Manitoulin Brewing Co.’s Swing Bridge Blonde Ale now in area LCBOs

MANITOULIN—The Manitoulin Brewing Company’s (MBC) flagship beer, Manitoulin Swing Bridge Blonde Ale, officially hit LCBO shelves on the Island earlier this week.

“We started the process to have LCBO carry the Manitoulin Swing Bridge Blonde Ale last fall,” said MBC co-brewer Blair Hagman in a Monday interview. “It was a six month process and we were very excited when we officially got listed (from the LCBO) last week.”

“We started distributing the product and as of today it was officially stocked on Island LCBO shelves,” added Mr. Hagman. “It is a big step for us.”

Cans or cases of the blonde ale are available at Gore Bay, Mindemoya, Manitowaning and Little Current LCBOs, with agencies to also be receiving stock shortly.

Several other area LCBO locations will also be stocking the Manitoulin beer including Killarney and several Sudbury stores.

“Single cans are a big trend right now, allowing individuals to pick and select an assortment of brews,” said Mr. Hagman, noting how pleased they are to now be included in the selection. Cans of Swing Bridge retail for $2.90.

The flagship beer is also available at the Little Current Beer Store, two Sudbury locations and on tap at number of restaurant locations on Manitoulin and across Northern Ontario.

A Little Current-based Manitoulin Brewing Company brewery and retail location is also in the works, with Mr. Hagman and co-brewer Nishin Meawasige recently receiving zoning amendment approval to open a brewery in the former Manitoulin Chrysler building (located on Highway 6).

The pair will be starting renovations on the building soon with the brewery to open later this year.

The Expositor also learned that the opening of the brewery will be accompanied by the launch of a new brew, but Mr. Hagman was close lipped about the beer.

“It is a pretty great beer, but we won’t be divulging anything just yet,” laughed Mr. Hagman.

Both the Manitowaning and Little Current LCBO locations are working on Manitoulin Swing Bridge Blonde Ale retail displays, and there could be an opportunity to sample  the ale at the Little Current location this long weekend (details were not confirmed as of Monday).

Mr. Hagman and Mr. Meawasige combined their passion for beer and love of Manitoulin, creating the MBC and launching their first brew, the Manitoulin Swing Bridge Blonde Ale, last summer.

The duo grew up in Blind River, but both made Manitoulin their homes.

Working with brewmaster Mark Lewis, who has worked for Flying Monkey Craft Brewery, Collingwood Brew and King Brewery, Mr. Hagman and Mr. Meawasige created 12 styles of beer before developing their flagship brew.

The Swing Bridge Blond Ale is an easy drinking beer. It is full-bodied, but with light notes and a white foamy head with no strong aftertaste.

The pair said they created the brew to be enjoyed all year-round—from a hot festival day or after a day of ice fishing—and to be paired with the activities Islanders enjoy on Manitoulin.