In case you’re still looking for Paradise, you’ll find it just east of St. John’s, on Conception Bay. And Paradise can now boast having a brewery of their own, as Banished Brewing has released their first beers, and have just today opened their retail shop, and working toward opening their beer garden, we wanted to get the skinny on the folks behind Banished, their beers, and what you can expect as they enter the busy season. We caught up with co-owner Craig Farewell, no stranger to the Newfoundland and Labrador beer scene, having co-produced the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival since his return home to Newfoundland.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Craig, I grew up in Atlantic Canada (NL, NB, NS) and moved back home to NL in 2015 after a four year stint in Halifax.
How did you get into the world of beer?
I started brewing in 2011, just after moving to Halifax. At the same time the craft beer boom was just hitting Halifax and breweries were starting to open everywhere. Dove in head first and never came back out.
What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?
It was the original goal, but mostly blind ambition Haha. I’m a CPA so I had that side of the business looked after and I knew I loved brewing and loved the craft beer community, so it was just a matter of time.
What is the ethos of Banished Brewing?
Beer doesn’t mean anything if you’re not using it to enhance the communities that you operate within. Be great people and brew great beer and use it to do as much good as you can along the way.
You have, just today, opened your retail spot at 9 Maverick Place, in Paradise. How else can folks enjoy your beer?
We currently have the retail space in the brewery, and later on we’ll have the Beer Garden adjacent to the brewery with on-site sales and consumption. We’ve been sending to keg licensees across the province, including Bar Brewdock in East Duck, and even as far as Iron Rock Brewing in Lab City! Most of our product will be canned and sold through retail outlets, including NLCs, Marie’s, Ultramar, and other private shops. Find cans and merch at the retail space, growlers may be coming later.
So, tell us about the beers folks can expect at the retail shop or on draught?
The initial offerings are varied, and there are plenty more brews in the pipeline as we make our way through the summer.
- Out The Gate is a 5.3% ABV Belgian Single, light malt and hop character, with a touch of bubblegum on the nose, while remaining refreshing.
- Space Puffin is a 6.0% ABV New England IPA, juicy, hazy, and full of citrus and tropical goodness for the warmer months ahead. Look for more Puffins coming soon!
- NO NO NO NO YES NO is a 4.5% ABV EI (Employment Insurance) Pale Ale, light enough in alcohol to warrant having a few in the afternoon while you wait for your check to come in! Check out the label, though all of them are great, thanks to Paul George Hammond.
- Paradise Town is their 5.5% Fruited Sour, featuring Pink Guava puree added for a tropical kick. Look for more iterations of this beer as they play with the fruit additions throughout the year.
- An Elaborate Series of Mirrors is a 5.0% American Lager, crushable, quaffable, however you want to put it, this beer is made for easy enjoyment.
- Tall Trees, with a label reminiscent of the Redwoods in the Pacific Northwest, is a 7.0% West Coast IPA. Piney and citrusy, there is a serious bitterness in here to match the aromatics.
No brewery is an island, someone smarter than me once said. Can you tell us about those who have helped along the way?
I hope I can remember them all because without them I wouldn’t have gotten here! Most important is my wife Katie. Without her embracing my dream and pushing as hard for it as I was, it wouldn’t have happened. She has kept every aspect of our lives in check while I chased this dream and this belongs to her as much as it does me.
Thank you to Tom and Jamie for continuing down this path and toughing out the many obstacles we faced. Big thanks to our head brewer Duncan who packed up his life and brought his family to a place he’d never been, to pursue this dream and turn it into a reality. Thanks to Boxing Rock for putting out The Vicar’s Cross and sending me down the path of Craft Beer. Thanks to Stillwell for showing me what the craft beer community looks like when you bring everybody together. Thanks to Sonja and Alicia from Port Rexton for brining me in after we moved back to NL and really paving the way for the new generation of craft brewers in this province. Thanks to the Landwash crew for giving me experience and always lending a hand. Thanks to Dave and Phil at Bannerman for the knowledge sharing, chats, and unlimited coffee. The craft beer community in this province is awesome and we just want to spread that joy as much as we can.
How about the future of Banished, where do you see it in the next few years?
Looking forward to stable distribution, hopefully exporting to the Atlantic provinces and out west.
Let’s get nerdy! Tell us about your brewery equipment and expected output…
We specced out a 30 barrel system (3500 litres), but after brewing on it a few times, it acts more like a 40 barrel (4800 litre) system. It’s a 3 vessel brewhouse (Hot Liquor Tank, Mash/Boil/Whirlpool, Lauter Tun) from Jenrey, with the option for an additional two vessels for future expansion.
Expected output is unknown. Cautiously say 1,500 hectolitres to start. Depends on exporting and level of distribution.
Tell us more about your own brewing history…
I started brewing in 2011 in Halifax. Picked up a Vicar’s Cross from Boxing Rock and wanted to figure out how to make it myself. The same week, my friend sold me his homebrew kit and the spending on brewing equipment never stopped.
Some commercial experience with Port Rexton and Landwash when I moved home, but most of my brewing knowledge came from brewing on my own systems. We brought in Head Brewer Duncan Tennant because he’s wicked and had the commercial knowledge at a scale that we are hoping to get to one day.
Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking? Or brewing?
I enjoy most styles, but enjoy the complexity of brewing lagers as they’re a white rabbit that you seem to never be able to catch. Don’t mind crushing some hazy IPAs as well. Love brewing lagers because while I know I’ll never win, they at least keep me trying.
Congratulations once again to Craig, Duncan, and the entire Banished family. Check out their retail shop today and tomorrow, 12 – 7 PM at 9 Maverick Place in Paradise, where you’ll also have the first looks at their brewery. Keep your eyes peeled to their Insta and Facebook pages for updates on new beers, distribution, and the Beer Garden opening in the coming weeks. Their website is also kept up-to-date with beers and news.