|By translating the mystique and purity of icebergs into an internationally-acclaimed product, the Iceberg Vodka Corporation has tapped into a recipe for success.
By Kathryn Carlson
From small fishing boats to commercial ferries, the men of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Kean family have been master mariners for eight generations and iceberg-harvester Edward
Kean wasn’t going to break the tradition.
"My father and his father’s father and so on have been captains on all sorts
of boats for what seems like forever," says 47-year-old Kean. "It just seems natural
for me to be out on the water, so I guess it’s in my blood."
Edward, known by his wife Marina as "Eddie," wrangled his first berg three decades
ago and has been out on the water almost every harvesting season since. From mid-April to
the end of December, Kean and his crew spend upward of 16 hours a day harvesting icebergs
for Canada’s Iceberg Vodka Corporation.
"Sometimes we have to be out on the water for two weeks at a time," explains
Kean, who earned a Watchkeeping Mariners Certificate from the Ministry of Transportation. "Either
you love being out there or you hate it – I happen to love it."
From daylight until midnight, Kean and his team of wranglers hunt down icebergs and use
sturdy nets to hoist them onto the harvesting ship.
"Essentially, the berg is in the bag," he jokes. "But wrangling a five-tonne
chunk of ice shouldn’t be taken lightly," he adds.
In fact, iceberg harvesting is quite dangerous because a berg could unexpectedly roll over
"No two icebergs are alike and you really have to respect their different personalities," says
Kean. "You have to work very well with your teammates and you have to watch each other’s
During the off-season, Kean says he helps develop new techniques for iceberg harvesting but
adds that "it’s not all work and no play."