A formidable speaker, Manjit Minhas is an entrepreneur and judge on CBC’s Dragons’ Den who shares business lessons with equal parts force and finesse. Minhas runs a $155 million brewery—the 10th largest worldwide—that she helped build from scratch. Her unprecedented success demolished stereotypes, surprised her competitors, and cleared a path for entrepreneurs of every age and gender.
“Manjit Minhas is the biggest beer baron you’ve never heard of—yet.”— Canadian Business
In her early 30s, Manjit Minhas, the petroleum engineering student turned beer baroness, is one of North America’s most exciting entrepreneurs. The alcohol industry has always been an old boys’ club, dominated by the male-run businesses of old. Minhas has been able to do what few ever thought possible—start from nothing and successfully enter the beer and spirits industry, undoubtedly one of the most competitive markets around, all as a young female entrepreneur. She is a highly sought-after speaker and has given talks at the Rotman School of Management and the Haskayne School of Business, among others. She is a judge of the current season of CBC’s Dragons’ Den.
Minhas started Mountain Crest Liquors Inc. (MCLI) at the ripe age of 19 in Alberta. In late 2002 she entered the beer market in Alberta with her brother Ravinder and gave the big boys a run for their money with Mountain Crest Classic Lager: they quickly became the first successful beer company to enter Canada in decades. MCLI now produces, develops, and markets 90 brands of spirits and beers. Many beer drinkers have welcomed her beer as a tasty alternative to the higher-priced domestic beers that presently dominate the marketplace. Minhas has brought her brands nationwide, and made waves in Manitoba and Saskatchewan with her speedy gains in beer market share. She is also the creator of Uptown Girl, a beer that is marketed and made exclusively for women. It has unique packaging, no aftertaste, is low calorie and low carb beer and has a unique successful marketing campaign. In 2006, Minhas and Ravinder purchased the second oldest brewery in the United States and renamed it The Minhas Craft Brewery, officially marking them as the Youngest Brewery Owners in The World. Their quality beers are shipped across the USA and Canada and overseas. The siblings opened The Minhas Micro Brewery in Calgary in June 2012, from which they make world-class craft beers and specialty beers such as a gluten free beer.
Minhas is the first brewer in Canada to voluntarily put a Management Warning on all her beer cans. The Management Warnings include such direct statements as: “Please do not drink and drive—ever,” “Expectant mothers should avoid drinking alcoholic products,” and “Enjoy this product responsibly—Respect yourself and others." Her commitment to ethical business is one of the many reasons why her ventures have been so widely successful.
Minhas is the author of the book Brewing Up a Damn Good Story and has received many awards, including Canada’s Women Executive Network’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs, Profit’s Top Growth Entrepreneur, and Chatelaine’s Top Entrepreneur Woman of The Year. She’s been honoured with The Calgary Herald’s "Compelling Calgarian" Award, been named to Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 list, and her business was ranked number six in Alberta Venture Magazine’s “Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies.” Her story has been featured in many publications, such as Maclean’s, Canadian Business Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and have been featured on TV in programs such as the CBC National News with Peter Mansbridge, and CBC Venture. Minhas and Ravinder also own Spotlight Film and TV Productions, which produces TV commercials, documentaries, corporate videos, and half-hour television series. They also own a home building company, Shergill Homes Ltd., that builds single family and custom homes in Fort McMurray and Calgary. Minhas was born and raised in Calgary and still calls it home with her husband and two young daughters.
“I had the privilege of having a personal conversation with Manjit in front of 100 or so eager listeners at the President’s League Retreat on June 4, 2016. She is the ultimate example of what it means to be an entrepreneur. When you listen deeply to Manjit, you understand her incredible tenacity. She was a field hockey star in school and her love of sports drives her fearless grit. She has overcome one obstacle after another. There were many times when her business looked like it might fail. She talks about being totally discounted and overlooked in a man’s world. It was tough enough to be a young woman, barely above the legal drinking age in Canada, let alone being a visible minority. She admits having a lot of nights that included tears of frustration, but they also fueled her relentless determination. In addition, she was an absolute pleasure to work with before and during the President’s League event. She was informative about her products, which were featured at the reception that afternoon, and she was extremely flexible in the format of delivery of the keynote interview.”ATB Financial
“We were very impressed with Manjit’s speech. She was inspiring, engaging, and authentic. She connected with our audience and was very open to interacting after the keynote with attendees.”Accenture
The Minhas School of Beer Business Success
Empowering Women Achieving Business Success in Male-Dominated Industries
As the co-founder of a now-$155 million brewery, Manjit Minhas is living proof that women can—and should—achieve success in even the most male-dominated industries. With her family-owned Minhas Breweries and Distillery, she’s combined savvy financial sense with a keen understanding of what women want out of suds (yes, women drink beer—lots of it). It’s taken passion, patience, and thick skin, but today she’s part of a changing (and exciting) landscape: dragging a well-known boys club into the 21st century and redefining success from the ground up.
In this empowering talk, Minhas offers advice for women in business—new entrepreneurs, longtime leaders, and aspiring executives alike—looking to do great things, get ahead, and transform their industries. With equal power, she also speaks to groups seeking to diversify and modernize their workforces: incorporating more women as leaders, more people of colour, and demolishing outdated stereotypes. Minhas is the motivational speaker sure to inspire an entire generation of female innovators—as entrepreneur, past engineering student, CBC television star, mom, and much more.