KILLARNEY – Manitoulin Brewing Company (MBC) is eyeing a possible expansion into a new nanobrewery operation at Killarney Mountain Lodge pending licence approval, further enhancing the brewery’s relationship with the town across Georgian Bay from its present operations in Little Current.
“There’s not much we can say right now,” said MBC president Blair Hagman. “We’re doing our due diligence to get things started and set up.”
MBC’s plan for the site is to have a small production facility and a retail area. A brewer will be employed at the site and employees will be hired for packaging and sales.
“It’s a nano-sized brewery and we’re thinking of doing some experimental brews over that side. And we’ll definitely be brewing some Killarney Cream Ale over there,” said Mr. Hagman.
Craft breweries in Ontario are those that produce less than 40 million litres of beer worldwide per year, according to a provincial document. Microbreweries produce less than 5 million litres of beer worldwide per year and nanobreweries produce less than 300,000 litres of beer per year.
Although the team was looking at opening this year, the current plan is to try again next year in the hopes that the tourist season will be closer to normal. Mr. Hagman said his company has all the equipment, though it is not yet on site.
Council for the Municipality of Killarney recently approved the request to have a nanobrewery within its borders at Killarney Mountain Lodge. With this approval, the brewer can seek licencing from the Alcohol and Gaming Corporation of Ontario.
“Every year (Destination Killarney and MBC) work closer and closer together; this is our latest venture,” said Kelly McAree, general manager of Destination Killarney, the parent company of Killarney Mountain Lodge and The Sportsman’s Inn. “It’s sort of a cool partnership that works for both of us.”
The partnership will enhance the profile of MBC’s products to Killarney tourists and will also be incorporated into Killarney Mountain Lodge’s activities programs for its guests.
He added that the operation will not require much space so it will be housed in an unused shed at the back of the property that was created during the recent construction efforts at the resort.
MBC has been strengthening its relationship with Destination Killarney in recent years, including the creation of Killarney Cream Ale and the advent of the Current to Killarney paddling race between Little Current and Killarney that features a fleet of massive North (voyageur) canoes.
For the brewery, this is another measure to solidify that relationship.
“It adds a new experience to be able to have a small-scale brewery and to be able to try out experimental recipes and have a little more fun with how we brew and distribute the beer back and forth by boat from (Little Current) to Killarney,” said Mr. Hagman.
The owner of Destination Killarney, Holden Rhodes, also has an ownership stake in MBC.