How I Made It

Manjit Minhas, Brewery CEO

Manjit Minhas is the Calgary-based CEO and co-founder of Minhas Brewery—whose beer is sold in more than 15 countries. Here, she tells FLARE how she made it

manjit minhas wears red dress and poses with arms crossed

Manjit Minhas; @manjit.minhas

How do you describe your job to your family?

I have two little girls and I tell them I make beer!

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

The University of Calgary and the University of Regina. I studied petroleum engineering.

What was your BIG break? How did you land it?

Getting our private-label beers on the shelves of Trader Joe’s and Costco a little over a decade ago. [Her company, Minhas Brewery, is Canadian but sells its products throughout the U.S. and 15 other countries.] I got them both within the same month after three years of many unanswered phone calls, letters, emails and many meetings.

Name one piece of career advice you always give.

My dad gave me my best career (and life!) advice, and now, I give it to others. He said focus on setting and achieving incremental goals rather than trying to start a business. Setting realistic goals is key in building self-confidence and a team that works well together. My dad also always told me growing up to choose my friends wisely. You’re the average of the five people you associate with.

What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?

The worst piece of advice I ever received was, “Don’t try to invent a new way for how to operate a business. Go the old, traditional route.”

How would you describe your industry in terms of representation and inclusivity?

Pathetic. I am almost always the only young, ethnic woman in the room and at the table. Unfortunately, this hasn’t changed in the last 19 years I’ve been in the industry.

Have you ever disclosed your salary to a colleague in the name of transparency? Why or why not?

My brother and I are co-founders and partners, so we’ve been paid the same wage since day one.

Looking to the future, what excites you the most about your career?

A continuously changing beverage and liquor landscape around the world! Growing into new markets with specialized liquor products.

What worries you the most about your career?

A continuously changing beverage and liquor landscape around the world means more competitors and more regulations.

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