Category Archives: Other Brewers

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a key part of planning a brewery in Newfoundland – in 2017, only two have registered (with one completed and the other withdrawn) in 2018.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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German Brewmasters and “British Traditions” in Newfoundland Brewing

If you’ve been to Newfoundland you’ve likely taken note of a fairly strong connection to British and Irish traditions within the province’s music, culture, and perhaps even in its beer. Popular places to grab a pint are regularly decked out in Irish garb – places like Bridie Molloys, The Republic, or Christians to name a few – or, like the famous Duke of Duckworth, more grounded in the British pub experience. But what about Newfoundland beer? In this post, a reappraisal of Webb and Beaumont’s classification of Newfoundland as having weak “British Traditions” in the light of the history of German-Newfoundland brewmasters.

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Filed under Bavarian Brewing, Bennett Brewing, Blue Star, Culture, History, Newfoundland Brewery, Other Brewers

The Atlantic Brewery

Throughout this site I’ve covered a great number of Newfoundland’s former breweries. One that I’ve really neglected  has been the Atlantic Brewery in Stephenville. On the overview I link to this page which gives a good overview of the brewery’s history, so here I want to write a few interesting points from that article and include a few pictures from my collection.

The Atlantic Brewery, a high-budget ($2.5 million, that’s almost $4 million using a rough inflation calculation – that’s a lot for any brewery) project, opened in 1968 with a staff of 50 people. Within a year the brewery reduced its workforce and then shutdown. Why it failed doesn’t seem to be obvious. It might be a case of “too big, too quick,” but until I hit the archives for some old newspapers I can only speculate.

The Brewery produced, to my knowledge, two primary beers. Their flagship was Atlantic Lager.

Atlantic Lager, my collection, 2012.

It came in a pretty simply stubby with the Atlantic Brewery’s logo, which looks a bit like Poseidon to me. The bottles I have, I have two (the better condition one is pictured), both still have beer in them. According to the person at Livyers Antiques, who I purchased the bottles from, many of the bottles were left over as unsold surplus after the brewery closed and ended up not being drank. So, if you find a bottle it’ll likely be full! This might also account for why the brewery closed. How bad does a beer have to be that most of the old bottles you find aren’t opened?

Atlantic Cap (Red), my collection, 2012.

Atlantic Cap (Blue), my collection, 2012.

The brewery also made another, apparently less popular product called “Atlantic Draft.”

Atlantic Draft, my collection, 2012.

According to the person I bought this one from Draft bottles are considerably more rare. Considering the short lifespan of the brewery, it’s remarkable that any survive at all!

Once the brewery closed in 1969 it was purchased by the Bison Petroleum and Minerals Ltd. from the government. The brewery appears to have gone bankrupt and into receivership, so most of the $1.1 million purchase price was paid to creditors and the rest paid in bonds to the government of Newfoundland. Bison rebranded the brewery and increased production (from 200,000 cases to 400,000 cases) and invested new money to enter the export market.

Bison Brew Beer (Bison Brewing) see this post for more on this label.

The rest is pretty well put by the article linked above, so here is what they say:

By 1973, the Bison Brewing Company was on the way out of Stephenville. The brewery started laying off workers in the winter of the same year due to a slow period in the brewing industry. By the end of 1973 Bison Petroleum had left Stephenville. This was also due to a major flood that caused more than $1 million in damages to the facilities. However, at this time Stephenville Brewery started up and became a successful operation. Even though Bison Petroleum was only in Stephenville for three years, that three years was enough to get the area’s economy back up and running again. The brewery gave life back to the town after the base closed down. In 1974 Labatt Breweries began operations at the site. This establishment operated until the fall of 1981. At that time personnel were laid off and the Stephenville brewerie’s responsibilities were transferred to St. John’s.

