Manjit’s story and journey

Dragons Den Canada - ManjitMinhas quote business entrepreneur

Manjit Minhas is 40 years old and was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. This Petroleum Engineering student turned beer baroness is a Dragon on the hit TV show Dragons’ Den on CBC in its 15th season (for which she has been on for 6 seasons/years). Manjit leads a privately owned empire that had revenues in excess of $220 million last year.

Manjit is the co-founder and co-owner of the Minhas Brewery, Distillery and Winery. She started her companies at the ripe age of 19 in Alberta, when she launched her spirits in 1999 and her beers in 2002 in Alberta with her business partner and brother, Ravinder Minhas. Together with $10,000 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 5 provinces (Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia), as well as 47 states throughout the USA and 16 other countries.

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 7 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 marketplace.

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 has also created a special 48 can pack of beers for COSTCO which has the least amount of packaging materials compared to any other product in Canada or USA. It uses no plastic hi-cone rings and needs least amount of box material. This product alone will save millions of pounds of packaging materials ending up in the already over-filled landfills. Similarly, Manjit has sold millions of cases of other brands of her beers such as Boxer Lager with minimum packaging materials using sound engineering principles in protecting the environment.

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 her brother purchased the 2nd oldest brewery in the United States in Monroe, Wisconsin in 2006 and renamed it “Minhas Craft Brewery”. Being in their mid 20s, the purchase of this Brewery officially made them the Youngest Brewery Owners in The World. Their brewery is now the 9th largest in North America. From this brewery, world quality beers are shipped across the USA, to Canada and overseas to 16 different countries such as Japan, UK, Brazil and Korea. The Minhas Distillery distills and bottles premium spirits and liqueurs such as Artingstall’s Brilliant London Gin.

Manjit opened a new brewery in Calgary in June 2012 – the Minhas Micro Brewery and quickly added a distillery also. This facility makes unique and specialty beers, spirits and wines such as White Wolf, Boxer Lager and Pilsner, Rovers Irish Cream, Blackstone Vodka and Punjabi Club Whisky.

Manjit also co-owns Spotlight TV and Film Production that writes, directs and produces numerous documentaries, feature films, lifestyle programs, tv and digital commercials and corporate videos based in Calgary, Vancouver and Los Angeles.

In Early 2015, CBC approached Manjit to star on Dragons’ Den; Manjit has experienced the highs and lows of entrepreneurship and is keen on helping others who work hard to create successful businesses and follow their passions and dreams. Being a venture capitalist Dragon allows her to share her knowledge, experience and expertise about being an entrepreneur with millions of Canadians each week. Manjit has invested in 31 businesses the last 6 seasons/years.

In 2020 Manjit’s companies had revenues in excess of $220 million.

Manjit has won several business industry awards. A few of them are listed below:

  • Canada’s Top 40 Under 40
  • 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
  • Canada’s Women Executive Network Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs
  • Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40
  • 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
  • Chatelaine Magazine’s Top Entrepreneur Woman of The Year
  • The Sikh Centennial Foundation Award
  • Canadian Business Icon Award

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, , etc. She has also been featured on TV in programs such as the CBC National News, 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.

In November 2020 Manjit launched a podcast called The Manjit Minhas Podcast and it hit the Top 10 Podcast charts on its debut day! In each episode of this business podcast Manjit interviews her friends who are successful entrepreneurs and CEO’s about their journey and path to success. Manjit explores their challenges and how they overcame them and their advice on how listeners can learn from their successes and failures. A few of the notable leaders Manjit talks to in Season 1 include Jim Pattison, Lisa Lisson (President of FedEx), Ed Sims (CEO of Westjet), Christiane Germain (Co-founder and President of Germain Hotels/ALT Hotels), Vincenzo Guzzo (CEO of Guzzo Cinemas) amongst numerous others. The Manjit Minhas Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Manjit currently serves as a Board of Director for ATB Financial, YYC Calgary Airport Authority, Spiritleaf Cannabis (ISH Holdings), Shop and Shout and Alberta Small Brewers Association. In the past she has served as board of director on TransCanada Trail, United Way, Shergill Homes and West Island College and was the United Way Campaign co-chair raising $60 Million plus for this charity that is close to her heart. Manjit donates time and money to philanthropic causes in Calgary that benefit women and children such as United Way and Ronald McDonald charities. Manjit has an extensive background and experience in government relations, shareholder relations, governance and executive performance and compensation.

Manjit is born and raised in Calgary and still calls it home with her husband and they have two young daughters.

Manjit's Businesses