Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit July 17, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Nunavut brewery making progress on shop, tasting room

Sealift to bring equipment, ingredients to start making local beer

BETH BROWN
A rendering of what the tasting room could look like at Iqaluit’s first craft brewery. The blue band across the floor represents the Sylvia Grinnell River, next to which the brewery is built. (PHOTO COURTESY AMBROSE LIVINGSTONE)
A rendering of what the tasting room could look like at Iqaluit’s first craft brewery. The blue band across the floor represents the Sylvia Grinnell River, next to which the brewery is built. (PHOTO COURTESY AMBROSE LIVINGSTONE)
Ambrose Livingstone stands in what will be a tasting area of a new brewery expected to open in Iqaluit this fall. He is one of five partners working on the project and is also owner of the architectural firm that designed the brewery. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Ambrose Livingstone stands in what will be a tasting area of a new brewery expected to open in Iqaluit this fall. He is one of five partners working on the project and is also owner of the architectural firm that designed the brewery. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Other than artists, the Nunavut Brewing Co. will be the only manufacturer in the city of Iqaluit, according to architect and project partner Ambrose Livingstone. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Other than artists, the Nunavut Brewing Co. will be the only manufacturer in the city of Iqaluit, according to architect and project partner Ambrose Livingstone. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Three sets of brewing tanks—both bright tanks and fermenting tanks—are on their way north on the summer sealift along with bottling equipment, kegs, malt grains and hops. 

Before they get here though, workers from Baffin Central Construction will be busy installing beams and frames to complete the interior of Nunavut’s first brewery, set to open in October. 
Until recently, Iqaluit’s Nunavut Brewing Co. was just a shell—a rectangular, warehouse in the city’s industrial area, adjacent to Sylvia Grinnell Park.

The brewery, approved by the city this time last year, won’t be a bar or a pub as it won’t offer food, but it will have a tasting lounge with room for 55 people.

For now the lounge will be open on Saturdays and will be available for events and scheduled group bookings.

“The idea is that on Saturdays, if you want to come in and have a tour of the facility you can sample some of the products,” said Ambrose Livingstone, whose architectural firm designed the brewery.

The company will have capacity to brew three batches of varying sizes at a time, and plans to bottle three staple varieties including a lager, an India pale ale, and perhaps a honey brown, said Livingstone.

Select specialty beers and seasonal brews will only be available on tap at the actual brewery.

Exactly how those beers are going to taste will be up to the brew master, he said. 

Unlike the beer, the master brewer doesn’t plan to become a regular in the city. Besides getting the beer going, the master brewer will spend the first six months training locals to take over the trade. 

Nunavut Brewing Co. will be Canada’s most northern brewery, and not a moment too soon. Nunavut is currently the only province or territory in Canada that does not have a home brew.

“We saw an opportunity here,” said Livingstone.

While the craft beer market is booming elsewhere in Canada, beer in Nunavut is still shipped in from the South, which left Livingstone and his four business partners wondering, “Why can’t we make our own?”

“We can contribute something back to the Nunavut economy where the national chains really don’t do anything,” he said. 

And, besides artwork, beer will be the only product manufactured in Iqaluit, said Livingstone. Due to city zoning, the brewery’s status as a manufacturer is one reason for its location, way out in the industrial area. 

But Livingstone said being near the Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park is perfect for tourism, and being near the river—which will supply the brewery with water—is ideal.

The city can’t provide enough trucked water to meet the brewery’s anticipated demand to keep the suds brewing—around 10,000 litres a day.

The company held a beer naming contest this spring which brought in more than a hundred submissions, he said. The names will be announced once the brewery is open.

Nunavut Brewing Co. beer will be sold through the Nunavut Liquor Corp. which means it will be available for sale at the new beer and wine store opening this summer. The company will also be permitted to export their beer outside the territory.

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(17) Comments:

#1. Posted by Just laughing right to our faces on July 17, 2017

Somehow in Nunavut we can get a brewery facility going and open a beer and wine store but we can’t get any rehab center, other addictions related facilities or enhanced and much need mental health, wellness and healing facilities and services? It’s so upside down it’s enraging. Meanwhile our social ills escalate and alcohol being a factor in the majority of them. “Contribute something back to Nunavut”? No thanks!! Priorities people!!!!

#2. Posted by FUN!! on July 17, 2017

This is sooo fun!!

#3. Posted by Sad on July 17, 2017

I find it pathetically ironic and sad that a community that has perhaps been victimized more than any other in Canada by alcohol abuse has allowed a brewery to be built and operated its midst. I’m not saying close the bars and the beer and wine store. But, to allow a large commercial brewery to be established here? My God. What is the world coming to?

