The new 58-seat brew pub opened the evening of August 24.

Michele LeTourneau/NNSL photo
Nunavut Brewing Company master brewer Mike Wayne and general manager Katie Barbour serve up made-in-Iqaluit beer Aug. 24.

“It’s been a long time coming. What’s nice about is for the people in the community to see what a craft brewery is all about. It’s been very exciting,” said Nunavut Brewing Company owner Sheldon Nimchuk.

Nimchuk and partners Stuart Kennedy, Harry Flaherty, Cody Dean and Ambrose Livingstone first introduced the idea of a brewery to Iqaluit city council in 2015. The Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board held a mandatory public consultation that fall, and there was no opposition at the time.

The original plan was for the brewery to open in the fall of 2017, but water-related city approvals kept the new business in limbo. Renewed concerns about alcohol-use in the city spurred conversation.
City councilors Noah Papatsie and Joanasie Akumalik were two concerned critics. Papatsie said alcohol –related deaths were not being dealt with, while Akumalik said there were enough drinking establishments in the city.

“When we first presented to council, we said we did not think we would add or subtract to the amount of alcohol that was being drunk in the community, but that we were simply trying to produce something locally,” said Nimchuk opening night.

“We just want people to come out and have a craft beer experience, which is about socializing and experiencing a beer that’s made right here.”

The atmosphere was cozy and friendly among the small crowd of roughly 40, and the company’s owners and staff were happy to finally be serving the first ever made-in-Nunavut craft beers: a light lager named Floe Edge, the Irish red ale Aupaqtuq, the strong golden ale Frob Gold and the aptly named one-off lagered ale Celebration.

“(Celebration) was the brew master’s first attempt at what he thought he wanted Floe Edge to be. It didn’t come out the way he wanted it to. A very nice-tasting beer but he said, ‘I could never duplicate it again.’ So he called it Celebration, it’s a one-off, but it was Nunavut’s first beer,” said Nimchuk.

Marlene Rippey is an Ottawa resident visiting family in Iqaluit for what she said were sad reasons. She sent Nunavut News a message. She gave the atmosphere a nine of ten.

“I needed an afternoon out so slipped to the brewery with a friend. What I thought: Atmosphere, very pleasing, cozy, architecturally  interesting and unique.  (The) staff is friendly, positive, informative, helpful and not pushy,” stated Rippey.

“I tried the flight, all four (beers) were unique and flavourful. My favourite was the Frob Gold. It was a dandy spot to clear my head, relax, chat and enjoy a brew and the ambience. A tip of the hat to all who made it happen.”
A flight is a small sampling of all four beers.

Michele LeTourneau/NNSL photo
Nunavut Brewing Company owners Ambrose Livingstone, Cody Dean and Sheldon Nimchuk celebrate the opening of their business Aug. 24.

Matthew Clark, president of the Iqaluit Chamber of Commerce, also sent a message.

“I went out to the Brewery on opening night. I quite enjoyed the atmosphere and Katie and her team were fantastic. It was great to sample four locally brewed beers,” stated Clark.

“I took pride in the fact that these were made here in Iqaluit. As the president of the Iqaluit Chamber of Commerce I am proud to see businesses opening and trying new things. This will ensure Iqaluit and Nunavut are well positioned for the future. Great job by the Brewery!”

Katie Barbour is the brewery’s general manager, and she said business has been great all week.

“It’s been totally fantastic. It’s absolutely incredible to see the space with people in it, to feel the great energy, and smiles. I think the owners and myself have described the whole as surreal. We’re all watching it take shape,” said Barbour.

She calls the crowd coming in a great mix of people.

“I’ve had repeats from every demographic and background. Just a total mix of people, all age groups, too. We just want to give people a genuine experience. Our team is really excited to show the community what we can offer and what we can do.”

The brew pub is open 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 4:00 to 12:00 a.m. on Friday and 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Michele LeTourneau

Michele LeTourneau first arrived at NNSL's headquarters in Yellowknife in1998, with a BA honours in Theatre. For four years she documented the arts across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Following...

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