PEI

Brewers on P.E.I., across Canada concerned about fate of DME

Brewing companies on P.E.I. and across the country are shocked that Charlottetown's Diversified Metal Engineering is now in receivership.

'I'm kind of surprised and disappointed, they seemed like an excellent company to work with'

Alex Clark with Evermoore Brewing Company says he hopes to see Diversified Metal Engineering survive after hearing the company is in receivership. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Brewing companies on P.E.I. and across the country are shocked that Charlottetown's Diversified Metal Engineering is now in receivership.

DME makes equipment for food and beverage industries, including equipment and components for craft brewing operations.

Alex Clark with Evermoore Brewing Company in Summerside, P.E.I., is one of those breweries. Clark said he was surprised by the news.

They were so proud and I loved that about the company.— Ken Spears

Evermoore's brewing equipment is fully installed but Clark said losing DME could mean having to find a supplier off-Island.

"There's always a concern in an operation like this that we will be shut down because of some sort of technical or manufacturing fault," Clark said.

"We certainly purchase from DME because of their proximity to us and because they're some of the best producers in the world of this equipment." 

Concern for DME employees

Clark is also worried about DME's workers, with whom he's developed relationships, and said he hopes the company survives. 

Ken Spears with Copper Bottom Brewing in Montague echoes those concerns.

"One thing that struck me about the company was how proud they were about the product they made," Spears wrote in a statement to CBC News.

"When we toured the DME plant to see our brew house for the first time, the workers were beaming as much as we were. They were so proud and I loved that about the company." 

Breweries across Canada

The receivership has some breweries as far away as Alberta asking questions.

Prairie Brewing Company purchased $20,000 of automated brewing equipment from DME last year. It says if DME closes, the brewery will be without technical support should something go wrong. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Prairie Brewing Company purchased approximately $20,000 worth of brewing equipment from DME in 2017.

"I'm kind of surprised and disappointed, they seemed like an excellent company to work with," said Mark Ferguson, president of Prairie Brewing Company out of Three Hills, Alta.

"There was closer options — we're in Alberta. They were excellent to deal with and kind of have a premium product."

'Very sudden turn of events'

Ferguson said they haven't had to deal with DME often now that their brewery equipment is up and running, but he is concerned about the brewery equipment's computer systems, which are adjusted by DME's ongoing customer support.

Red Island Cider, a cider brewery in P.E.I., said it's expecting a shipment of tanks in the next few weeks. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"It basically monitors all the temperatures, and speeds of our pumps and everything and semi-automates it, automatically opens and closes valves when we need steam, that sort of thing," Ferguson said.

"Right now, if the program fails, we wouldn't be able to brew and it would compromise the beer we have in production."

Red Island Cider, a craft cider brewery in P.E.I., said they're unsure of how a DME closure could affect its business. 

The brewery is expecting a delivery of tanks in the next few weeks, and hopes to be up and running next year.

"Right now we are still investigating all options and trying to gain more details on our own with this very sudden turn of events," read a company statement sent to CBC.

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