewed in Petty Harbour by the end of 2018 (see: instagram).
Ninepenny Brewing (Conception Bay South)
Ninepenny has taken possession of their brewery building on the main highway through Conception Bay South and have begun construction on their brewery space (see: instagram). More information is forthcoming, but they do have t-shirts for sale right now and look to be getting ready for a fall 2018 opening (see: instagram).
Western Avalon Breweries
The western Avalon has three breweries under construction right now competing to be the first brewery in the western Avalon to pour a pint.
Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company (Bay Roberts)
Following along on their social media, it seems that construction is well underway with Baccalieu Trail‘s Brewery in Bay Roberts. With cement pouring, it is expected that beer will also be coming from Baccalieu Trail sometime in 2018.
Brigus Brewing Co. (Brigus)
Expected 2018, Unknown Size – facebook
Brigus Brewing Co in Brigus has been a little more quiet on social media, though they have indicated a summer 2018 launch date for both the brewery and a public house in Brigus. Their facebook page – their only active social media account – has been requesting names for potential brands, so pop over and suggest a few (see: facebook).
Dildo Brewing Company (Dildo)
With a logo launch and a pickup on all social media platforms, Dildo Brewing Co. seems to also be ramping up for a summer 2018 opening. With growlers on route, it seems likely that you will also be able to try some Dildo beer in 2018.
Eastern/Central Newfoundland Breweries
This might be a big geographic area, but it lead the way with some of the first of the second wave of Newfoundland breweries with Port Rexton and Split Rock already operational and ScudRunner seemingly ready to open any day now.
Port Rexton Brewing Co. (Port Rexton)
Port Rexton continues to produce some of the most modern craft beer in the province, rolling out New England IPAs and barrel aged saisons through their retail space in St. John’s (see: Atlantic Canada Beer Blog). With summer incoming expect to see more and more happening out at the Port Rexton Brewery in Port Rexton with their tasting room being open seven days a week starting on May 4, 2018. Also look out for their Melee in the Market featuring their beers and beers from 2 Crows in Halifax (see: instagram).
ScudRunner Brewing (Gander)
Of all the breweries under construction on this list, ScudRunner seems to be the closest to pouring beer and being open to the public. Over the past few weeks they have teased on their instagram with pictures of brewing and beers being poured into ScudRunner glasses. Expect ScudRunner to be open very, very soon (see: instagram).
Split Rock Brewing Co. (Twillingate)
Split Rock opened last year and have been pouring upwards of nine beers at their hugely popular Stage Head Pub all winter. They are hiring for all sorts of pub related jobs for what should be a huge summer for this Twillingate brewery (see: instragram).
Western Newfoundland Breweries
Western Newfoundland seems to be one of the biggest developing areas for beer in the province with Crooked Feeder and Secret Cove in development with Western Newfoundland and Bootleg brewing already. With the potential of a 15 BBL system from Boomstick (who have completed their Environmental Assessment but have released no further information) the west coast could have the most craft beer per-capita in the province very soon.
Crooked Feeder Brewing Co. (Cormack)
Brewing, at least in a pilot sense, seems to have begun for Crooked Feeder. They have recently purchased a locally fabricated 2 BBL pilot tank which means production beer could be pouring from Crooked Feeder by the end of 2018.
Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. (Pasadena)
Western Newfoundland has been expanding their market throughout the winter, selling Crowlers (1L cans that act like growlers) in NLC locations as far as the Avalon. Despite some quality control issues (as discussed on the Newfermenters facebook group), there seems to be a strong effort to improve the brewing process and packaging to ensure that customers are not disappointed.
We’re excited to bring you a new round of cans. We’ve put a limited release into Corner Brook stores and will be distributing this batch of our pub ale in the Western NL region and St. John’s while quantities last.
We’ve made great strides in our cold process and are thrilled with the improvements. Stay tuned over the next couple weeks as we release new runs of Green Gardens and Beer: Tastes Like the Cans Says.
Thanks to all our supporters, critics, and even our vitriolics (Hey, I just made up a word!)
We’re always working to be better and that will never change no matter how good we get.
Bootleg Brew Co. (Corner Brook)
Bootleg opened in early 2018 to sell out crowds and hosted one of the first all-Newfoundland brewery features during the first craft beer month in Newfoundland (see: instagram). As production grows to keep up with demand, expect to see more beer coming from Bootleg in 2018.
Secret Cove Brewing Co. (Port au Port)
Finally, Secret Cove has begun construction on their 6000 sq. ft. faculty in Port Au Port. Pictures from their instagam reveal a massive amount of plastering in preparation of their brewery. No timeline has been announced aside from a later 2018 launch (see: Secret Cove’s website).
There are several more breweries in planning that either haven’t completed environmental assessment or have parked but inactive social media pages. Boomstick Brewing in Corner Brook, has completed its Environmental Assessment but no further information has yet to surface about the development. Iron Rock Brewing Company (facebook), proposed for Labrador City, pulled their Environmental Assessment after indicating on their facebook page that due to demand they may try to open at a larger size than initially proposed. RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company, proposed for St. Anthony, hasn’t registered any social media or an Environmental Assessment. Rough Waters Brewing Company (instagram/web), initially planned for Burin where they had completed an Environmental Assessment, seems to be planing to open elsewhere. Similarly little new has been announced for the Pig and Pepper Brewing Company (facebook) which has an inactive social media presence.
The Second Wave
With a number of summer 2018 openings coming up and with more coming in the fall 2018, 2018 looks to be the peak of the second wave of Newfoundland craft breweries. At the time of writing in April, Newfoundland has seven operating, independent, craft breweries. Three are from the first wave: Quidi Vidi Brewing (St. John’s), Storm Brewing (Mount Pearl), and Yellowbelly Brewery and Public House (St. John’s). Four are from the second wave: Port Rexton Brewing (Port Rexton), Western Newfoundland (Pasadena), Split Rock Brewing (Twillingate), and Bootleg Brew Co (Corner Brook).
If all the breweries that are currently in their spaces, completed Environmental Assessments, and under construction open we will have ten more: Scudrunner Brewing (Gander), Dildo Brewing Co (Dildo), Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company (Bay Roberts), Brigus Brewing (Brigus), Crooked Feeder Brewing Co (Cormack), Ninepenny Brewing (Conception Bay South), Secret Cove Brewing Co (Port au Port), Motion Bay Brewing Co (Petty Harbour), the Firehall (St. John’s), and Landwash Brewery (Mount Pearl). If all these breweries open this year, there will be seventeen independent breweries in operation in Newfoundland by the end of 2018. For four other breweries, including Boomstick Brewing (Corner Brook), Iron Rock Brewing Company (Labrador City), RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company (St. Anthony), Rough Waters Brewing Company (Unknown), it’s still to early to tell if they will be operational this year.
Keep in mind, many of these breweries are, even by microbrewery standards, very small with most producing under 1000 hL (or 10,000 L) annually. It will be a while until some of these breweries cross the 3000 hL line into a true production microbreweries and until we have four or five at that size Newfoundland will continue to be under-saturated with local, independent breweries. At this point only one, Quidi Vidi, is clearly above that line and who grows fastest of this new wave will be something very interesting to watch over the next few years as this wave establishes itself.
Still, rounding the corner to almost twenty breweries is a landmark in Newfoundland’s beer history and with a majority of the first wave keeping pace with the newcomers, the next few years of drinking beer in Newfoundland should be better than ever.