Days are counting down for local craft brewery fundraiser

Split Rail founders Andy Smith and Eleanor Charlton are budding brewers as they pose with their prototyping brewing equipment. The real deal will be many, many times larger than this system.

MANITOULIN—There are only 15 days left to go in the Kickstarter crowdsourcing campaign to raise the funds needed to help make the Split Rail Brewing Company of Manitoulin Island a reality.

“It’s going well, but there is a long way to go yet,” said co-owner Andrea Smith of Rockville on Monday. “We are 25 percent funded with only 17 days to go.” That means there are only 15 days left today (Wednesday) to put the project over the top. Kickstarter is an online crowdsourcing social media site where the company hopes to raise $55,000. “We were pretty ambitious with our funding proposal,” said Ms. Smith. “We have 95 backers so far.”

Along with her business partner Eleanor Charlton, Ms. Smith is pretty excited about the project. They are even testing out recipes for a hawberry beer.

“It’s early days yet,” laughed Ms. Smith. “We picked the hawberries (and you know how hard that is) and made them into a syrup and now we are trying out different recipes.”

Ms. Smith recalled a hawberry martini recipe she found in an Expositor contest as part of Taste of Manitoulin. “We tried that out and it was really, really good,” she said. “So we are trialing it out.”

Ms. Smith noted some controversy has arisen over the idea of a craft brewery on Manitoulin Island and she said she wanted to address that. “People who know El and I know that we have a very strong sense of social conscience. Our company has a social responsibility mandate and we take that very seriously—that includes responsible consumption.”

The Kickstarter campaign can be found at or just go to and type in Split Rail and the profile will come up.

Michael Erskine