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Dragons back Manitoba brewers

Chris and Lawrence Warwaruk went into the Dragons' Den with a dream and came out with a couple of partners for their estate brewery.

The owners of Farmery Brewery have agreed to partner with Arlene Dickinson and David Chilton, two of the angel investors on the popular television show, in getting the first estate brewery in Canada up and running on the family farm in Neepawa.

An estate brewery brews beer with ingredients that are grown on the property.

The brothers went into the show asking for $200,000 in exchange for a 20 per cent stake in the company, but in the end they didn't have to give up any ownership. "All five dragons were bidding on it. We went into the backroom and we felt David and Arlene had the best experience with marketing and being able to take our beer to a national level," Chris Warwaruk said.

The Warwaruks will pay out six per cent royalties to the two dragons. The final terms are still being negotiated.

"We're looking forward to negotiating so we can build the brewery on the farm. We're hoping it will be up and running in the fall," Warwaruk said.

It's estimated the entire project will cost between $2.5 million and $3 million. Where the rest of the required capital will come from is yet to be determined.

"We will have to get significant investments to get to the next level. We're open to discussing that with other people," Lawrence Warwaruk said.

He said they are going to make sure they progress methodically and do not make the same mistakes other breweries in the province, most notably Fort Garry Brewing Company, have made.

The pair hosted about 120 friends and family members at Luxalune Gastropub, the Osborne Street pub they operate on Wednesday night to watch the episode.

When they announced their deal on the show, the crowd erupted like a hockey crowd cheering an overtime goal.

"It's everything that my brother and I have dreamed of," Chris Warwaruk said.

There was little time to celebrate. They were scheduled to board a plane to Los Angeles this morning to showcase their beer at the Golden Globe Awards.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

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