When Manjit Minhas was a child she dreamt of being a doctor. By high school her dreams started to shift towards petroleum engineering. One thing she never imagined was: CEO. Now she’s 30 years old, married, and has one child. She’s also the head of a multi-million dollar company, the Minhas Creek Craft Brewing Co., that employs over 100 people reports The Globe and Mail.
Ms. Minhas and her younger brother Ravinder started their discount beer company when she was 19. Several years earlier, her parents had opened their first liquor store in Calgary when the province of Alberta privatized retail alcohol sales. Exposed to the business of booze, and inspired by her parents entrepreneurial success, Ms. Minhas saw opportunity to sell the family’s own brands in her parents’ stores, and the company rapidly expanded from there, driven by aggressive and colourful marketing.
For Ms. Minhas, the pace of growth has been swift but it’s also been about controlled growth, especially in the company’s earlier years when her brother wanted to push harder and faster.
“I brought some of the containment, not growing too fast, not going everywhere at once,” she said.
The company, which produces its products from a brewery in Wisconsin, now sells beer in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and recently cracked Ontario after five years of effort. The beer is also sold in almost half the states in the United States, as well as in Japan and Korea. The 10-year goal: “Anywhere you go, you can get a beer made by us.”
At the helm of an enterprise, where she never pictured herself when she was young, in an industry dominated by men, Ms. Minhas often contributes to mentorship work, promoting women in business in speeches and various volunteer work.
“There weren’t many role models doing something at a younger age when I was starting out,” said Ms. Minhas. “I really do believe in letting girls know you don’t have to be a doctor, or a lawyer, those traditional fields, to be successful.”
Screenshot from Minhas Creek Brewing Co.