Minhas Sask is a modern example of the immigration story in Canada. Moni Minhas—the founder of Minhas Breweries & Distilleries—first came to Canada over 40 years ago from Punjab, India with only five dollars in his pocket. He completed an engineering degree at the University of Calgary and went on to work for the largest oil and gas company (now Encana Corp.) in Canada for the next 13 years. His entrepreneurial spirit led Minhas to co-founding two public oil companies (Minhas Oil & Gas Exploration and American Explorations Inc.) listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange. Outside of work, he taught petroleum engineering and management seminars. Outside of the oil and gas sector, he found success in retail as the owner of the largest independent liquor store chain—OK Liquor Stores—in Alberta for 12 years.
Choosing Saskatchewan as a base for his distilling operations came back to family ties. His daughter Manjit Minhas attended the University of Regina and his son Ravinder Minhas trained as an engineer with Husky Energy in Unity, Sask. Minhas states, “I always thought the province of Saskatchewan had been very kind to our children and what better way to give back then building a business that helps diversify the economy and boost permanent manufacturing jobs.”
Overall, the experience of doing business in Saskatchewan has been a very good one for Minhas. The response from the consumer has been fabulous at both the Regina and Saskatoon locations. So much so that they have run out of stock on certain occasions. Fueling this success, Minhas points to their innovative drive. “This is what I do every day. I never get tired of improving everything we do,” says Minhas. The company has incorporated cutting edge technology into their production and even begun using artificial intelligence-based software to improve their processes.
Minhas Sask produces almost every type of alcoholic product. With over 250 different types, it’s hard to say whether there is any other craft alcohol manufacturer in North America, or even the world, that produces such a variety. Asked about competition, Moni points out that his target is not other Saskatchewan craft brewers, distilleries or wineries, but rather the multi-national and multi-billion-dollar corporations that supply the majority of alcohol that is sold in the province. Saskatchewan has always imported the vast majority of its alcohol and there was a real opportunity to develop something here that was unique and could do well in the local market.
Minhas says Saskatchewan is a great place to do business and that the people have an incredible loyalty to the province. “It is hard to imagine a better place to build a distilling and brewing business considering the province’s agricultural roots,” says Minhas.
Learn more about Minhas Sask at MinhasSask.ca.