The Forks hopes to bring experimental brewery to Market
Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre ponders move from Main Street digs to Forks Market
The Forks is hoping to brew up a new tenant that can fill space in its Market building as well as glasses of suds.
The Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre, a non-profit research brewery that produces test batches of beer, is considering a move from its Main Street office building to a new long-term home.
The centre is in talks to move into the second floor of the Forks Market — and sell some of its experimental brews at The Common bar at ground level, Forks CEO Paul Jordan said Friday at his organization's annual general meeting.
"They're taking the barley and the malt and testing it with great research scientists, making perfect beer and telling their members what is different with barley every year — and then they're flushing it down the drain. We're saying let's flush it through The Common," Jordan said after the meeting.
The centre said in a statement it would make sense to move into The Forks, provided funding could be secured for such a move.
The Forks has all but abandoned a plan to lure a microbrewery to its grounds. Jordan said that idea was floated before Winnipeg's independent brewing industry exploded.
"When we designed it, there were no craft breweries out here. Now there are. We don't want to get into competition with them, so a brewery is not what we're looking for," he said.
The Manitoba Brewing Association is nonetheless concerned it could lose some access to customers at The Common, should the barley centre take over one of the taps at the bar.
Brewing association president John Heim said while a move to The Forks would be good for the barley centre, his members have long complained of access to only five of the 20 taps at The Common.
"It's a good news story, but whether or not they're going to take over a tap from a local businessperson who is trying to meet their mortgage and their capital investment in the brewing industry is another thing," said Heim, who's also the president of Torque Brewing.
"There's 15 brewers in Manitoba, all making a variety of beer from sours to IPAs to blonde ales. There's something for everybody, so just like The Forks, there should be a beer for everybody."
Jordan said The Forks is not trying to pour cold water on Manitoba breweries by pouring out-of-province beverages at The Common.