The MacKinnon brothers, of MacKinnon Brothers Brewing, are exactly that: brothers by relation and through business.
As part of Global Kingston’s Family Day series, we caught up with entrepreneurs Ivan and Daniel MacKinnon to find out what family means to them through the perspective of their business on their family farm near Bath.
According to them, their business is closely tied to the farm the family has worked since 1784.
“The traditions that are here and the heritage of the farm,” Ivan said, “my kids are the ninth generation on the farm, which is something I’m super proud of.”
The brothers have improved the viability of the farm with the creation of their successful craft brewery, keeping both land and the businesses in the family.
Daniel believes it’s something his grandfather especially, who he used to work with on the farm, would have been happy to see for the land and the family.
“I think he’d be pretty proud of us seeing what we’ve done.”
Daniel and Ivan work happily together now by choice, but say when they were kids their relationship may have been a little more forced.
“Probably the majority of the time we got along just fine but I do remember… maybe a rock being thrown at someone or at least held up in your hand in defence,” Daniel said.
Ivan admitted that the two probably get along better now that they are business partners.
So what is the secret to working together?
The brothers say it’s about knowing when to pick your battles, and understanding each other’s strengths.
“We can discuss things and yell at each other and not take it badly,” Daniel said.
They have also found their own niche in running the business. Daniel started his career in the brewing before they started their company, whereas Ivan found his place in the mechanical side of the business.
Now, the brothers are working to convert an old barn on their property into an event venue, and hope to grow their business, while still keeping it in the family.