Ontario Supporting Craft Breweries Across Northern Ontario

Toronto, Ontario – Ontario is investing in 16 local breweries to help expand economic opportunity, increase tourism and create jobs across the North.

Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, was joined by Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan at the Sleeping Giant Brewing Company in Thunder Bay to make the announcement. The microbrewery received funding through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) to purchase new equipment and relocate into a larger facility in order to expand its operation and meet increased demand for its products.

From Highlander Brew Co. in South River to Lake of the Woods Brewing Co. in Kenora, craft brewers are setting up shop across Northern Ontario, generating jobs and investing millions of dollars in local economies. By using locally-grown hops in their products they are also boosting Ontario’s agricultural sector. Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation funding support is making it easier for craft brewers to expand operations and get their products into restaurants and bars across the province.

Ontario’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and over 65, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

  • Sleeping Giant Brewing Company received $800,000 to expand its operation.
  • The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) has supported the craft beer industry in Northern Ontario by investing more than $5.2 million in 16 microbreweries. This has resulted in more than $8.4 million in direct economic activity and created 109 jobs.
  • Through the 2018 budget, Ontario is continuing to promote growth in Northern Ontario by gradually increasing NOHFC funding over the next three years to $150 million by 2020-21.
  • Craft beer is a rapidly expanding sector in Ontario, employing thousands of people in direct brewery jobs, and generating more than $89 million in sales in 2016/17 at the LCBO.
  • In 2017, the craft beer industry estimated that there was more than $370 million in sales of craft beer in Ontario, up from $240 million in 2015.

“Without the support of the NOHFC, Sleeping Giant Brewing would not be where we are today. We have increased our capacity, our staff, our distribution, and our impact because of the financial support provided. Being able to maintain our rate of growth and job creation is directly a result of strategic partnerships like this. The recognition by the NOHFC that craft brewing has a tremendous positive impact in each community has made the growth of our industry in Northern Ontario much better, and each community is better for it.” Matt Pearson Owner and Operator, Sleeping Giant Brewing Co.

“Highlander Brew Co. wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of the government and the leadership of Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister Gravelle and the NOHFC. The province’s investments have allowed us to expand our business and give back to the South River community that we call home. This government has championed the Craft Brewery industry for years and the NOHFC’s partnerships with companies like ours demonstrate their commitment to ensuring Northern Ontario benefits from the opportunities in our growing sector.” Dwayne Wanner President, Highlander Brew Co.

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