Federal government provides funding to multiple central Ontario wineries, breweries

The federal government announced on Friday that it is funding some alcohol tourism in eastern and central Ontario.

Minister of Economic Development Mélanie Joly said in an email that $250,000 will be invested into three small businesses to create jobs and grow tourism.

The list includes Kings Mill Cider in Stirling, Ont., which, according to Joly, received $75,000 to expand its operations into shoulder seasons and improve the tourist experience.

MacKinnon Brothers Brewery in Bath, Ont., also received  $75,000 that the federal government says will help attract more visitors by enhancing its property and hosting events.

Lastly, Potter Settlement Artisan Winery in Tweed, Ont., was given $100,000 to expand its tourist season by improving their buildings and property.

“We will have a patio where people can enjoy our wines and have wood fire pizza out of our new oven,” said Sandor Johnson, the owner of Potter Settlement wines.

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Read more: Family First: MacKinnon Brothers keeping brew business and farm in the family

Johnson says during the novel coronavirus lockdown phase, he and his family were responsible for maintaining the property ahead of the tourist season as they couldn’t afford to pay employees. He says the government investment will allow him to employ staff once again and transform the farm that has been in the family since 1836.

“This is home, and I wish they (grandparents) could see what it has become,” said Johnson.

Although in the early stages of the renovation, Johnson hopes to complete the outdoor washrooms and the patio that will hold 100 people within the coming months.

Read more: New wine app hopes to boost Okanagan’s wine tourism

As for the other two recipients, the MacKinnon Brothers Brewery is building a permanent outdoor timber-frame stage to host music festivals, performances by a local theatre company and other events, according to the federal government.

The list of renovations the government says will be completed at Kings Mill Cider includes a covered walkway and enclosed deck overlooking the orchard, a renovated kitchen and taproom area, improved road signage and parking and a wood-fuelled pizza oven, walking trails and overnight tent camping.

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