Manitoba craft brewers get boost from province

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries is pumping money into craft beer in hopes of encouraging more producers to get in the brewing market.

New loans to help small-scale breweries get off the ground, Minister Ron Lemieux says

A new series of loans is in the works to help local breweries get up and running. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries is pumping money into craft beer in hopes of encouraging more producers to get in the brewing market.

The organization has set aside up to $5-million to help cover some of the overhead costs that sometimes serve as a barrier to getting into the brewing business.

"The industry is just starting to boom," Culture and Tourism Minister Ron Lemieux said Monday. "This is a piece that has been missing,"
The loans are targeted toward small operations like Nicole Barry's Peg Beer Co. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Loans of up to $250,000 will be available to help pay for things like brewing and distilling equipment. They will only be available to Manitoba-based companies.

"Equipment like this is very expensive," Lemieux said.

The loans will also be accessible to small-scale producers who are already in the industry and want to expand operations. Applicants will have five years to pay down the loan.

"The craft beer industry is one of those industries that's really starting to take off," Lemieux added. "It has a huge impact on agriculture. You've got hops being grown in Manitoba — barley, the best barley in the world [is] grown here in Manitoba."

The application process opens in late spring/early summer 2016.