Churchill craft beer grows in popularity
Matthew Gourlie -- Moose Jaw Express
Local beer connoisseurs have never had more options at the tap in their local pubs and bars.
Saskatchewan’s craft beer community has grown steadily in the last five years but recently have experienced a breakthrough. Seeing a Saskatchewan craft beer on tap is becoming the norm, more than the exception.
“I think people are actually liking the different craft beers that Saskatchewan is putting out there for consumers that actually like the taste of beer, that actually has more flavour. I do think it’s trending in a positive way for craft beer,” said Mike Henschel, brand ambassador for Churchill Brewing out of Saskatoon. Churchill Brewing was founded by brothers Curtis and Ryan Peet in 2015. Since their launch, they’ve expanded steadily. They’re on tap at 52 locations and at numerous liquor stores.
“We started out with a few kegs at a time and we’ve grown to selling cans and kegs all across Saskatchewan and even a little bit into Manitoba now,” said Henschel who attended Briercrest College and Seminary and also lived in Moose Jaw. “We’re looking at getting into Alberta soon, but we just have to make sure our capacity is there.”
Growth is good, but Henschel said that they need to be sure that their production will be able to meet demand as they expand into new markets. “Definitely slow and steady is going to win the race for us,” he said. Churchill is available on tap at Original Joe’s, Rosie’s on River, Cask 82, Corner- stone Bar & Grill and the Hillcrest golf course lounge in Moose Jaw. They will be expanding into a sixth Moose Jaw location by the end of September.
“It’s exciting for us,” Henschel said. “Our beer specifically, we get our malt barley from prairie producers and we get about 95 per cent from Saskatchewan. I think people are starting to have a push to sup- port local. Farmers who do farm malt barley can now enjoy the fruits of their labours in the form of beer.” It’s not always easy for smaller breweries to get onto taps with Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, and the Molson Coors Brewing Company dominating the Canadian market. Henschel believes that beer drinkers are increasingly open to trying new brands and that pubs, bars and restaurants are becoming more open to stocking craft brewers.
“It is a battle because the big companies have all of the cash to spend to make sure we aren’t a part of it,” Henschel said. “It’s been improving. I think there’s more of a demand for local beers like ours. There are so many good craft brewers in Saskatchewan and we’re just lucky to be one of them.”
“There are so many good craft brewers in Saskatchewan and we’re just lucky to be one of them.”
- Mike Henschel, Churchill Brewing
Churchill beer is available at six local establishments including Rosie’s on River Street. Matthew Gourlie photograph