Multimillion-dollar distillery under construction in Regina

One of Canada's most successful families in the liquor industry is working to build the biggest distillery in the history of Saskatchewan.

Minhas family brings liquor expertise to Saskatchewan

Moni Minhas owned liquor stores in Calgary 25 years ago. Now he's building Saskatchewan's biggest distillery. Minhas is pictured with his daughter and Dragons' Den star Manjit Minhas. (CBC News)

Moni Minhas is currently working to build the biggest distillery in the history of Saskatchewan.

By the end of February, he said he'll have products on the shelf that were made in the province.

The distillery will produce gin, vodka, whiskey, wine, cream liquor and ready-to-drink cocktails.

The facility will offer tastings, tours, off-sale liquor sales and a gift shop.

"This will be one of the biggest tourist attractions in southern Saskatchewan," said Minhas. "I'm 100 per cent certain of it."

According to Minhas, the business will create 20 jobs for food scientists, mechanics, distillers and others in the region. All the architects, engineers, contractors and suppliers behind the construction of the facility are also Regina based.

Once up and running, Minhas said he plans to use as many Saskatchewan-made ingredients as possible. The products will then be exported to other provinces and countries.

"I'm very close to closing a deal with somebody in California to buy the product that is made in this distillery," Minhas said.

The consumer in Saskatchewan, and in Canada, is ready and willing to try world-class products that are craft small batch.- Moni Minhas

Minhas said he's always had a love affair with Saskatchewan. The Alberta mogul said his cousin even played for the Roughriders decades ago.

"We've been coming to Saskatchewan forever. I thought it was about time that we gave something back to this province," he said.  

Minhas owned liquor stores in Calgary 25 years ago and has long held a patent on vodka.

A former petroleum engineer and creator of two publicly owned oil and gas companies, Minhas came out of retirement to build the distillery.

It's not the well-deserved break his family thought he might take.

Like father, like daughter

Minhas' daughter, Manjit Minhas, is known as one of the entrepreneurial experts on Dragons' Den. She owns a $155-million brewery started in Calgary. Her beers and other products are now sold in many different provinces, including Saskatchewan.

"I'll be selling beer in the province and he'll be selling distilled products. As long as my mom still drinks my beer over his vodka, I'm happy," Manjit said, laughing.
Moni's son and daughter, Ravinder and Manjit Minhas (pictured), started a business as teens which grew into multi-million dollar liquor company. (Dragons' Den)

Manjit knows how lucrative the business of craft beer and liquor is. Currently, she has more than 90 brands of beers, spirits, liqueurs and wines. She said it's all due to demand.

Now, her father is jumping into the ring.

"The consumer in Saskatchewan, and in Canada, is ready and willing to try world-class products that are craft small batch. Not the same stuff that they have had forever," Minhas said.

Before planning the build, Minhas said he spoke with Economy Minister Steven Bonk, Premier Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA). All of the interactions were positive, said Minhas, who was further encouraged to open shop in the province.

"It's a great place to do business."

Minhas plans to have the distillery and winery, located at 444 McLeod St., open by the end of January 2018.