Special guests enjoy sunset cruise under the iconic bridge while sampling new beverage

LITTLE CURRENT— It was a warm night full of celebration and cold beer aboard North Channel Cruiseline’s Grand Heron for the official launch of the Manitoulin Brewing Company’s (MBC) flagship beer, the Swing Bridge Blond Ale, last Saturday night.

The new brew features the image of the Manitoulin Swing Bridge and is  available at licenced establishments across the Island.
The new brew features the image of the Manitoulin Swing Bridge and is available at licenced establishments across the Island.

MBC founders Blair Hagman and Nishin Meawasige kicked off the evening by welcoming the boat full of special guests, recognizing each individual and their contribution to helping them launch their first beer, taking a brief break to cheers the new beer as the boat passed under the swinging bridge (and the brew’s namesake.)

The pair recounted the start to their MBC journey two years ago when the long-time friends decided to combine their passion for beer and love of Manitoulin to create a craft brewery.

Manitoulin Brewing Company founders Blair Hagman and Nishin Meawasige receive a certificate from Algoma- Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha.
Manitoulin Brewing Company founders Blair Hagman and Nishin Meawasige receive a certificate from Algoma-
Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha.

“We have been working on this for the last two years and there wouldn’t be a Swing Bridge Ale if it wasn’t for the support of our friends, family and everyone else who made this possible,” said Mr. Hagman.

Mr. Hagman and Mr. Meawasige worked closely with brewmaster Mark Lewis, making several batches before developing the Manitoulin Swing Bridge Blond Ale.

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Manitoulin Brewing Company founders Blair Hagman and Nishin Meawasige

“We wanted to create an easy drinking beer that would be good in the winter or summer,” explained Mr. Hagman. “It is golden in colour with a white foam head. It has a slight bitter taste upon first sip, but after is light, smooth and easy to drink.”

“We wanted to create something that Islanders could be proud of,” said Mr. Meawasige. “We wanted something that people on the Island would be excited to share and call their own.”

The pair revealed that the Swing Bridge Blond Ale will be available at restaurants across the Island this summer, encouraging locals and tourists to support local establishments, and at festivals such as Haweater Weekend and the Frec.Me Festival, but will be available at their Little Current retail location and the LCBO this fall.

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Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin congratulated the MBC on the launch of their flagship beer noting, “I know the community is looking forward to you coming out of your living room and into your Little Current location.”

“It is great to have a local brewing company in our community,” the mayor added. “I know that visitors to the Island are always looking for local products and this is a great asset to Manitoulin. Congratulations on what I am sure will be a successful endeavour.”

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Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha was also onboard to extend his congratulations and well wishes on behalf of MP Carol Hughes who was unable to attend the launch party.

“Today was a busy day, but this was something great to look forward to,” said Mr. Mantha. “These fine young men have done a great initiative that is going to benefit Manitoulin as a whole. I can’t wait until I can buy a case for my fridge in Queen’s Park,” he joked.

Mr. Mantha also presented a certificate to the MBC founders from himself and Ms. Hughes, celebrating the new business.

Guests not only enjoyed sampling the new ale, but also delicious appetizer pairings, great live music and good company.

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A final cheers at sunset with the swing bridge in the background concluded a festive evening.