Saskatchewan

Beer battle brewing between Regina craft brewer and Minhas distillery

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority confirmed it has received complaints about a brewery in the province.

SLGA confirms it's looking into complaint

Minhas Saskatchewan Distillery, Winery and Brewery was briefly selling Rebellion Brewing beer. However, the tap handle was not labelled as Rebellion, stoking anger from the Regina craft brewing business. (CBC News)

Regina's Minhas brewery is accused of selling somebody else's beer and it's causing a stir in the local craft beer industry.

Rebellion Brewing owner Mark Heise says the Minhas Sask brewery in the Queen City has been selling his craft beer as its own.

He says he received an anonymous tip about it during the Wednesday lunch hour.

He says he knew he had not sold the keg to Minhas, and his business acted quickly to retrieve its suds. 

"I think it was just the rage, the emotional rage that someone had done that to us and that's our product. It belongs to us, not to to them," he said.

"It was very, very upsetting to know that our product, another manufacturer, acquired our product and was reselling it as their product, without our knowledge." 

Mark Heise is a spokesman for Rebellion Brewing in Regina. (CBC)

Moni Minhas is president and CEO of the company that opened its doors in Regina a few weeks ago.

He defended the decision to buy Rebellion Brewing's IPA, saying he bought the keg from a friend who runs a tavern.   

"By [Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority] law, I am allowed to sell Saskatchewan made beers wines or distilled products in my place. Everybody can," he said, acknowledging, however, that the beer was not labelled.  

"In one part, they were correct, that my tap handle did not say their name on it, because our graphic designer was still working on it."

Moni Minhas talks about selling practices. 0:25

He took issue with what he called "innuendo" that the business had done something wrong, chalking it up to fear of competition. 

"As if we were doing something wrong, or illegal or unethical, I say no," he said. "I think it's a competitor who's worried I would be selling better quality beer at half their price."

The Regina Minhas facility does not brew its own beer as of yet, but Minhas said it plans to do so in the future. 

President and CEO for MinhasSaskatchewan Distillery, Winery and Brewery Moni Minhas says he is within his rights to sell beer made in Saskatchewan, and that he hasn't done anything illegal or immoral. (CBC News)

Heise said he has taken his fight public in the hopes of stopping Minhas from continuing this type of practice, or targeting other local brewers by selling their beer without labelling it appropriately. 

"There's been a full admission of guilt, and hopefully that will put an end to it," he said. 

SLGA confirmed it is looking into complaints. It provided information about advertising and promotions. However, the material did not explicitly set out rules about labelling beer from other brewers. 

Heise said he's trusting SLGA to do its due diligence in investigating the issue.

with files from Stephanie Taylor

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