Thunder Bay·Audio

Lake of the Woods Brewing Co. to use water from its namesake, exclusively, with new brewery

Think of it as being a victim of your own success. The Lake of the Woods Brewing Company in Kenora, Ont., has so much demand for its product, the brewery needs to increase its supply. 

Goal is to have new production facility brewing all of company's Canadian beer

Taras Manzie, president of the Lake of the Woods Brewing Company, says a new production facility should be online by 2021 to brew all of the company's beer in Kenora. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Think of it as being a victim of your own success.

The Lake of the Woods Brewing Company in Kenora, Ont., has so much demand for its product, the brewery needs to increase its supply. 

Taras Manzie, the company President, said when the brewery first opened six years ago, he knew within a week that more production capacity would be needed.

"It's no secret," the Kenora-based brewery has been producing much of its beer in  southern Ontario, while still using its own brewers and staff.

"We want to bring all of that production back home, which was always the intention, but, it's time and money and people. And, over the last couple of years especially, it's been a focus, of how do we get there."

Manzie said the brewery is going to open a production facility in Kenora, and hopes to start renovations of the space by September 2019, with the space expected to be ready for beer production about 18 months later.
The canning line at Lake of the Woods Brewing in Kenora, Ont., is too small for the demand for the company's beer. A new brewery and production facility will ensure all of the company's beer is produced in Kenora. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

"We have a lot of production that we instantly will be picking up from co-brewing to supplement what we've been brewing here in Kenora, what we've been brewing in Winnipeg, and then what Minnesota will brew as well."

Brewing and distilling 

Manzie said beer is what the company is built on, but he also expects to branch into distilling in the near future.

"Whiskey Island exists about 10 miles from here on the lake, and it was something that we registered quite awhile ago, Whiskey Island Distilling Company, so we have a number of things sort of percolating in the background that we're feeling that we're able to capitalize [on] now that we're going into year six."
The flagship location of the Lake of the Woods Brewing Company is the former fire hall on Second St. South in Kenora, Ont. (Amy Hadley/CBC)

"We've actually increased the population in Kenora, by recruiting from out [of town]," said Manzie, noting two brewers at the Kenora operation are originally from Nigeria and South Africa.

He said the new production brewery will employ about 24 staff when it is fully operational. 

'So busy, and so well-received' 

Manzie said Manitoba has always been important to Kenora for tourism, but also for beer.

"From our first fall, we've been exploring and working and playing in the Manitoba marketplace."

The company will expand its footprint in Manitoba, as the Lake of the Woods Brewing Company will be part of True North Square, which is adjacent to the MTS Centre and RBC Convention Centre in downtown Winnipeg.

Manzie said the beer at that tap area will be made on-site by a dedicated nano-brewery. The expectation is that site will open in September, in time for the NHL season.

"I can honestly say when we opened the doors on June 29, 2013, there was kind of a, 'Oh, what did we do', because it's been so busy, and so well received, and for that, we are very, very grateful."

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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