North

Iqaluit microbreweries one step closer to opening taps

In a close vote, Iqaluit city council has given the go-ahead to two proposed microbreweries. The green light from council clears the way for the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board to decide whether the breweries get to set up shop in town.

City council OKs plans; it's now in the hands of Nunavut's Liquor Licensing Board

The Nunavut Brewing Company is one of two companies looking to set up microbreweries in Iqaluit. (Nunavut Brewing Company )

In a close vote, Iqaluit city council has given the go-ahead to two proposed microbreweries.

The green light from council clears the way for the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board to decide whether the breweries get to set up shop in town.

"This debate isn't really about alcohol," said deputy mayor Romeyn Stevenson. "It's not about if we want alcohol in our town. More or less, people are already consuming beer here...It's just about consuming beer that possibly is made here rather than beer that's imported."

Stevenson cast the tie-breaking vote for each proposal, which are quite different in scale.

The Nunavut Brewing Company wants produce up to 1,500 litres of beer a day. Its backers include Cody Dean and Sheldon Nimchuk. They say they have raised $3 million in capital. 

The Iqaluit Brewing Company — which includes former MLA Hunter Tootoo — wants to make up to 2,000 litres of beer per week. They say they've raised $173,000 and plan to borrow the same amount.

Councillor Noah Papatsie also voted in favour of the breweries.

"There will be some employment and we don't have manufactures here in Iqaluit I mean that's a lot of job opportunities for people," he said  "It's a win, win situation for everybody."

Iqaluit resident RJ Facciol says he's happy the city is giving the breweries a chance.

"I'm a big beer fan," he said. "Up here it's expensive but I think the only way for us to see what path it's going to take is for us to go ahead and try it."

The Nunavut Liquour Licencing Board will now get public feedback on the proposals. 

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