Ontario Craft Brewery Benefits With Ministry Funding

Ontario Craft Brewery Ramps Up Production

With Growing Forward 2 Funding

A federal-provincial-territorial initiative

Time is always in short supply when you run a business. It’s something Brent Davies always seems to run out of. He’s vice president and co-owner of Wellington Brewery, so finding the time to look into funding opportunities just never seems to rise to the top of his priority pile.

“When you are a small company, and trying to do everything, you just don’t have the manpower to investigate funding options,” says Brent. “But after successfully accessing three cost-sharing projects through Growing Forward 2, I would encourage other small business to find the time. It’s a well-run program and worth the effort.”

Wellington Brewery is Canada’s oldest independently owned craft brewery. Based in Guelph for the past 30 years, the company employs 45 full-time and 17 part-time staff. “We have grown slowly over the years, on purpose. We want to grow within our means and stay true to supporting our local community with our core business in Guelph and the Kitchener-Waterloo area.”

Brent Davies of Wellington Brewery

Davies first heard about Growing Forward 2 funding through other members of Ontario Craft Breweries who had accessed funds.

After learning a little more about the program, Wellington Brewery decided to work with a business advisor – who had successfully worked with other breweries to access funding – to help them through the Growing Forward 2 application process.

Taking the time to apply has helped the brewery grow their business while maintaining their local craft feel.  Wellington Brewery has had three projects approved through the fund.  In 2014 they increased production capacity with new equipment and tanks. In 2015, they put in a new canning line that boosted the brewery’s capacity from 24 cans per minute to 180 cans per minute. Their third project, with funding recently approved, will add a new centrifuge providing both productivity and environmental benefits to their line. They’ll be able to further increase capacity, produce less overall wastewater, increase production yield from each batch of beer, and improve the quality of remaining wastewater.  A pilot trial of the centrifuge conducted prior to the submitting their application provided confidence in this investment.  The new equipment will also give Wellington’s brewers more opportunities for experimenting with creative new ideas.

“We have focused so far on the production side with funding,” says Brent. “We’re now looking at venturing into other areas of the business, like marketing, that are also available through Growing Forward 2.”

Davies’ advice to other small business that could benefit from cost-share funding: Don’t wait. “Look at the Growing Forward 2 Program Guide book. And if you don’t have the time yourself, it does pay to get outside help to get it done.”

“It’s a very well run program that has helped us make a big different to our productivity,” says Brent. “And when we weren’t successful with an application, we received very helpful feedback that helped us out the next time.”


Producers can apply for Growing Forward 2 cost-share funding starting February 5 to February 25, 2016

Processors can apply for Growing Forward 2 cost-share funding starting March 4 to March 24, 2016

More information regarding the Growing Forward 2 cost-share funding initiative can be viewed below or by clicking this link  http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/growingforward/gf2-org.htm

About Growing Forward 2

Growing Forward 2 is a 5-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative aimed at encouraging innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector. Growing Forward 2 ends March 31, 2018.

In Ontario, Growing Forward 2 supports farm, food and other agri-businesses to help grow their profits, expand their markets and manage risks.

Who is eligible for Growing Forward 2?

·    Producers,

·    Food, beverage and bioproduct processors,

·    Agriculture and agri-food organizations and collaborations

What type of projects does Growing Forward 2 support?

Growing Forward 2 funding assistance supports projects in six focus areas: with an emphasis on innovation**.

·    Environment and climate change adaptation

·    Animal and plant health

·    Market development

·    Labour productivity enhancements

·    Assurance systems (food safety, traceability, animal welfare)

·    Business and leadership development

**Innovation is the application of new ideas to solve problems and address challenges for the industry.

What kind of funding is available?

·    Farm and processor businesses are eligible to receive up to $350,000 over the life of the program.

·    Depending on the type of project, cost-share is at 35 per cent or 50 per cent up to a pre-determined cap.

·    Cost-share funding is based on merit. Only the most impactful projects will be awarded funding.

When can businesses apply?

·    Applications for funding are accepted during designated intake periods throughout the year

·    Applications will be accepted for Producers from February 5 to February 25, 2016

·    Applications will be accepted for Processors and from March 4 to March 24, 2016

·    Organizations and Collaborations can submit an application up to February 16, 2016

A copy of the program guides and how to apply can be found on the Growing Forward 2 website at www.ontario.ca/growingforward2

For more information contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or by email at ag.info.omafra@ontario.c