Our $12,500 Albedo Grant Winner: Dildo Brewing Company, Tap Room, and Museum

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Brother and sister Angie and Roger George, and their spouses Rob and Debbie, set out to start a microbrewery in their hometown of Dildo, and wound up securing a unique homebase for it: The Dildo Museum.

The museum has a solid cultural heritage, but is in need of reinvigoration and repairs. After 20 years of running it, the museum’s current owners, The Society of United Fishermen Lodge 84, can no longer maintain or operate it. So the George siblings and their spouses proposed to take over operations. Renovations will rework the space so it’s equal parts museum and brewhouse, with a taproom so visitors can sample local beer while sampling local history.

The museum is home to a lot of information on archaeological digs, and is heavy on artifacts pertaining to Maritime Archaic Indians, Dorset Eskimo, and Beothuk history, as well as interpretation of Dildo’s 19th century cod fish hatchery, and a lot of memorabilia that was contributed by residents of the area over many years.

This 3-in-1 project of saving a museum, launching a brewery, and creating a real community hub for tourists and locals alike, made Dildo Brewing Company, Tap Room, and Museum a solid pick for 2017’s $12,500 Albedo Grant.

The money for the grant came from the continued generosity of Dean MacDonald, John O’Dea, and Phil Keeping’s Family; this is the third year Dean and John made The Overcast’s Albedo Grant possible, and the second consecutive year for The Keeping Family, so we extend a huge thanks to them all for their generosity in helping launch community-minded entrepreneurial endeavours like this one.

The museum will be completely redesigned within the brewery building, so that the museum’s wares can be properly housed in updated shelving, cabinets, displays, and lighting. Many of the historical documents require proper restoration as well.

But the beer, right, let’s talk about the beer! Too soon, they say. “We will have four beers on tap when we open, but, styles to be revealed later!” they tease.

“We all have different tastes, and we all enjoy different styles, depending on the season or occasion,” Angie says, so their suite of beers will reflect their varied tastes, and no doubt offer something for everyone when they open their doors in Spring 2018. We can say that during the cover photoshoot, we were treated to a very nice porter and saison.

Like many new breweries popping up in Newfoundland (say, Port Rexton Brewing, or the forthcoming Scud Runner Brewery), Dildo Brewing Company was borne of a homebrewing hobby turned professional endeavour. “Roger had the idea,” Angie says. His love of beer, then homebrewing, was largely inspired by visiting many breweries in Florida — Florida has well over 100 breweries, many of them amazing.

“We’ve been into this project for over a year now,” Angie says, “and since that time other local breweries have opened and hit the news. Hearing about the surge is awesome, and just what we expected for the industry in this province!”

Their plans are exciting: there will be a taproom upstairs, in a huge space with large windows looking out onto the ocean and Dildo Island; a quintessential Newfoundland view. Smokers or folks looking for some fresh air can roam around the building’s wrap-around deck and long wharf, and it’s hard to imagine it won’t be the most unique taproom on the island.

There’s plans for a kitchen, and to have live entertainment regularly. So it’s a true cultural hub in all senses: microbrewery, museum, and arts venue with a stunning view, bound to haul plenty of tourists and baycationers in off the highway.

“As entrepreneurs, we want to make a difference in our community. The vision for this museum, combined with our microbrewery operation is phenomenal to us. What excites us most is the impact we are going to have on the community of Dildo and the Avalon Peninsula.”

She adds, “You’ve heard the saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ we can relate, because it truly does take a community to raise a museum such as this one. Every piece inside is a piece of precious history and a story of this beautiful community. The museum will continue to be an integral part of the facility. The feel of the museum atmosphere will go throughout the brewery and the taproom.”

Historically, the museum has employed 3 or 4 students in the summer, and it’s their intent to continue to offer these employment opportunities to the community by employing students to offer tours during the 2018 tourist season. (They plan to open in the spring of 2018.)

Cheers to this community-minded brewery, and to their being, if you’re counting, Newfoundland’s 10th local brewery (come early 2018)! 13th if you include the national chains of Mill Street, Labatt, and Molson, who all brew some beers exclusive to here. To variety, the hoppy, malty spice of life!

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About Author

Chad Pelley

Chad Pelley is an author, songwriter, and journalist who wrote for publications like the Globe & Mail and The Telegraph-Journal before founding The Overcast. Now he spends 25 hours a day keeping up with his email, and has no time to be his former self.

9 Comments

  1. Gary Sparkes on

    Congratulations on your new venture I have no doubt it will be a great success. Looking forward to your Grand Opening.

  2. Yes congratulations on winning the contest. Spirit Riders Therapeutic Association Inc. Bonavista

  3. Congratulations on your new business venture. You guys well do great can’t wait to try your Beer !!!

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