Category Archives: Storm Brewing

The Scoop on Storm Brewing in Newfoundland

Storm Brewing Newfoundland, as I discuss in my overview, was one of Newfoundland’s first microbreweries. In this post, I’d like to speculate a little on the current situation of Storm Brewing and to post a few pictures of the wonderful beers they have made over the years.

My understanding of Storm’s current production situation is that it is basically a part-time job for the owners. As far as I can tell, they run at capacity right now and, because of high demand, their beer sells out of the few NLC and corner stores where they retail in short order. I get no inclination that an expansion or new product is on the way, so I’m guessing that right now it is a pretty happy self-sustaining cottage industry. Their demand excedes their supply, so they seem to be pretty economically stable.

Let me put my bais out there: I love Storm. They were one of the first craft breweries I developed a deep loyalty too. In the mid-2000s they had a “Free Newfoundland” stubby bottle of their Irish Red that I was particularly attached to:

Storm Free Newfoundland Stubby, c. mid-2000s, my collection.

Now, they switched out of stubbys a couple of years back (2008, if memory serves – but check that date) and they use “mainland long-necks” (i.e. not the semi-necks Newfoundland is famous for).

Storm was also the first brewery that introduced me to the “bomber” bottle. Used pretty much religiously throughout the United States craft beer scene,  a bomber was unheard of in Newfoundland before Storm. All of their current four beers are available in the very industry standard bomber.

Storm Bombers, c. 2011-2012, my collection.

In the above photo we can see their winter seasonal Coffee Porter, their all year-round Island Gold and Irish Red, and their summer seasonal Raspberry Wheat.

What’s also great about Storm is their dating system. What’s great about it? Well, (a) they have one – something which beer geeks in the United States lament not having even on some top-shelf beers, and (b) it’s clear and uncomplicated. In the dating system, Storm is, well, best kind.

Storm used to be a little more adventurous too. Take, for example, this beer.

Storm Hemp Ale, c. mid-2000s, photo credit Colin Power.

Aside from their lovely old logo (that lives on in their coffee porter symbol), it was a hemp ale! In Newfoundland! I remember really liking this beer and being quite sad when it was discontinued. Hemp ales are pretty rare, even on the mainland, so it was nice to have something pretty unique front-and-center in Newfoundland.

I suspect Storm’s solid economic situation is not pressing them to innovate too much anymore. I mean, if you’re at capacity and constantly in demand then you can take a “if it’s not broke don’t fix it attitude” with impunity. Something in my heart, deep down, however, really wishes they’d kick out a hoppy West Coast IPA or a high gravity Imperial Stout – just something that the drooling beer geeks and home-brewers of Newfoundland could point to and say “look Canada, Newfoundland is not so far behind.”

Will Newfoundland ever start to catch up to Canada, or even to the maritime provinces, in craft beer and modern beer styles? I’m not really sure. But one thing is for sure, in Newfoundland’s Beer History Storm wrote the chapter on making a modern North American style craft brewery, with recognizable craft beer styles, work in Newfoundland.



Filed under Culture, Labels, Overview, Storm Brewing

Overview: Storm Brewing

Storm Brewing (Freshwater Brewing Co. 1995-)

Location: Carbonear (as Freshwater), Mount Pearl (as Storm)

Brands: Irish Red, Island Gold, Raspberry Wheat, Coffee Porter. (Retired, or out of common circulation: Hemp Ale, Killick, Kyle mild. The Duke’s Own is also reported to be brewed by Storm using the Duke’s recipe.)

Freshwater brewing was founded in Carbonear, Newfoundland, in 1995 around the same time as Quidi Vidi Brewing, by Nick Murray and Dave Rodgers. In 1997 the partnership has fizzled and it was purchased and renamed Storm Brewing by Michael McBride, a native of North York, Ontario. Overall Storm is a much smaller, more niche, producer of craft beer than Quidi Vidi Brewing. Originally marketed in stubby bottles and industry standard bomber (650 ml) bottles, in 2010 they switched to long neck bottles for their 6-packs. They report that their 7 hectolitre system was imported from the Santa Rosa brewing company of California. A report in The Telegram indicates that they brew only around 300 hectolitres a year.


STORM BREWING in Nfld. Ltd.Storm Brewing, last accessed February 17, 2012.

Moira Baird, “The Big Idea: Storm Brewing in Newfoundland Ltd.,” The Telegram August 16, 2004.

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Filed under History, Storm Brewing