Sask. Bound – Invest Medicine Hat

Sask. Bound

Brewing / News / People / Start-up Culture

Riding the craft beer boom, Medicine Hat Brewing Company expands distribution to Saskatchewan

June 13, 2018

Medicine Hat Brewing Company’s line of craft beer is now available in Saskatchewan.

The neighbouring province is a challenging market to crack given regulations around importing beer from other Canadian provinces. However, with an award-winning brewmaster and strong customer demand, Medicine Hat Brewing Company knew they could break in.

It helped that the company enlisted 49th Parallel Group, an experienced distributor, to navigate  the complex paperwork.

“It was always our goal to reach out to Saskatchewan,” says Kaiden Vancuren, manager of distribution and sales at the Medicine Hat Brewing Company. “It’s tricky to get your beer across the border and 49th Parallel helped with that.”

Medicine Hat Brewing Company’s line of craft beer hit Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) and Sobeys Liquor shelves in May. The selection includes their best seller, Burnside Blood Orange.

Established in 2016, Medicine Hat Brewing Company is located in Brier Park Industrial Estates, one of Medicine Hat’s major industrial areas. The brewery and restaurant is located on a main thoroughfare to the 7,100 seat Canalta Centre.

The family-owned brewery produces 3,500 hectolitres annually and is aiming for 5,000 hectolitres in 2018. Indeed, the brewery is undergoing its third expansion, with three new tanks en route to Medicine Hat.

“Right now, we can’t make enough beer, which is a good problem to have,” says Vancuren.

Medicine Hat Brewing Company’s selection of 11 craft beers are available in tap rooms and liquor stores across Alberta, a province that is in the midst of a craft beer boom that shows no signs of slowing down. Province-wide, there are more than 65 craft breweries in Alberta, with the Alberta Craft Brewers Association predicting that number will reach 80 in 2018.

“Four years ago, Medicine Hat didn’t have a single brewery,” says Jon Sookocheff, director of business development with Invest Medicine Hat. “Today the industry employs upward of 50 people in manufacturing, marketing and retailing. It’s been a major success story born of the most recent economic downturn.”

So far, Medicine Hat Brewing Company’s beer can be found on store shelves in Regina and Saskatoon, with a  province-wide rollout anticipated later this year. Looking to expand the brand even further, Vancuren says the brewery has its sight on the Manitoba market as well.