A Saskatchewan beer company has something going on, and it’s not just the beer.
Great Western Brewing Company in Saskatoon is looking to expand its operations and update its current technology, while maintaining historic parts of the brewery built in the 1920s.
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“At 94, he’s starting to show his age,” admitted Great Western CEO Michael Brennan. “Every day we run the risk that one of our parts will break and we will not be able to produce beer.
“That’s a risk that I can’t live with as CEO, so that’s what really drives this.”
Great Western Brewing is in talks with the City of Saskatoon to approve zoning for an addition to the brewery that would be built on the current parking space.
If approved, construction will begin next year.
“We have been talking to the city for several months, but now we have started the formal process with them,” Brennan said. “They have to go through an approval process as the zoning of this area was changed many years ago so we are not really zoned to add a new brewery on this site.”
The expansion would cost the company about $ 40 million and double current beer production to 100 million cans per year.
“It’s going to be one of the hippest breweries in the country,” Brennan said. “Right now we use about 900 liters of water to make 100 liters of beer and we will cut it in half.”
Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jason Aebig says he is excited to see how the expansion will bring more business to a growing area of the city.
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“I think it’s a great development for Saskatoon, because it’s actually an expansion of the city’s business core north of downtown,” Aebig said. “With the expansion of Great Western, this will continue to shape 2nd Avenue North as a key commercial corridor.”
“It’s great because with the opening of River Landing and now these anchor businesses on 2nd Avenue North, in effect, downtown was finished and we started to really see the expansion of the core, which is exciting for all of us.”
He says it’s a business testimony that despite decades of challenges and a recent pandemic, Great Western Brewing is still generating more jobs and growth in Saskatchewan.
“It’s a Saskatoon success story,” he said. “We should all be really proud of it and really excited that this company continues to grow and take root right here.”
Great Western CEO says it’s a success story he’s proud to add a chapter to.
“What I’m most excited about is … the 16 gentlemen who, 31 years ago, took a risk to keep this brewery in town alive,” Brennan said. “And (the fact that) we can continue that legacy for those gentlemen.”
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He adds that they are excited to provide more job opportunities at a difficult time for the people of the province.
“We employ 100 people throughout Western Canada. Most of them are here in the city. Being able to build on site allows us to use our existing packaging facilities without having to reinvest there, but at the same time protect the jobs. “
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