By David MacDonald F or Adam, it’s not an “if” question, it’s a “when” question. “We started off with one core beer – we exclusively made Nor’easter, an amber ale, for almost a year,” he explained. “Then after we had our feet under us, we made our Set Sail Pale Ale and then our Project Orange and then Beet This. These are beers that have to stay in the rotation. Our Stout, which when we made it the first time it took a month to sell and now only takes about a week and a half to sell, we’ll have to make that a staple beer soon, as well. Everything we make seems to turn into a core beer – we’ve got to keep them coming. So, we do plan on getting into the NSLC [Nova Scotia Liquor Commission] in the future, but we’re so small and we’re selling so much out of our store right now – and doing well – that we’d need to expand our brewery in Mount Pleasant to make that feasible. But it will happen. It’s just a question of when.” “I’m at the brewery right now, though, bottling. When the phone rang, that’s what I was doing.” As luring as a conversation is about a future where a regional sensation becomes a Provincial treasure, the story of how Adam and Devin got their feet under them is too good to pass up – particularly the part about how they came up with the name FirkinStein. You see, brewing beer isn’t their day job – well, it is when they’ve just finished a backshift at the Michelin Tires plant in Bridgewater. “I just finished a backshift at 7 a.m. yesterday and I spent the day doing paperwork after that – something not so strenuous,” Adam told me. “I’m at the brewery right now, though, bottling. When the phone rang, that’s what I was doing. Devin has a shift at the plant later today.” Adam and Devin are trouble-shooters at the plant – problem solvers. They have a knack for seeing solutions. Always have.
“With our machines, our brewing equipment, we built everything by hand – well, for our boiler we bought a stain- less steel pot, which was a dairy tank. Our boil pot was purchased from our local exhibition – the Dairy Barn – and we converted it into a steam-jacketed electric boiler. Our mash tun was purchased in Moncton from a farmer and our HLT was purchased from a farmer in Windsor – all three tanks were converted to work as brewery equipment and work well. We made everything by hand like a Frankenstein machine,” Adam said. The “Frankenstein machine” is truly the result of a labour of love. “It’s an important part of our story,” Devin explained. “Our passion to build our own brewery equipment started with our small home brewer setups. For me, it really started 15 years ago when I was driving home one day with my wife Amanda. I remember I had five dollars to my name and this old tank in this guy’s driveway caught my eye. I thought it was a firkin. A firkin is an old European-style barrel-shaped keg and it’s smaller than a traditional-sized keg. What it ended-up being was just an old keg. Well, years later when we started to get going with our setup, we incorporated that keg into our equipment. We thought firkin was such a cool name that we decided to stick with it. That’s where the FirkinStein name comes from. Now, our microbrew- ery equipment comes mostly from Kijiji. Our brite tanks
NOVEMBER 2017 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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