Thomas Tew Rum
Thomas Tew RumAlthough rum has a historic foothold in New England region – the John Dyer Distillery closed in 1872 - it is primarily associated with the Caribbean. In 2006, Brent Ryan, founder and CEO of Coastal Extreme Brewing Company created the Newport Distilling Company to bring back rum production to the area. Thomas Tew Rum is named after the Rhode Island pirate and Newport resident and made from blackstrap molasses. The wash was fermented, triple pot distilled and aged for a minimum of two years in neutral barrels. Each batch of rum is aged individually and the barrels are never blended to allow a full and unadulterated expression – i.e. certain batches may have a stronger vanilla profile; some may be smokier due to the char level of that particular barrel. After aging, the bottles are filled, hand-labeled, corked and sealed.
It isn’t surprising to hear that 4 guys from college came up with an idea to start a brewery. What may be surprising is that these guys are all still great friends and the brewery is still growing after over a decade. Coastal Extreme Brewing Company (or The Newport Storm Brewery as we are known by many) was the dream of Brent, Derek, Mark, and Will. These four spent their years at Colby studying the science that would help them understand how to make beer while also doing the “sampling” that would make them love beer. In 1997, staring at graduation and a life just working in “a job”, the idea was hatched to start a brewery. Over the next 18 months, information was gathered, plans were written, investors were begged, and skeptics were grown as the founders pressed forward with their dream.
In April of 1999, they moved into their 2500 square feet in two garage bays in the Middletown, RI tradesman center. Concrete was cut, used equipment was found, and on July 2nd, 1999 the brewery’s first beer, Hurricane Amber Ale, was released. Since then, the brewery has continued to slowly build itself and its reputation. In 2002 the brewery expanded into an addition 1000 square feet. In 2006 they started Newport Distilling Company to make Thomas Tew Rum, utilizing much of the same equipment and bringing back this historic practice to the area.
Perhaps the biggest event of all came in 2010 when the brewery and distillery built a brand new facility in the North End of Newport which increased their square footage to 10,000, allowed them to build a beautiful Visitors Center and tour deck, and was their first opportunity to upgrade their equipment from when they first started in 1999. Much has happened since 1999. In the past 17 years, the brewery has made close to 100 different varieties of unique craft brews. They helped pioneer the idea of making limited release beers in 1999 and did the same with canned beer in 2004. Thousands of people have visited the facility and much more have had the opportunity to try our unique beer throughout RI and PA.
Through it all, the focus continues to be making quality, unique, local beers for our fans. As in the beginning, Brent, Derek, Mark, and Will hope you enjoy their craft spirits as much as they enjoy making them.