South River Brewery planned to move production to Ottawa or southern Ontario, but after consultation with New Ontario Brewing, decided to keep all Highlander Brewing production in northern Ontario.
New Ontario Brewing, a local business growing by leaps and bounds, is expanding again by taking over the production of all products from the Highlander Brewing Company, formerly brewed in South River.
New Ontario has a new, state-of-the-art facility on Seymour Street in the former Northern Honda building.
The company has a production agreement with the Toronto company United craftsmanship, the owners of Highlander Brewing Company.
“United Craft intended to move production to Ottawa or southern Ontario,” says Mike Harrison, President and Brewmaster of New Ontario Brewery Society. “AAfter consultation with New Ontario Brewing, they decided to keep all Highlander Brewing production in northern Ontario.
“With the termination of our agreement with the South River Brewery, we have started a discussion about where to move production,” said Ian Macdonald, President of United Craft. “We decided the best thing for the brand was to keep it in Northern Ontario and with the original master brewer. The water is excellent and Mike Harrison and his team are truly the professionals we wanted to make this beer ”.
United Craft has therefore entered into an exclusive relationship to produce all Highlander Brewing products and retain all production jobs in Northern Ontario. Production is slated to begin next month and Harrison even plans to hire two more production workers.
“It’s strange that beer production is moving north, but United Craft was happy to see that we were innovators and happy to see that we are still community first and we moved into this facility with state-of-the-art packaging and brewing equipment, ”said Harrison. CKAT. “It gave them the confidence to make the production switch here.”
Harrison expects the deal to result in a 25-30% increase in volume at its brewing plant for popular Scottish Ale and Smoked Porter.
Moving production from one facility to another is nothing new in brewing, but the fact that production is moving further north is an aberration. New Ontario Brewing’s recent announcement of the hiring of Brian Wilson, founder and master brewer of Highlander Brewing, was instrumental in the move.
“Brian Wilson has been the man behind these beers since 2009. We couldn’t imagine a better person to keep this brand alive and healthy,” said Pat Macdonald, CEO of United Craft. “Couple that with the fact that we are able to maintain production in the north, well, we see it as a win-win. “
Pat and Ian Macdonald are a mother-son team who run United Craft Brewing, a company that represents many cider houses and breweries in Ontario.
With the COVID-19 outbreak, New Ontario Brewing recently received funding from the Ontario Together Fund which has helped them switch to more product lines such as disinfectant manufacturing and distillation.
See: New Ontario Brewery recognized by the province for its innovation
“When 2020 started, we were like everyone else, wondering what we were going to do, with our traditional markets in chaos,” Harrison said. “We weren’t expecting to make disinfectants, spirits or go into other brands and products. We are excited to make this decision and grow into 2021.”
This will continue even after COVID Harrison told BayToday.
“It’s one of those things that we thought was dying, we didn’t know it, but it’s actually going pretty well even now, so it’s definitely a market that we’ll continue for the foreseeable future.
New Ontario Brewing continues to produce hand sanitizer under the Pure North Medical brand and recently began installing sanitizer stations at local businesses, educational institutions and hospitals. This project produced tens of thousands of liters of disinfectant that were used throughout the pandemic across the province, with a focus on northern Ontario. This increase in production has allowed New Ontario to hire staff and maintain full-time positions that would otherwise have been impossible during COVID.
This innovative initiative made them the recipients of the North Bay Chamber of Commerce Innovation Award. In 2016, it was named New Company of the Year.
See: New Ontario Brewing Company named “New Business of the Year”
The company also recently received a grant of $ 842,000 from FedNor to expand into foreign markets.
See: New Ontario Brewing Expands to Target Foreign Markets
Their new facility officially opened 7 days a week this summer at the corner of Highway 11 and Seymour.
Ontario’s move with United Craft follows announced name change from South River Brewing Company in the South River. Last month it announced it was changing its business name and branding, and will now be called South River Brewery. In a social media posting, the brewery said the change was underway to “better reflect our location and our heritage within the region and the community.”