New Brunswick

University entrepreneurs set to open nano-brewery

Commerce students at Mount Allison University are opening the first nano-brewery in Sackville.

Students will run brewery from former RCMP garage

Members of Bagtown Brewing Company include from left, Jane Rouse, vice-president of marketing, Emily MacKinnon, chairperson, Robbie Baxter, president, Nauman Farooqi, course professor and Anthony Maddalena, vice president of productions. (Kashmala Fida/CBC)

Commerce students at Mount Allison University are opening the first nano-brewery in Sackville.

The Bagtown Brewing Company was born out of an entrepreneurship class project.

"The idea came up in the first week of class," said Robbie Baxter, fifth year commerce student and president of Bagtown Brewing Company. 

"Anthony Maddalena, another student in the class, his brother is a productions manager at Oland's brewery, and he has over the years passed a lot of knowledge about brewing and beer to Tony.

Tony has had some experience brewing in the summer out of his own shed. So he felt pretty confident that we could take his idea and go forward with it."

The first two months of the project were spent figuring out the name, logo and acquiring the licensing for the company.

Baxter said so far the class has rented out a space at the former Sackville RCMP detachment garage and ordered brewing equipment.

"The licensing has taken a significant amount of our time. The goal right now is to be fully licensed this semester and when we come back in January to be able to start pumping out beer and selling it to the masses," he said.

Course extended

Normally, the commerce course runs for one semester but due to the interest and deep involvement of the students, the class will continue next semester as well.

That is something that has only happened on four other occasions since professor Nauman Farooqi started teaching the course in 2002.

"The students set up a living, breathing, real company which is registered. They invest their real money into the company and they set up a real business," said Farooqi. 

He said the students have access to a loan from the university of $5,000, which they can apply for by pitching their business idea.

By the end of the semester they are expected to repay that loan with interest.

"We don't have any classes, we have meetings where the students run the company," Farooqi said.

"My role is that of an adviser in the sense you know, that I advise the company, if they ask me any questions I can respond to them. I don't give them solutions. For example if they come in and ask me, 'you know we are having a problem, what should we do?' My response is here is option A,B,C D. You figure out what you're going to do."

He said what they learn through this experience, they will never forget.