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Defining the Second Wave of Newfoundland Craft Beer

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a key part of planning a brewery in Newfoundland – in 2017, only two have registered (with one completed and the other withdrawn) in 2018.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.

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Rough locations of the Eastern Avalon breweries

qv_logo_temp3Quidi Vidi Brewing Company (St. John’s)

Opened 1996, 20 BBL system – twitter – instagram–  facebook

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 BREWING logo

Opened 1996, 7 hL system – twitterweb

Storm continues to operate as usual with its Coffee Porter currently on NLC shelves.

YellowBelly Brewery and Public House (St. John’s)421469_254532677986746_1540982760_n

Opened 2008, 10 hL system – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

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)logo_nowhite

Expected 2018, 15 BBL system – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

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)26734180_1911818935514169_4877421357700803483_n

Expected 2018, 10 BBL system – twitterinstagramfacebook

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)20171222-Profile2

Expected 2018, 15 BBL system – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

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).

Screenshot from 2018-04-16 12-27-29

Ninepenny Brewing’s Building in CBS, from 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.

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Rough locations of the Western Avalon breweries

Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company (Bay Roberts)30411509_1476803002430369_4522929780521172992_n

Expected 2018, 7 BBL system – instagramfacebook

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)brigus-brew-co

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)path7216

Expected 2018, expected 500 hL/year – twitterinstagramfacebook

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

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Rough locations of the 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)10348632_1662308620723263_8250040599029386789_n

Opened 2016, 4 BBL system – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

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)

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Expected 2018, 10 hL system  – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

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)18157026_1669612626678355_4387190011828608044_n

Opened 2017, expected 635 hL/year – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

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

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Rough locations of the 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)20729187_140725783189267_5837650312443964418_n

Expected 2018, expected 600 hL/year – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

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.

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Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. (Pasadena)

Opened 2016, Nanosystem – twitterinstagramfacebookweb

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.

Hello Newfermenters,
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.

(via Newfermenters)

Bootleg Brew Co. (Corner Brook)16865160_1676363839330268_5453051430844603323_n

Opened 2018, 3 BBL system, expected 600 hL/year – twitterinstagramfacebook

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.

Screenshot from 2018-04-16 12-57-51

One of the largest selections of Newfoundland Craft.. ever! Via instagram

Secret Cove Brewing Co. (Port au Port)

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Expected 2018, 7 BBL system – twitterinstagramfacebook

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).

 

In Planning…

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.

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What to Expect in Newfoundland Beer in 2018

Happy New Year! And what a year it’s shaping up to be for Newfoundland beer. We’ve got so many new breweries in the works and many of our existing breweries are turning a corner or expanding to offer more beer and ways to get it. Let’s run down through the projects and see what’s happening.

Oh, and if you haven’t already, check out the East Coast Crafted book by Whitney Moran and Christopher Reynolds. It puts a lot of this recent growth in context and shows just how much there is left to do even with this recent boom of breweries. While all the breweries coming up in Newfoundland might feel like a lot, for other provinces with similar populations we’re still playing a lot of catch up.

Let’s start with the first wave breweries. The legal dispute that seemed endless has finally settled for Quidi Vidi Brewing. With the end of the stalemate that held the brewery to business as usual there is a new sense of excitement that Quidi Vidi can pivot to a more craft-driven model with new beers alongside their classics like Iceberg. Yellowbelly Brewpub has opened a separate retail shop for their beers and pizzas a little further down Water Street and have also announced that they will be opening a full service restaurant at the airport in St. John’s. Meanwhile, Storm Brewing seems to be holding with their current lineup and availability of beers.

The opening of Port Rexton Brewing ushered in a more modern, mainland facing and connected, era of craft brewing in Newfoundland. With co-owners Alicia McDonald and Sonja Mills pushing for a new school of craft breweries to open on the island, a wave of new breweries have announced their intention to open in the next year or two. Look out for their beer now in St. John’s at their retail location on Torbay Road.

Both Western Newfoundland Brewing Company is Pasadena and Split Rock Brewing in Twillingate opened and started pouring beer in 2017, so expect to see their products roll out to more places like Jack Axes who seems to be gunning for the mantle of best place in Newfoundland to try beer from here.  Both breweries (along with Port Rexton) were featured at Stillwell in Halifax for the launch of East Coast Crafted, which is perhaps the most beer from Newfoundland breweries ever poured off the island.

As for new breweries opening soon, Scudrunner Brewing in Gander is expected to open in early 2018, with Dildo Brewing in Dildo and Secret Cove Brewing in Port au Port East are seemingly under development enough to be open in the coming year. Rough Waters Brewing Company in Burin is also targeting a spring release. The unnamed Firehall Brewery project on Duckworth Street (lead by Phil Maloney of Hey Rosetta! fame) in St. John’s might also be ready to pour beer this year.

In planning stages, Motion Bay in Petty Harbour, Ninepenny in Conception Bay South, and an upcoming Brewery Project in Mount Pearl are also looking to build up this year with either a late 2018 or early 2019 pouring date. Additionally, Crooked Feeder Brewing in Cormack and Bootleg Brew Co in Corner Brook are also still in the planning stages. As is Boomstick Brewing, also in Corner Brook, who have begun the stages of an environmental assessment. Additionally, Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company in Bay Roberts and the Brigus Brewing Company in Brigus have begun their environmental assessments. And RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company is hoping to have beer by 2019, too.

For those keeping track, the operating list includes Quidi Vidi, Yellowbelly, Storm, Port Rexton, Western Newfoundland, and Split Rock (6). The “in planning” list includes Scudrunner, Dildo, Secret Cove, Rough Waters, the Firehall project, Motion Bay, Ninepenny, the Brewery Project in Mount Pearl, Crooked Feeder, Boomstick Brewing, Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company, Brigus Brewing, RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company, and Bootleg Brewing (14). That’s potentially 20 breweries operating in the province by the end of 2018 or in early 2019.

At this development pace, Newfoundland could potentially have 20 breweries by 2020. For a province which for so many years was seeming locked at three craft breweries, these are exciting times. Which one are you most excited about? Something new or are you excited about more things from a brewery you’ve loved for years? With so many options about to come around, drinking good beer in Newfoundland is about to be much easier.

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NL Brewery News, August 2017

Let’s check in on the status of some brewery projects around the island. Here are a few news stories you should check out from the last few weeks.

If you’re interested in a great weekly update about all of Atlantic Canada, check out the Atlantic Canada Beer Blog which is updated every Friday with all of the news.

Western Newfoundland Brewing Company

The Atlantic Canada Beer Blog reports that WNBC will be releasing some new beers, one of which is a spruce beer inspired by James Cook, as per the CBC.

Split Rock Brewing Co.

Out in Twillingate, The Overcast reports that Split Rock will be operational soon  with seven, more English-inspired beers on tap. See page 11 of the July issue for more information.

Dildo Brewing Company

The Overcast also reports that the Dildo Brewing Company has won the  $12,500 Albedo Grant, which will help them get their interesting brewery and museum on the way to operating. See the cover story (pages 14-15) of the July issue of The Overcast for full details.

Port Rexton Brewing

Finally, Port Rexton was in Halifax pouring beer at the Seaport Beer Festival and got a chance to brew with the folks at 2 Crows Brewing Co  while they were out there. Looks like a fun time!

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