Local craft brewer, New Ontario Brewing Company, is set to expand, including to foreign markets, after receiving an $842,000 grant from FedNor today.
The five-year-old brewery will use the money to expand and purchase automated processing equipment to enhance production and reduce operating costs. Once complete, it will help the company increase capacity tenfold, help sales, and exports, while creating up to 12 new jobs. The company presently employs 10.
New Ontario has already expanded rapidly, going from a 1,200 sq. ft. building on Cassells St. to a 17,000 sq. ft. facility, the former Northern Honda building at the corner of Seymour and the bypass.
"As the economy bounces back and bars and restaurants reopen, this investment in our infrastructure will help us brew more beer at a time, which will cut our per litre cost, help us package more beer, become more competitive and increase our purchasing power and get more of our products to market in Ontario, and throughout Canada. We're working right now on export deals to trade with the European Union," said Mike Harrison, President, of New Ontario Brewing Company.
The beer is presently served throughout Ontario.
Harrison says working with FedNor has saved two or three years of effort.
"It's allowed us the pick up the pace with the purchase of high technology packaging lines, brewhouses, pumps...all these high ticket items that really help drive our operation forward, cut our cost of production, and increase our overall efficiency. It would have put us back years without the funding, for sure.'
One of the more intriguing aspects of the announcement is exporting the North Bay product, and to a county famous for its beers...Ireland.
"We already have relationships with a brewery in the EU right now and the Republic of Ireland, so that's our first area of expansion because of our existing relationships with a distributor.
"Once you're inside the EU the game changes a little bit because of the integrated economy. So products can travel fairly freely through there. Our main focus will be sending products over to Ireland to start, and then expanding on what we hopefully see as success in the Irish market."
That will be a big accomplishment seeing that stouts, ales, and lagers are synonymous with Irish culture and tradition, featuring brands like Harp, Murphy's, and Guinness.
"We bring a taste of northern Ontario to the marketplace and this priority project will allow us to extend our reach and get our high-quality craft brew into the hands of beer enthusiasts around the world," said Harrison proudly.
It has been 100 years since North Bay last had a brewery.