So that’s the brief history of the rise and fall of the Atlantic Brewery. It’s useful to note for dating bottles that if a Labatt brand (like Blue Star or Jockey) says “St. John’s and Stephenville” then it’s likely from between 1974-1981. It’s too bad about the Atlantic Brewery, it’d be nice to have breweries outside of the Avalon today, even a small one making local craft beer (though the scope of the Atlantic Brewery certainly wasn’t to be a craft brewery like we’d recognize today). I also wonder how many more unopened bottles of Atlantic Lager are out there. Anyone want to drink 50 year old beer with me?

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Some Quirky Old Brands

I was re-watching a youtube compilation of old Newfoundland beer labels this morning and I realized that searching for them online didn’t bring up any results. Anyone looking for a history of Bavarian Brewing’s Bulldog beer would be totally out of luck. Here, I’m going to list a few of the brands highlighted in the video.

The original video can be watched here on YouTube. It’s not my content and I did not make the video, so don’t blame me if you don’t like the song they use!

From Bavarian Brewing Company we have Bulldog Newfoundland Style Beer, the Silver Doctor Summer Special, an Irish Style Porter, and their Three Star Lager. I’m guessing the Bulldog would be an ale, but I have no idea about the Silver Doctor. Sounds good!

Bull Dog Newfoundland Style (Bavarian Brewing)

Bulldog (Bavarian Brewing)

Silver Doctor Summer Special (Bavarian Brewing)

Three Star Lager (Bavarian Brewing)

Irish Style Porter (Bavarian Brewing)

From Newfoundland Brewing we have Moose Pale Ale, their Old Stock India Pale Ale, “India’s Holiday Bock Beer,” and a Red Top Golden Amber. These all sound amazing. Moose Pale Ale! How Newfoundland is that? Plus another India Pale Ale, an amazing 8% bock (a dark German spring beer), and an amber ale! What a line up!

Moose Pale Ale (Newfoundland Brewing)

India Pale Ale (Newfoundland Brewery)

India’s Holiday Bock Beer (Newfoundland Brewing) – 8%!

Red Top Golden Amber Beer (Newfoundland Brewery)

From Bennett Brewing we’re just missing Bennett’s beer. I love that green-and-black colour combination.

Bennett’s Beer (Bennett Brewery)

From the short lived Bison Brewing (in Stephenville) we have their flagship beer, Bison Beer.

Bison Brew Beer (Bison Brewing)

While they are harder to find, it’s important to remember that these old breweries didn’t just produce the scattered few brands that the big Canadian Breweries kept after 1962. They had a full line of beers for all sorts of different preferences. Plus, they are really beautiful labels!

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Overview: Bison Brewing

This is more of  a note than an overview, however, there was also a brewery in Stephenville under the names of both the Bison Brewing Co. (or Canadian Javelin Limited, 1972) and the Atlantic Brewing Co. (1967) which Labatt’s purchased in 1974. A little more about brewing in Stephenville can be found here.

I have a more detailed post on the Atlantic Brewery here.

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Overview: Kavanaugh and Company

Kavanaugh and Company (1890-1936?)

Location: Military Road and 18 Water Street West.

Brands: Mostly “aerated water” but listed as a brewery.

Likely cause of death: Unknown.

References:

Joseph R. Smallwood and Robert D.W. Pitt (editors) Encyclopaedia of Newfoundland, Volume 1 (Newfoundland Book Publishers, 1981, under the Breweries entry)

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Overview: Lindberg Brewing Company

Lindberg Brewing Company Limited (1877-1912?)

Location: Signal Hill Road.

Brands: Bavarian Beers and imported Guinness and Bass.

Likely cause of death: Liquor restriction laws (bars to close at 9 p.m.) (1911) and Newfoundland Prohibition (1917-1924).

Bavarian Beers, Lindberg and Franklin

Bavarian Brewing advert from McAlpine's Newfoundland directory, 1894 to 1897

References:

Joseph R. Smallwood and Robert D.W. Pitt (editors) Encyclopaedia of Newfoundland, Volume 1 (Newfoundland Book Publishers, 1981, under the Breweries entry)

McAlpine’s Newfoundland directory, 1894 to 1897.

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