Island craft breweries capture kudos at brewing awards

Manitoulin Brewing's Killarney Cream Ale won gold at the 2022 Ontario Brewing Awards.

MANITOULIN—Manitoulin is home to two excellent craft breweries, and both have recently ranked among the top in their class in the 2022 Ontario Brewing Awards competition, Manitoulin Brewing Company (MBC) of Little Current capturing a gold in the American Standard Beer category with Killarney Cream Ale and Split Rail Brewing Company of Gore Bay bringing home a bronze in the Dark British Beer category for their Loonsong Oats Stout.

For MBC president Blair Hagman the news came with another great bit of news. “We are now the best-selling craft brewery in Northern Ontario,” he said. When it comes to awards, being the top selling comes with some very obvious tangible rewards.

“Of course, we were very pleased with both the Ontario Brewing Award and the news we are the best-selling craft brewery in the North,” said Mr. Hagman, who credited the hard work and dedication of the MBC crew.

The recipe for the gold winning beer was actually created in 2016, noted Mr. Hagman, but this is the first time MBC has submitted one of its beers to a competition.

“We are quite proud of Killarney Cream Ale, it is our top seller in the LCBO and the best seller in restaurant and bars,” he said. The name is a great fit for the beer, he added, but “it is the taste that keeps them coming back.”

“Sudbury is a great supporter of our brewery, there are so many restaurants that have our beer on tap,” he said. “John (Kift, MBC salesperson) is amazing.”

The Ontario Brewing Awards competition is open to all Canadian-owned commercial brewers and beer brands whose products are produced and packaged in Ontario. Beers submitted must currently be, have previously been, or will be, available for legal sale and consumption by the public.

The Ontario Brewing Awards has 38 categories, including a number of which are a combination of multiple beer styles as well as a Best of Show Award.

The Ontario Brewing Awards are sanctioned by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). Entries are assessed by BJCP judges in teams of two or three, with each team focused on a specific beer style category. Judging was based on adherence to the published 2021 BJCP style guidelines.