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This article was published 26/8/2020 (680 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Brandon has so far been left out of the expansion of craft beer in Manitoba, but that is set to soon change with a new brewery opening on 10th Street.
Called Black Wheat Brewing, the brewery is set to move into a new commercial building at the corner of 10th Street and Louise Avenue.
Co-owner Ted Birch said the venture will be a "grain-to-glass" brewery, with the whole beer making process done on location. The building will house fermenters, where the beer is actually made from barley.
"We start with grain and end up with beer," Birch said. "We don’t buy it somewhere else and just truck in kegs and call ourselves a brewhouse or anything. We’re actually making it at our place."
The signature brew will be one made with black wheat, which Birch said is a kind of blackened wheat. While the signature beer will be a darker variety, the plan is to serve a wide variety of beers.
"Beer lovers seem to like that really heavy, hoppy beer, but it’s not for everybody, so we’ll have lighter and darker beers," he said.
Black Wheat Brewing will have a tasting room where people can sample the beers and a patio in the summer months. Birch said it won’t serve food, only beer.
Beer brewing isn’t new in Brandon’s history. Brandon Brewery and Empire Brewing Company ran facilities in the city, but closed in the 1930s.
With the city’s population, Birch said it is odd that a craft brewery hasn’t yet set up in Brandon.
"It certainly has the population to sustain a craft brewery. Many people in Brandon travel to Winnipeg to check out the craft breweries so we thought we’d build one in town," he said.
"I think Brandon is pretty big on it’s local and I think just having locally brewed craft beer is certainly going to pique some interest and I think it’s going to turn a lot of people onto craft beer."
Black Wheat Brewing bought the newly built 4,000-square-foot space, which Birch said will be a good fit — if a little small. The tasting room will be able to accommodate 75 people.
The plan is also for the brewery to start selling to local bars and restaurants and in provincially run Liquor Marts.
The tentative opening date is in October, but Birch said the ultimate goal is to have it open before Christmas. The company has the building permit, but when reached on Tuesday he said they were waiting for construction and mechanical work to be done.
Black Wheat Brewing is the first modern brewery to open in Brandon, but not the only one in Westman. Farmery Estate Brewery runs a facility in Neepawa.
In 2019, a group purchased a section of land on Pacific Avenue to build a microbrewery. Benjamin Loewen, the entrepreneur behind Little Brother Brewing, said the plan to open on Pacific Avenue is not moving forward, but he is still working to open a brewery.
Loewen said he is currently working with a partner to sign a lease on a property, but on Tuesday he said he wasn’t ready to share where or when it would open.
"Our plans are going great and I’m really happy with where our direction is," Loewen said.
"Hopefully it’s close. Like with anything, you make all your best intentions to move forward and then you wait."
The other half of the lot was sold to Robyn Sneath/Bowerbird Holdings Ltd. to build an "indoor adventure park." Robyn Sneath could not be reached for an update on the project on Tuesday.
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