No one’s complaining about food culture in Newfoundland anymore, but the craft beer scene here is a different story.
Our province lags behind others in delicious local craft beers, having only 3-4 commercially available brewers on the scene right now, with places like Storm, Quidi Vidi, and Yellowbelly.
Well, as of this summer, there’ll be at least one more, thanks to co-owners (and married couple!) Alicia MacDonald and Sonja Mills, who are currently ploughing through the barrage of regulation guidelines a brewery must meet before it can begin its operation.
Alicia and Sonja met “hesitantly, over a casual beer through a mutual friend’s insistence.” We have that forced, causal beer to thank for giving us our fourth commercial microbrewery. Fitting. “The casual beer turned into fun activities combined with our growing passion together for craft beer,” they say.
And we’re talking true passion here: the couple has been known to ski to pubs on storm days. Any hiking or rock climbing adventures are followed with a pint of good beer, and their road trips “include at least one microbrewery stop. We even built a craft beer bar for our craft-beer themed wedding. No joke.”
The two gathered a lot of experience in Nova Scotia’s craft brewery movement. “Initially, we frequented craft beer bars in Halifax, traveled the province, often to visit new microbreweries as they opened, and were members of the Ladies Beer League. As the craft beer scene evolved in Nova Scotia, we attended many unique and educational events and festivals.” Before too long, Alicia was apprenticing and brewing.
In doing so, they established many beneficial contacts and working relationships to help them get their start here in Port Rexton. Their company, by the way, is simply called “Port Rexton Brewing.”
“We got into this business to create a product that we would be proud of and could share with other people. Add in our personal passion for craft beer and Alicia’s love of brewing, and it made a world of sense.” The duo “bring different educational backgrounds to the table” and are drawn to beer as a product because “craft beer is not only a social product, but a product of science and art.”
“As for the industry itself, it is interesting, collegial, and fun to become involved with. It’s a very supportive environment among industry participants and we have had nothing but positive experiences so far. And finally, as a social industry, beer, and particularly good beer, brings people together.”
What will they be brewing? Stellar stouts? Awesome ales? Lovely lagers? Obviously, but the specifics are still up in the air for now. “We have a few different recipes we are excited about, but we are going to keep these under wraps until closer to opening day. Stay tuned and keep your eyes on Facebook for when we make the official launch!”
They’ll be operating out of a converted property in their namesake town, and plan on producing about 300 hectolitres of beer per year, or put another way: 1,000 pints of beer per run. The space will be open concept with a tasting room and retail space.