#4. Posted by thinker on July 17, 2017

Hold on let me guess the water will come from our Fresh water river , will this company be paying for Nunavut water River to Iqaluit Not to the City of Iqaluit , witch the city of Iqaluit can’t handle our own tax funds right ,
let us know this in advance how much water is taken from the river once the flow started flowing to the plant every liter of it ,

Yup #1 business start first selling booze than ( rehab center, other addictions related facilities or enhanced and much need mental health, wellness and healing facilities and services ) soon after big issues comes in .

Eye’s and ears

#5. Posted by Cast Out the Demon Craft Beer! on July 17, 2017

@#1 and #3 This isn’t a government project, it’s private sector. It wasn’t a question of this or a rehab centre. It’s also not a “large commercial brewery.” The Dept. of Finance has made a good case for the beer and wine store - the harm comes from people pounding vodka, not $10 pints of IPA. This craft beer is completely in line with that. 

I’m glad it’s being built, but I have my doubts that it will succeed - I’m not sure enough people here have the appreciation for craft beer. It’s a Molson Canadian kind of town.

#6. Posted by jobs on July 17, 2017

hey 3. regardless where it is produced, beer is being drank in Nunavut. This venture will likely replace some imports from the South and provide local jobs.

good luck boys and toss one back for me.

#7. Posted by PRO BEER on July 17, 2017

WHINE WHINE WHINE.

#8. Posted by Tears Galorious on July 17, 2017

I can not believe all the wailing and gnashing of teeth here, the perpetual pity party just never ends does it?

#9. Posted by Enquirer on July 17, 2017

Question : does going to the tasting room mean we get free beer?
Is the water from Sylvia Grinnell be filtered or just taken directly to the brewery?

#10. Posted by Keep Breweries Out of Our Parks! on July 17, 2017

I am ever so curious how this business expects to get fresh water from Sylvia Grinnell without negatively impacting our beautiful territorial park and river. While the brewery is located in the industrial zone neighbouring the park, they’re claiming that their water will originate from the Sylvia Grinnell river.

Are they going to trudge a pipe through our park?! I hope not!! Are they going to drastically increase commercial traffic within a territorial park with water trucks?! They better not!! Will it get to the point that they pull so much water a day or introduce pollutants from pulling the water from the river (think dirt, gas and oil from the trucks) that fishing downstream becomes impacted?!

While I do love beer, ruining a park in order to get the water to make it is a ridiculous proposition! Iqaluit is blessed to have Sylvia Grinnell, let’s not allow greed for profits and a desire to drink mediocre craft beers get in the way of preserving the gifts nature has provided us.

#11. Posted by Tasting Room? on July 17, 2017

Is that another name for the partners personal bar? When is the public consultation?

#1 it was explained awhile ago that it’s up to the interested public to form a rehab centre.

#12. Posted by Resto in peace on July 17, 2017

Good riddance. The staff are treated like garbage, the restaurant is sad and depressing and the two of them don’t even live in Iqaluit. Not having your lease renewed is a chance you take when you choose to rent. There are other commercial properties in town and they had time to make other arrangements.

#13. Posted by anon on July 18, 2017

hey #12, I think you’re on the wrong article.

#14. Posted by 5 to 10 times more water on July 18, 2017

A craft beer brewery wastes 5 to 10 times more water then the beer sold. If you drink 12 beer at 10 times it would be 120 beer bottles of waste water to make that one 12 pack of beer.

Will the municipal waste water plant be able to handle the increased volume of waste water?  Strong cleaning chemicals are used for cleaning brew vats? 

The high volume of food wastes, sugar and, yeast will they be pre-filtered before leaving the brewery? As the brewery sludge, a food waste can mess up the towns waste filtration plant. Yeast and sugars and other food wastes mixing may start new growth at the town’s waste water plant, causing expensive town pipe and filtration repairs.

The waste hops, will they be dumped and will they be buried in fenced off area? Smell will attract birds and predators.

#15. Posted by Jesus loves you on July 18, 2017

In Kuujjuaq , we are building a Church , because , we already have a rehab, next on the list , a brewery

#16. Posted by Putuguk on July 18, 2017

What is even more pathetically ironic about the situation is thinking back to the history of alcohol abuse in our territory.

We have had more than half a century to see this coming. 50 plus years for us to realize that alcohol is a problem. Decades of trying to put band aids on a gushing wound.

It is only now, when we are poised to receive some actual benefits from drinking (jobs, economic activity), that people realize we do not have a rehab center and possibly might need one.

If it were only Seagrams or Labatt making the money, perhaps we would still be willing to accept the status quo.

This only goes to show jealousy is a stronger motivator than enlightened self interest.

#17. Posted by Not In My Brewer's Yeast on July 18, 2017

@#16 Great comment.

I would add to your concluding point “This only goes to show jealousy is a stronger motivator than enlightened self interest.”

In Nunavut our paranoid brand of NIMBYism is also a stronger motivator than enlightened self interest. (and I suspect that NIMBYism in Nunavut is actually at least partly just plain old jealousy)

@#14 I see you’ve got yourself a copy of the major beer companies’ Astroturf community organization handbooks.

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