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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