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Estate brewery step closer to reality

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CANADA'S first estate brewery is one giant step closer to producing its first pint.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/09/2015 (2707 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

CANADA’S first estate brewery is one giant step closer to producing its first pint.

Brothers Chris and Lawrence Warwaruk, co-owners of Farmery Estate Brewery, have bought a 15,000-square-foot building in Neepawa — it’s an old farm implements dealership — where they plan to not only make their Farmery beer and put it in bottles and cans, but also sell it through an adjoining restaurant or taproom.

They will get possession in a couple of weeks, their new brewing equipment should be delivered in a few months and they hope to be fully operational in April.

submitted photo Local investor Bob Mazer is flanked by Farmery owners Chris Warwaruk (left) and his brother, Lawrence.

“Now we have a focal point,” said Chris Warwaruk. “We need to decide what’s going to go in first, the brew house, the taproom, the tasting lounge or the gift store. By the spring, we’ll be the complete package.”

The entire project is expected to cost slightly more than $3 million.

The building’s site was strategic because it’s only a few kilometres away from their farm, where they grow their own barley and hops. This year, they have 130 acres of barley in production and 20 acres of hops.

“As we get more established, we’ll be processing hops for other breweries and home brewers,” said Lawrence Warwaruk.

An estate brewery is defined as a facility that makes beer adjacent to where the inputs are grown.

They say the summer of 2015 has been “by far” the best summer since they launched their beer in the market three years ago. Three months ago, they started selling Farmery in Alberta, giving them a presence in all three Prairie provinces.

The Warwaruks are using their crops for more than just beer, too. They recently launched packages of Farmery Beer Bread, which can be made with its own beer, of course, and Farmery Flapjacks mix. They are available in 15 locations in Winnipeg. They also hope to add a Christmas cake and fish-fry batter in the not-too-distant future.

The Warwaruks, who own Luxalune Gastropub on Osborne Street, have been increasing the amount of home-grown ingredients in Farmery over the past couple of years while contracting the brewing process out of province.

They received some national attention 18 months ago when they appeared on the Dragons’ Den television show and struck a deal to work with both Arlene Dickinson and David Chilton. Due to timing considerations, they didn’t end up working with the pair.

Instead, they are financing the project themselves with the help of a local investor, Bob Mazer, who sold them their building, and BDC, the bank dedicated to entrepreneurs.

Chris Warwaruk said with the expected influx of craft breweries in Manitoba — several more are reportedly close to launching — they want to do everything they can to differentiate their brand.

“The stronger ones will have a great story behind it. We want to showcase where and how our ingredients are grown and that the money stays on a small family farm,” he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

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