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Expansions for Sleeping Giant brewery, security company supported by FedNor

FedNor announces $570k in a mix of repayable and non-repayable supports for Thunder Bay businesses.
Sleeping Giant Brewing Co SGBC
A Sleeping Giant Brewing Company worker uses a new in-house canning machine, part of a major expansion supported with FedNor funding. (Ian Kaufman, TBnewswatch)

THUNDER BAY – A half-million dollar investment from FedNor will help two Thunder Bay companies expand their sales reach and optimize manufacturing processes, the regional development agency says.

FedNor announced on Thursday it will provide $100,000 in grants for the Sleeping Giant Brewing Company (SGBC) and $470,250 in repayable loans for local security manufacturer Countermeasures Security Solutions Inc.

The funding will support major expansions the companies estimate will result in the creation of 15 new jobs each in the coming years.

Andrea Mulligan, the brewery’s CEO, said the funding has helped to kick-start what will be a transformational expansion thanks to new equipment like an in-house canner and a pasteurizer, as well as an addition to its Macdonnell Street building.

The improvements will allow SGBC to start producing spirits like gin, vodka, and whiskey and spinoff products like hard seltzers, as well as a line of craft sodas.

“We’re introducing other products which we do want to sell beyond just the Canadian border, so having a pasteurizer allows us to increase shelf life and stability of our products when we need to,” said Mulligan.

Some new products, like a non-alcoholic ginger ale, are already on shelves in about 50 local stores. The company has also been approached by a larger chain that will sell its sodas in stores across Ontario and into Manitoba.

FedNor’s $100,000 contribution will help cover around $460,000 in costs related to the expansion, said Mulligan. The SGBC expects the expansion to drive hiring of 15 new positions in areas including production, quality control, and sales in the coming years, she added.

FedNor's $470,250 loan to Countermeasures Security Solutions Inc., meanwhile, will support facility enhancements and new equipment to help the business expand into markets in Canada and beyond.

The company, which produces automated gates and other perimeter security services, said the investment will be impactful.

“The funding announced today will help us modernize and expand our operations, hire 15 new employees and position us to capitalize on domestic and international opportunities,” said operations manager Phil Tremblay.

MPs Patty Hajdu and Marcus Powlowski were on hand at the SGBC on Thursday to announce the funding and tour improvements to the brewery.

Hajdu, the minister responsible for FedNor, said successful local ventures like the SGBC are among the things she's excited to show visitors to the city.

"Thunder Bay gets a lot of press nationally, not all of it great," she said. "But when people come here, they see that vibrancy."

The level of investment is a “pretty good bang for your buck” given the anticipated job creation, Powlowski said, especially considering most of the dollars are repayable.

The Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP said the focus may often be on major manufacturers like Alstom, but smaller businesses like those being funded are also key to the local economy.

“It’s really nice to see things being made in Thunder Bay and being exported,” he said.

The FedNor investments came through the federal government’s $700 million Jobs and Growth Fund. FedNor has so far delivered $15.5 million through the fund in Northern Ontario, it said.


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