Manitoba announces cash for local brewers
CLAYTON WINTER, CONTRIBUTOR
Alcohol producers in Manitoba are about to see more money in their pockets.
The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will cut their markup on local breweries, distillers and wineries. The organization also announced a loan program will also happen in April.
Small producers will now have access to up to $250,000 from Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, as part of the Supporting Manitoba Craft Brewing Strategy.
Tim Thiessen, 29, is working on his certification to pair beers and food together. He said he buys 90 per cent local beer and 10 per cent domestic beer. He said he’s looking forward to more local options.
“I personally care about where my money is going because I had to work hard for it,” said Thiessen. “I like to see my money going back into the community.”
The new loan program is going to encourage job creation by allowing small alcohol producers access to capital and cutting interest rates for every job created, according to the minister of tourism, Ron Lemieux.
Lemieux said he expects this strategy will create more brewing jobs and more jobs that support the industry like farmers, hop growers and malt producers.
“It’s going to take a while to catch on,” he said. “Craft beer has become hugely popular in other places. People want the uniqueness of craft beer.”
Nicole Barry, owner of Peg Beer Co., said the new loan program is going to have a big impact.
As someone who’s opening her own brewpub, Barry said she knows how high start-up costs can be. Industry newbies need additional capital, and this loan will make that easier.
Barry said she’s unsure if she will use the loan program, but if she did, she’d buy more brewing tanks.
“The more tanks, the more people are needed,” she said.