Thursday, 05 October 2017 11:42

Black Bridge Brewery receives Business of the Year nod

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Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce CEO Karla Wiens (at left) congratulates Black Bridge Brewery co-owner Kari Stenson on winning the Member Business of the Year award while chamber board members look on, Sept. 28. Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce CEO Karla Wiens (at left) congratulates Black Bridge Brewery co-owner Kari Stenson on winning the Member Business of the Year award while chamber board members look on, Sept. 28.

The success of a Swift Current microbrewery has been recognized by the the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce.


Black Bridge Brewery is the recipient of the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce Member Business of the Year award, which recognizes innovation and entrepreneurship by a local business.
Chamber of Commerce CEO Karla Wiens made the announcement during a visit to the brewery, Sept. 28. It came as a pleasant surprise for brewery co-owner Kari Stenson, who only learned about the purpose of the visit by chamber board members during the announcement.
“I didn’t really expect it,” she said. “It’s a really exciting honour for us to be recognized for this.”
Kari and Clayton Stenson have been operating their business for three years. It is the only beer distillery in the city and part of the growth of craft breweries in the province.
“We’re not used to being business owners,” she said.
“It’s such a part of our life that we don’t really think of it as being anything special. So it’s really exciting to be recognized in Swift Current and we’re really proud to be here. I’ve said that lot and it’s true, we are. We love Swift Current and we love our town and we’re proud. So I think this is a part of that.”
The husband and wife team has received a number of awards since they started their business venture. They were the winners in the start-up/new business category at the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce 2015 SCBEX awards night.
Last year Black Bridge Brewery received the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Achievement for Business Excellence Award for a new venture.
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They have also received some brewing awards, including the bronze award for their milk stout at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards only seven months after opening their business.
“We pride ourselves on trying really hard to make the best quality product and winning awards for our beers shows us that we’re doing the best that we can,” she said.
They are producing four different beers as well as seasonal products. Their beer is distributed across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and this fall their beer will again be available in Alberta. She believes people are interested in trying a locally made beer.
“I think that people are excited to try it if maybe they’re not used to a small craft brewed beer, but once they do they’re excited by the uniqueness of it,” she said. “So that’s usually what keeps people coming back and sharing it with their friends that are coming into town or travelling through.”
Black Bridge Brewery currently has six full-time and two part-time employees. The company's goal is to continue to grow and expand.
There are a number of criteria to be considered for the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce Member Business of the Year award.
“There are quite a few, the first one being that you have to be in business for one full year, but it’s really about a chamber member who exemplifies leadership, innovation, corporate stewardship, community involvement, and exemplary customer services,” Wiens said. “Black Bridge Brewery most definitely embodies all of those criteria.”
There were four finalists for this award and the winner is selected by the chamber's board of directors.
“Black Bridge Brewery really is a small town Saskatchewan success story,” she said. “Clayton and Kari have worked very hard to expand their brand awareness, their product. ... There were also other really strong businesses in our community put forward for this award. This choice was a hard one to make, but on the same extent not that hard because Black Bridge does such an amazing job in and for our community.”
The formal presentation of the award to Black Bridge Brewery will take place at the SCBEX Spirit of Swift Current Business Excellence award gala at the Living Sky Casino event centre, Oct. 27.

Read 222 times Last modified on Thursday, 05 October 2017 11:45
Matthew Liebenberg

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