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Meet One of the Youngest Female Brewery Owners in the World, Manjit Minhas

Manjit Minhas joined the panel on Dragons’ Den this season, making it CBC’s first with two female investors. While Manjit is a petroleum engineer by trade, she has successfully translated her passion for beer into an entrepreneurial success story. Manjit is the co-founder and co-owner of Minhas Breweries and Distillery, a company she started at only 19 years old, making her one of the youngest female brewery owners in the world. Manjit’s success falls far beyond her impressive $155 million revenue, earning awards ranging from The National Posts Up and Coming CEO to Chatelaine Magazine’s Top Entrepreneur Woman of the Year award. We sat down with Manjit to learn more about her story.

As told to Meghan Jeffery

 

My first job ever was…at my parent’s liquor store at 13 years old. I was a cashier, a floor cleaner, a stock hand, you name it.

I would tell my 20-year-old self…the plan you have for your life is not going to be the one it turns out to be. Take it all in strides and have fun.

My dream job when I was a child was…to be a doctor.

Three words that describe me are…organized, hard working, and social.

Brewing beer is about…having fun and making a high quality product.

My proudest accomplishment was…buying our first brewery in 2006—with cash.

My boldest move to date was…entering the brewing industry and creating a whole new segment, buck a beer, which was unheard of at the time.

I surprise people when I tell them…I am a vegetarian and a mom.

My best advice to young people starting out in business is…to do what you love because it’s a long road ahead of you. Have a plan, but don’t be set on it—your path changes a number of times.

My best advice from a mentor was…to start! You have a plan, so start. Stop researching; stop collecting information; stop talking to people—just start.

Mentors are…anyone that’s supportive, family, friends, colleagues, or spouses. You get a lot of good advice from a lot of people.

My biggest setback was…our entrance into Ontario seven years ago, which was a total failure and very expensive.

I overcame it by…trying again and being successful.

Related: Meet Michele Romanow: the youngest dragon on Dragons’ Den

Can you fully balance work and life?…I don’t think its possible all the time; work-life balance is over a lifetime, not over a year or five years. I have a really great support system of friends and family around me, not only to help with house and family life, but at work too. It’s about having great people around you to help you out, from dinner on the table to prepping for a presentation.

My biggest passion is…creating. Whether it’s creating new products, new marketing campaigns, a brand, just creating.

Owning a company with my brother is…fun, reliable, predictable (most of the time), and there’s no competition. He’s someone to enjoy my successes with but also someone to split the failures with.

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know…I was the MVP and captain on my high school field hockey team, as well as a lifeguard and swim teacher (and still am!).

I stay inspired by…having new projects all the time and by goal setting. It’s important to know where you want to go and what you want to achieve. When you get there, it’s quite a sense of accomplishment.

The future excites me because…it’s unknown.

 

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