Minhas siblings craft their lifelong dream

- June 26th, 2012

Minhas
Beer drinkers in Calgary have a new reason to raise their glasses. The long-awaited Minhas Micro Brewery opens its doors yesterday in the city’s northeast. Family and friends joined owners Manjit and Ravinder Minhas for the official ribbon cutting. This marks siblings Manjit and Ravinder’s 10th anniversary in the beer business. BRENDAN MILLER/SPECIAL TO CALGARY SUN

It’s been a decade in the making, but Ravinder and Manjit Minhas’ dream has come true.
The founders of Mountain Crest Brewery, a mini-beer empire, are celebrating a decade in the brew business, with a great present to themselves, and Calgary beer lovers: a new facility churning out craft suds.
Minhas Micro Brewery, off 12 St on 44 Ave N.E. opened last Friday for a sneak peek (invited guests only today, but don’t worry, it will open to the public soon enough) of the multi-million-dollar facility, featuring a brewing operation, pizza restaurant, tour tasting room, corporate offices and an in-house production studio.
Not bad for what I’m sure was a non-descript set of light industrial bays not too long ago.
The Calgary-born siblings couldn’t be more ecstatic to start this chapter in their business journey, after operating a brewery in Wisconsin for the last decade.
“It’s always been our dream to return to Calgary,” Ravinder told me, adding this wasn’t their first attempt to set up shop on this side of the border, but starting a brewery from scratch didn’t make sense before.
The new operation, all dark wood, granite and steel features, obviously, a brewery that will be making the companies newer line of craft beer, including 2 gluten-free options, and the Chocolate Bunny Stout, as well as newer entries I have come to like, the Imperial Jack IPA and Mystical Jack Traditional Ale.
“This is a new segment for us too,” Manjit said of the move to different varieties of craft beer.”
“But we’ve always prided ourselves on being a craft brewery.”
Ravinder says they’re moving their business to where a lot of brewers are, as tastes and the market in Canada catches up to where it’s been in the U.S.
“Ten years ago, if we had thought about doing a double IPA, I’d never have sold 10 bottles,” he said.
“We knew the market wanted this.
“It’s not just the brewers, but it’s the consumer that has a choice.”
But, aside from selling these new beers in liquor stores, getting people to come pay a visit can be an important side of the business.
Aside from the elegantly appointed tasting rooom that will feature prominently as part of a tour of the brewery, the duo opted for a pizza restaurant, which sets it apart from what Big Rock and Wild Rose have on offer for food.
And who doesn’t love pizza and beer, right?
The idea was inspired by a visit to a San Diego brewery that specialized in dishing out pie with their pints, and the duo are betting that
In a reflection of the belief that the industry in Alberta is a community, Ravinder says Pizza Brew will also feature five rotating guest taps, on top of the 10 Minhas beers on offer, showcasing what else Alberta craft breweries have to offer.
Their company has taken some criticism over the years, even tweeting a congratulations to them last Friday saw me greeted with derision from one blogger.
But as I’ve said before, Alberta has lagged behind in brewing operations, and in beers produced — and competition benefits the industry and the consumer.
And who doesn’t want to see the brewing industry in Alberta grow?
More players make everyone better.
I’m never going to like every offering every brewer puts out, but I’ll never dismiss every offering from a company because someone told me it’s all bad.

Categories: Drinking

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