Kathy and Warren Vancuren toyed with the idea of opening a craft brewery for four years before they took the plunge and founded the Medicine Hat Brewing Company in early 2016.
“We thought this was something that was really missing in Medicine Hat,” says Kathy. “It puts the city on the map in a totally new way.”
Warren Vancuren and his business partner sold their oil and gas business in February 2016. Kathy and Warren completed their brewery business plan shortly thereafter, and took possession of an 18,000 square foot building in Brier Park in May.
Today, the Vancurens are transforming the former industrial facility into a state-of-the-art craft brewery featuring a 2,500 barrel per year setup ordered from a Victoria, BC supply company. The brewery will also feature a tasting room.
Once they open the doors in October, the Medicine Hat Brewing Company will employ 10 people, including a brewmaster and a small team of brewing assistants, a book-keeper, a handful of part-time tasting room employees, and a marketing person.
As the company grows, the Vancurens forecast up to 20 positions required to keep the operation running smoothly.
In September 2015, Invest Medicine Hat identified brewing and distilling as a strong strategic opportunity for investment.
“When the provincial government relaxed the regulations around craft brewing, it kicked off a bit of a boom” explains Ryan Jackson, Invest Medicine Hat general manager. “Our market research indicated that Medicine Hat was a prime location for investment.”
The Vancurens have had a great experience working within the City of Medicine Hat throughout the startup process and are blown away by the support of the local community.
“Medicine Hat has been an exceptional partner to work with,” says Kathy. “Every City department has been fantastic and it’s amazing to see how local Hatters are getting behind craft beer.”