This page is for entrepreneurs who are considering opening a distillery, brewery, or other liquor manufacturing facility within Manitoba. If you are an existing manufacturer wishing to sell in Manitoba, refer to our Listing Information and Requirement tab on our Agents & Suppliers page. A good starting point is the Product Listing Information guide.
Generally speaking, we recommend a prospective manufacturer proceed in the following order:
- Site selection – This piece will involve considerations as to where the city/municipality will allow a distillery. Other consideration would be water supply (diameter of water lines), wastewater mitigation, potential fire suppression requirements, loading dock for receiving, will it have a taproom and retail store? All important considerations that the municipality should be able to provide insights on.
- Equipment sourcing – Current local manufacturers have sourced their equipment (mash tun, fermenters, still, etc.) online. Equipment suppliers can be in other provinces, the U.S. or China. Local manufacturers use local mechanical companies for the installation of equipment.
- CRA Excise licensing – An excise license is needed to buy malted grain and to make and warehouse distillate commercially.
- LGCA manufacturing licence – The LGCA requires you to have a CRA licence before issuing a manufacturing licence.
- Equipment inspection – Provincial health inspectors inspect your equipment once installed to make sure it meets food production requirements.
- Getting operational with MBLL – As the sole distributor of liquor in Manitoba, we will enter into a formal manufacturer's agreement with you. There are also several operational linkages to establish with us: a supplier/agent listing, product listings, financial information for remittances, monthly self-reporting, and more.
Do you know your market? Industry trends? What is your reason for entering the industry? What type of operation do you want to run? What is its potential for success? How much will it cost?
Use this research to write your business plan. This vital step helps you determine if your idea is viable. The plan is also necessary to secure loans.
- Entrepreneurship Manitoba Counselling, advisory services, market research, access to capital and skill training.
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Offers statistics on Canada’s brewing industry.
- Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit Program Provides equity to qualified new investors such as brewpubs.
- Canada Business Network Information on how to write a business plan, templates, sample plans and more.
- If you have product pricing questions related to the development of your business plan, contact SupplyChainAdministration@mbll.ca.
Starting any business, including a liquor manufacturing one, requires significant paperwork across various levels of government. Do not rush this process. If done incompletely or incorrectly, you may encounter delays and costs.
Wherever possible, the links below are listed in the order we recommend you follow.
Register and license your business
- Biz Pal is an online service that helps you find permits and licences you may require.
- The Companies Office is where you register your business name and information and receive a business number (BN) registration.
The BN is a numbering system that simplifies and streamlines the way businesses deal with government. It is based on the idea of one business, one number. Once you have your BN, you will use it across many programs such as taxation, licensing, and permitting.
- Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Manufacturing Licence
Before you can become licensed in Manitoba to manufacture beer or spirits, you must first obtain all necessary Canada Revenue Agency licensing in the legal name of the applicant for the liquor licence.
Contact a CRA representative about CRA requirements for manufacturing businesses or phone the Prairie Region Excise Duty Office at (403) 231-4124. Information on CRA licensing of beer manufacturers or CRA licensing for the manufacturers of spirits can also be found on the CRA website.
- Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA) Liquor manufacturers in Manitoba are required to be licensed by the LGCA.
Proper zoning is a crucial step in determining where your operation will be located.
- For operations outside of Winnipeg, see the Province of Manitoba’s Community & Regional Planning – Rural Zoning site.
- For operations located in Winnipeg, see City of Winnipeg Zoning Bylaw No. 200/2006 and Downtown Winnipeg Zoning Bylaw No. 100/2004 or call the Zoning and Permits office at 204-986-5140.
Register for taxes
- TAXcess Register here for Retail Sales Tax (RST), Manitoba’s online tax service that allows business to file Retail Sales Tax electronically.
RST is a tax of 7% on the retail sale of goods and services, calculated on the selling price before the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The Manitoba Taxation Division offers general RST workshops which provide an overview of RST, and common RST errors and how they can be avoided.
- Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) The federal GST (5%) applies to the supply of most property and services in Canada. You must register for a GST account if you provide taxable services in Canada or if you no longer qualify as a small supplier.
Know how excise duties, laws and trade agreements affect you
- The Excise Act, 2001 This federal act applies to spirits and wine.
- The Excise Act This federal act applies to beer.
Meet health and food regulations, inspections
Food production is regulated by both the provincial and federal governments. Production facilities require permits and registrations and are inspected by government health officers.
- Manitoba Health Protection Unit Schedule a health inspection of your premises here.
- Federal acts and regulations dealing with food
- Provincial acts and regulations dealing with food
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency Oversees product quality control and conducts inspections on reports of suspicious activity.
- LCBO Services include chemical, microbiological, physical, and sensory testing on liquor products for external clients such as manufacturers and suppliers. Product testing is not a licensing requirement in Manitoba.
Understand environmental licensing and assessment
Contact Conservation and Water Stewardship to have their team review the description of a specific business operation and advise if an Environment Act Licence is required for that facility.