Thursday 23 June 2011

Brew Winnipeg

Manitoba is finally set to loosen up its alcohol regulations. Back in Christchurch, a new Brew Pub is just opened despite all the earthquakes; Manitoba still has only two brewers - HalfPints (excellent) and Fort Garry (meh).

It looks like Neepawa will be getting an Estate brewer: they'll grow their own hops and barley. Didn't know that the Manitoba climate was really suited to hops, but will be really interested to see how this pans out on my next visit.
The owners of Luxalune Gastropub are taking the changes to provincial liquor laws and running with them -- all the way to Neepawa.

That's where Chris and Lawrence Warwaruk are planning to build Canada's first estate brewery -- The Farmery.

"It's no different than the estate wineries in Kelowna, B.C.," Chris Warwaruk said. "We're going to be growing the raw products, barley and hops, at the farm. We shouldn't have to buy hops from (growers in) Washington state that supply Miller, Busch and Coors."

Estate breweries are different from traditional breweries because the ingredients that go into the bottles are grown on the estate or farm.

Warwaruk said changes to Manitoba liquor laws, which passed last week, have opened the door for him and his brother to explore the estate brewery concept. The two biggest changes from the new legislation, which will take effect in November, enable restaurateurs to brew beer on-site by creating brew pubs and allow customers to take their own bottle of wine to participating restaurants.

The Warwaruks -- who grew up on a farm near Minnedosa -- plan to cut the ribbon on their brewery next spring. It will include a finished building and a plant. The hope is that it will attract beer-loving tourists from near and far for tours, too.

The adjoining fields used to be home to a U-pick strawberry farm but Lawrence Warwaruk has experimented with malt barley and hops this year and has plowed under some of his strawberries.
All they needed was that the government get out of the damned way. Congrats guys, and best of luck!

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