The Sleeping Giant Brewing Company has its own way of waking the Giant by creating a new pineapple, non-alcoholic craft soda called This is Wake the Giant. The brewery collaborated with Wake the Giant organizers to produce the fizzy pineapple beverage as a way to support the Wake the Giant movement while raising funds for Indigenous youths at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School. Kevin Brewer, the brewery’s general manager, said they got the flavour idea from the Wake the Giant mascot Pineapple Guy, played by Aaron Hetherington. “That was our inspiration,” Brewer said. “Originally the soda was going to be the colour orange, which they use a lot in their marketing, when Kyle, our head brewer, pointed out they always have a (guy dressed as pineapple) there so why not try and do a pineapple one.” Brewer says there aren’t many pineapple-flavoured sodas out there and this one boasts a unique flavour, similar to a colada. He says they have already sold more than 100 cases. “It’s always great to connect with other really important cultural events that go on in the city and this is one that gets a lot of attention,” Brewer said. “They need a lot of support (for funding and awareness) . . . and it’s always great to have a little something from a different sector or a different market that helps them.” AJ Haapa, Wake the Giant event organizer, says they’ve been eager to work with a grassroots organization like the Sleeping Giant brewery for quite some time because both “care deeply about the social fabric” of this community. The Wake the Giant initiative, which began as a means to provide inclusive and safe spaces for Indigenous students studying in Thunder Bay, far away from their homes. The Wake the Giant Festival will be underway at 11:30 a.m. today at Marina Park. Representatives from the Sleeping Giant Brewing Company will be at the festival site with the This is Wake the Giant soda, which will also be available at their retail store and other locations throughout the city for the next couple of weeks.
Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal