A rash of microbreweries have sprung up throughout Winnipeg over the past couple of years to give the city’s industrial and retail markets an unexpected boost.
Thanks to provincial legislation that reduced red tape and the cost for starting up brewing operations, Winnipeg has become a veritable hotbed of IPAs, stouts and pilsners.
There’s Barn Hammer Brewing and One Great City Brewing Co. near Polo Park Shopping Centre, Captain K Distillery and Torque Brewing Company a few kilometres further north, Little Brown Jug Brewing Co. just north of downtown, Trans Canada Brewing Co. in the south part of town near Ikea and Stone Angel Brewing Co. near the University of Manitoba.
Another microbrewery, Kilter Brewing, is preparing to open up on the outskirts of downtown.
There’s also Brazen Hall Kitchen & Brewery, which is on the old site of the Round Table restaurant on Pembina Highway in Fort Garry.
That’s all in addition to the established players, Fort Garry Brewing Co., a stone’s throw from Trans Canada, and Half Pints Brewing Co. near Richardson International Airport.
None of the upstarts is running the kind of operation that will put a scare into Labatt or Molson, but they’ve combined to take over several hundred thousand square feet of space that may have been empty if it weren’t for the province’s actions a few years ago. They’ve also carved out a growing niche among beer drinkers.
Torque, for example, has a 12,000-square-foot brewery and a 4,000-square-foot taproom, boardroom and administrative area.
“We’re a craft beer city now,” said John Heim, Torque’s president.