Dave Thielmann has taken over ownership of Bravocados Bistro in Tofino. Thielmann was head chef at Bravocados as well as Brie and Barrel, both founded by Colin and Sharie Minions of Port Alberni. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

Dave Thielmann has taken over ownership of Bravocados Bistro in Tofino. Thielmann was head chef at Bravocados as well as Brie and Barrel, both founded by Colin and Sharie Minions of Port Alberni. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

BUSINESS BEAT: Businesses are all about lifting spirits in the Alberni Valley

New distillery coming to Port Alberni, and more news from the business community



Maehem Spirits is a new distillery coming to Port Alberni at the end of the year. Mike and Ellie Hadley are the couple behind the project that will see a distillery, cocktail lounge, tasting room and patio in the new building on Cherry Creek Road around the corner from Fresh Coast Market.

“With craft breweries becoming so popular we realized there was a gap, a need for a distillery,” says Ellie who first became enamored with cocktail bars while visiting family in the U.K. “Then I went to some gin bars in the U.K. and thought ‘we don’t really have anything like this at home’.”

The Hadleys headed over to North Vancouver for an intensive internship on distilling and now Ellie is studying brewing at North Island College. “We have started developing our own recipes,” she says.

The name for the business was inspired by the couple’s basset hounds Daisy Mae and Molly Mae. The project is now in the construction phase with an opening planned for the end of the year. Maehem Spirits is on Facebook and you can sign up for their email list to keep apprised of their progress, merchandise (cocktail scented candles!) and more. www.facebook.com/maehemspirits.


Brie & Barrel Bistro owners Colin and Sharie Minions announced some big changes in the kitchen this month. Head Chef Dave Thielmann has purchased Bravocados Bistro in Tofino from the Minions.

“Bravocados was born three years ago as a passion project, but Dave has built it into a brand and the amazing restaurant it is today,” posted the Minions on social media. “We are so thrilled to now be turning it over to him.”

The vacant space in the kitchen will be filled by Chef Brad Wutke who has been sous chef at Brie & Barrel under Thielmann’s leadership.

“I am … proud of the foundation I was able to build for the wonderful and talented team there. I have every confidence in Chef Brad and his team’s ability to continue to achieve culinary greatness on a daily basis,” said Thielmann.


Slammers Gym has added a new department to their offerings: Slammers Wellness. The new services include hot stone massage, reflexology, integrated shiatsu therapy, integrated energy work, jin shin and reiki. Members receive a complimentary 60-minute treatment. Treatments are open to members and non-members. www.slammersgym.ca/treatments.


The demand for masks has created a great new business for some, but for Larry Duckworth it is an opportunity to give back. He’s been ordering masks and selling them for a nominal fee or giving them away for free.

“The first order sold out quickly,” says Duckworth.” I am retired so I am doing this to help people in the community. It’s time to give back.” You can learn more by e-mailing him at larry@duckworth.net. For positive inspiration, visit his website at www.dontworrybehappy.ca


BiBi J’s is giving back again, this time by donating the trailer formerly used by Potluck Ceramics to Kuu-us Crisis Line Society. Kuu-us will be opening a free store on their property at Adelaide Street and Johnston Road, and the trailer will come in handy for picking up and distributing larger pieces of furniture to families in need.


When Alberni Valley News reader Erica Sawyer’s newspaper heart from last spring was starting to look weary, she sought a more permanent expression of her gratitude for all the frontline workers who have helped the community through the last year. She found a 12-inch patterned red heart from Electron Metal Works and recommends it for anyone who wants to show their appreciation by wearing their “heart on their house.” Look for it on the Electron Metalworks website, called Floral Heart. www.electronmetalworks.com.


Port Alberni’s Jane Roth has been named a brand ambassador for Stanfield’s clothing company. One of Canada’s oldest clothing brands, Stanfield’s put out the call for brand ambassadors last summer. Roth told Stanfield’s “I can always rely on it (Heritage Heavy Weight Wool Henley) to keep me warm and dry when the weather is cold and wet. It’s the perfect sweater for trekking through the West Coast rain forests or fishing out in the deep Pacific Ocean.”

For more information go to: www.stanfields.com/pages/brand-ambassador-jane-roth.


Port Alberni real estate agent Chris Fenton has been rated the number one realtor in Port Alberni for 2020 by Rate-My-Agent.com. Find more about The Fenton Team at www.justlistedalberni.ca.

Teresa Bird is the Alberni Valley News publisher. Do you have a business tip for the Business Beat column? E-mail Teresa at publisher@albernivalleynews.com.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictBusinessPort Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Erica Sawyer of Port Alberni found a more permanent way to wear her heart on her house: with a metal heart from Electron Metalworks. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Erica Sawyer of Port Alberni found a more permanent way to wear her heart on her house: with a metal heart from Electron Metalworks. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Just Posted

Wounded Warriors runners run along Beaver Creek Road towards the Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department hall. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni’s Wounded Warriors stage solo run

Vancouver Island-wide event was cancelled, but Maria Marciano and Dave Nesbitt ran anyway

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five Nuu-chah-nulth Nations celebrate legal victory in fishing dispute

Ha’oom Fisheries Society and T’aaq-wiihak Fisheries announce “major legal victory”

Winston Joseph, known as Mr. Positive Port Alberni, leads the 2019 Canada Day parade with his wife Sheila. Winston, who was integral in starting the July 1 folkfest, died April 11, 2021 at the age of 89. (PHOTO COURTESY SONJA DRINKWATER)
Community remembers Winston Joseph with Canada Day parade in April

‘Mr. Positive Port Alberni’ started Canada Day folk fest, lived a life of service and faith

Grade 5 Wood Elementary Students cycling on the powerline trail. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Wood School bicycles, equipment worth $8,000 stolen

Equipment was stored at Echo Fieldhouse in Port Alberni

Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Kobe Assam battles for the puck despite being knocked to the ice during a physical first period against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on April 7. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs pick up second shutout against Cowichan

Braden Blace earns first BCHL goal and game-winner

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to table budget that’s expected to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Robinson released a fiscal update last December that said the impact of the pandemic on B.C.’s economy was uncertain

Paramedic Matthew Schlatter of Victoria is living a fuller life today due to the double lung transplant he received in 2019. He encourages B.C. residents to register as an organ donor and let their families know their wishes. (Instagram/Matthew Schlatter)
B.C. man living a full, active life after double-lung transplant

Matt Schlatter encourages people to register as an organ donor to help others live

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read