Sweet Success for Rocky Lake Birchworks Ltd.
Move over, maple syrup – birch syrup has arrived.
That is the key message behind the success of Rocky Lake Birchworks Ltd., a family-run company in Rocky Lake, MB, specializing in the production of birch syrup derived from the sap of Manitoba’s iconic paper birch trees.
Johanna and Alan McLauchlan and their sons, Andy and Peter, have combined their talents to create a successful enterprise that began as a family hobby in 2004.
“We started with tapping 15 trees, then expanding to hundreds more before incorporating in 2009 and selling our product commercially the following year,” said Alan. “Today, we tap over 1,500 paper birch trees, produce more than 500 litres of birch syrup and 32 retailers selling our products across Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.”
Social media has succeeded in making their company a global venture. The introduction of the company’s website and online store has already attracted customers from the US, Europe and Asia.
The McLauchlans believe customers value the quality and uniqueness of their products, all made locally with natural ingredients otherwise unaffected by human activity, making them additive- and chemical-free in farming and production.
“The Northern Manitoba Boreal Forest is our sanctuary,” said Alan. “We enjoy its unique beauty, the peacefulness, the isolation, the birds and wildlife, as well as the abundance of trees and plants one can use to either produce syrup, brew a tea or make natural salves. The abundance of paper birch trees made this the perfect area to choose as a home for our business.”
They encourage other entrepreneurs to consider northern Manitoba as a promising region in which to launch a business. With a good business idea and a commitment to succeed, they are likely to find the other supports they need to start and grow a quality enterprise.
“There are many resource people here – government offices, bankers, accountants, creative designers – who have experience and are willing to help you set up your business for success,” said Alan. “They want to see you succeed. Some offer their expertise for free. Others may charge a fee, though it is money well spent to ensure your business has its best start.”