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Pouring it on

Making craft beer is truly hands-on.
Making craft beer is truly hands-on.

TRENDSETTERS It took two years for the Western NL Brewing Co. to go from business idea to ready-to-drink premium ale, and in the past year since it’s been a going concern, the company has grown fast.

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Western NL Brewing Co., like any fledgling business, has experienced growing pains, expanding from producing one keg of beer a week to making 50.
The nano-brewery is the brainchild of Jennifer Galliott, a Woody Point-based tapestry artist, potter and painter, and father-and-son team Norm and Jim MacDonald of Rocky Harbour.
“It’s been kind of rattling around in my head for awhile,” Galliott has said of the idea of opening a nanobrewery.
The company recently had to slow production and deliveries while installing a new, bigger carbonation tank. Getting employees trained has also taken a bit of time away from the company owners’ full-time jobs.
Galliott said the plan is to use the expected slowdown between the winter and summer tourism seasons to really fine-tune their operations.
The brewery is hoping to ramp up production even more this summer, says Jim MacDonald.
“It’s all part of the game of learning,” he said.
He said their efforts are buoyed by a growing demand for their beer and positive reception from customers who have tried it.
Greg Pike can vouch for that.

Hop pellets, one of the main ingredients in making beer.

While in Vancouver recently, he found it difficult to find one of the mainstream beers that have dominated the domestic market for so long.
Virtually everywhere he turned, microbrewers and their craft beers seemed to have won over the hearts and palates of anyone looking to sip on a cold one.
Back home in western Newfoundland, he says it’s cool to see small-scale breweries trying to make a go of it here, too.
Western NL Brewing Co., based in Pasadena, just started personally delivering kegs of its two beer brands to three local vendors.
Pike has tried both the Wild Cove Cream Ale and Killdevil Pale Ale during his après-ski time at Marble Mountain, and he also serves those beers to customers at his job at Madison’s Restaurant in Steady Brook.
The suds are also flowing through the taps at Sorrento restaurant in Corner Brook.
“I can’t say anyone has disliked it,” said Pike of his experience serving the beer. “It’s also been selling like hotcakes at Marble.”
In the meantime, Western NL Brewing Co. and other small-scale beer makers — both established ones and others hoping to get into the market — have had regular communications with each other about their respective experiences honing their craft.

Jim MacDonald, co-owner of Western NL Brewing Co., tests their latest batch of beer.

“It’s been a great network and we’re keeping quite an open dialogue with all of them,” said Galliott. “Whenever anyone has a problem, we are helping each other out.”
Pike is sure that, being the first locally based brewery in the market in its neck of the woods, Western NL Brewing Co. will be at an advantage.
“By the summer, I think they will have it all worked out and I’d suggest anyone go out and try a pint or two.”

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