Manjit’s story and journey
Manjit Minhas is 36 years old and was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. This Petroleum Engineering student turned beer baroness has recently spoken at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, the Haskayne School of Business at The University of Calgary, at the London Economic Development Conference and many other places. As a keynote speaker, Manjit frequently shares the secrets of her success with aspiring MBA, engineering and other students as well as entrepreneurs and seasoned business people.
Manjit is the co-founder of Minhas Breweries, Distillery and Winery. She started her companies at the ripe age of 19 in Alberta, when she launched her beer in Alberta with her partner and brother, Ravinder Minhas. Together, they gave the big boys a run for their money, thereby becoming the first successful company to enter the Canadian beer industry in many decades. Currently, she has over 90 brands of beers, spirits, liqueurs and wines. Her products are sold in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan , Manitoba and British Columbia, as well as 43 states throughout the USA and 15 other countries in Europe, Asia and South America.
Her main strategy in business has been to enter the marketplace with a new product by:
- Conducting consumer surveys
- Double-blind tasting all available products
- Gathering and analyzing of sales data and trends
- Creation of the best tasting, finest quality recipes with her in-house research and development team
- Investing capital for machinery and equipment to produce and package the product
- Coming up with brand names and design concepts on her own and with her in-house team
- Getting the design chosen produced with her in-house team of graphic designers
- Creating and producing television commercials with her own in-house film and video production team, including script writers, producers, directors, camera people, editors and post production staff
- Acting in many of her own television commercials
- Selling and marketing her products
Over the last few years, wherever Manjit and Ravinder have entered the marketplace, and especially in Canada, they have single headedly caused a huge stir in the marketplace. To date, her companies have sold over 6 billion pints of beer! Many beer drinkers in Canada and USA have welcomed her style of beer as a tasty alternative to the higher priced mediocre beers that dominate the market place.
Manjit takes Social Responsibility very seriously. Manjit Minhas is the 1st brewer in Canada to voluntarily put a Management Warning on all her beer cans. The Management Warning on the cans reads ” MANAGEMENT WARNING: Please do not drink and drive – ever. Expectant mothers should avoid drinking alcoholic products. Enjoy this product responsibly – Respect yourself and others”. She recently put this on all her products because she believes as a responsible brewer and citizen of this country, it is important she does her part to educate Canadians.
Manjit believes that effective use of science and engineering can do a lot of good in people’s lives. She has used her engineering background in producing beer using least amount of cleaning and water treatment chemicals, gas, electricity and water. Canadian and American consumers suffering from the Celiac disease have also been beneficiary of her innovative method of making best tasting Gluten Free beer from Sorghum and sold at half the price of the competition.
Manjit and Ravinder opened a new brewery in Calgary in June 2012 – the Minhas Micro Brewery. This facility makes unique and specialty beers such as the Lazy Mutt Alberta Wheat Beer and Gluten Free beer.
In 2012, they also opened the Minhas Micro Distillery which distills and bottles premium spirits and liqueurs such as Platinum 10 times distilled Vodka, Blumers Moonshine, Maya Horchata and Chinook Rye Whisky.
In late 2008, Manjit co-wrote a book on her remarkable story, business philosophies and the history of the brewery the Minhases bought. The hardcover 108 page glossy book is titled “Brewing Up a Damn Good Story”.
Last year Manjit’s companies had revenues in excess of $155 million.
Manjit has been nominated and has won several business industry awards. A few of them are listed below:
- Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs in Canada
- “Top Growth Entrepreneur” award, PROFIT magazine in Toronto
- Ranked #6 in the “Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies” by Alberta Venture Magazine
- Alberta Chamber of Commerce Marketing Award
- Young Achiever Award from the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce
- Compelling Calgarian Award given by the Calgary Herald
- Alberta Centennial Medallion
- “Up and Coming CEO” from The National Post
- Canada’s Women Executive Network Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs
- Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40
- Business in Calgary’s Leader of Tomorrow
- India Abroad’s “The Power List” Award
- Famous 5 Foundation Leader Award
- Global TV Woman of Vision Award
- Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of The Year Finalist 2011
- Chatelaine Magazine’s Top Entrepreneur Woman of The Year 2011
- The Sikh Centennial Foundation Award 2014
In Early 2015, CBC approached Manjit to star on Dragons Den Canada. Manjit has experienced the highs and lows of entrepreneurship and is keen on helping others who work hard to create successful businesses. Being on Dragons Den Canada, allows her to do so on a bigger platform and she happily accepted the offer.
Manjit and her story has been featured in many publications such as Macleans Magazine, Canadian Business Magazine, Alberta Venture Magazine, The National Post, The Globe & Mail, The Calgary Herald, The Edmonton Journal, The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, The Winnipeg Free Press, Bar & Beverage Magazine, Anokhi Vibe, etc. She has also been featured on TV in programs such as the CBC National News with Peter Mansbridge, CBC Venture, Money Wise, Careers TV, and many other news programs across the country. Outside of Canada, her story has also received lot of attention such as USA and India.
Manjit is born and raised in Calgary and still calls it home with her husband and they have two young daughters.