Everyday Hero: Nicole Barry


I’m naturally good with numbers so accounting is a good fit with my personality. I was working as a general accountant at a furniture store here in Winnipeg, when my ex-husband, Dave Rudge, who is still my business partner, decided to go to brewery school. I followed him to Vancouver, then Regina. When the insurance company I was working for was bought by Great West, I had the opportunity to take a package. We knew we wanted to open a brewery, so we said let’s do it. We’re young, we can afford to fail. We moved back to Winnipeg and started Half Pints in 2005. I was used to pulling all-nighters in insurance, like when the TSX needed numbers the next day, but this was way more involved. I was doing deliveries and gluing labels while running the business. I once glued myself to the warehouse floor. We’re generally known as a hop-heavy brewery. Our flagship beers include a pale ale, an India pale ale, a stout and an amber, plus many, many seasonal specialties. That’s the advantage of owning a brewery. You get to brew what you drink. Right now we ship to Saskatchewan and Alberta regularly, though we’ve had to pare back on orders to Ontario and B.C. We just don’t have the tanks or the capacity yet. And while our early success was with beer aficionados, the city has really embraced us because we’re the only craft brewery in Winnipeg and we’re so engaged. We put on amazing beer dinners with the city’s top chefs, and sponsor arts and music events. Frequently, friends of mine will say they were at the beer store and someone will ask them if they’ve tried Half Pints. They always say, “It’s local. You need to try it.” –as told to Denise Balkissoon

Photo: Matthew Sawatzky