In a province that has long been known for its antiquated liquor laws there’s a new wave of new distillers popping up producing quality artisan spirits. From absinthe makes the heart grow fonder and the mind wander to sweet but not too subtle apple schnapps to knock your socks off, I came I saw and they conquered me body, soul and mind. The following are my highlights from the BC Distilled Festival – B.C. Premier Micro-distillery Festival.
Odd Society Spirits (Vancouver): Odd spirits – located on Powell Street, this distillery produces vodka, gin, single malt, and Cassis Crème de Cassis with bc blackcurrants just like the kind your French momma gave you to get you to femme la boucher late at night.
Long Table Distillery (Vancouver): Long Table Distillery takes their gin quite seriously and only produces small batches. There’s a gin infused with cucumber and even gin aged in bourbon barrels which I quite enjoyed. .
SR Winery & Distillery produces Soju maQ which is a spirit made from 100% BC barley and has a similar taste and structure to sake.
Okanagan Spirits (Kelowna and Vernon): Ever since my first encounter with the green fairy I’ve been yearning to find an absinthe worthy to tak me back to Wonderland as I’ve heard that the poor quality ones can be a scary ride. Taboo Genuine Absinthe which is in a traditional manner with no colouring or artificial flavouring is a must have for any absinthe fans. This distillery also produces gluten free vodka, single malt, liquers, whisky, grappa and fruit brandy in various flavours such as raspberry, blueberry, blackcurrant, cherry, cranberry, blackberry, sea buckthorn –
SIPsoda (Vancouver): If you’re a fan of carbonated cocktails then you should stock up on SIP carbonated drinks as the flavours of Lavendar Lemon Peel, Rosemary Lime and Coriander Orange give it a nice subtle flavour to your cocktail.
The BC Distilled Festival also had food from the following restaurants: Grain Tasting Bar, Edible Canada, Forage, Blackbird Public House and The Distillery Bar + Kitchen.
And lovely Grand Marnier chocolates from Xoxolat to end the day on a sweet note:
The following were also on site. Most of these distillers have tasting bars with hours of operations listed in their website:
Arbutus Distilleries (Nanaimo): Coven vodka and Baga Yaga Absinthe
Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers.
Deep Cove Craft (North Vancouver): Beers and spirits, neutral grain spirit vodka Beer, Brandy, Moonshine and coming soon: flavored vodka, and absinthe Accolades: 1st place in the BC beer award 2013 beer award for quick Wit Wheat Ale and and First place Belgian style Beers with Sun Kissed Tea Saison Beer in Okanagan 2014 Fest of Ales
Dragon Mist Vodka (South Surrey): Premium vodka made only with two ingredients: wheat grown in Dawson Creek, British and pure Canadian glacial water. Then fermented, distilled and bottled at the Headspring Distillery in South Surrey. No additional neutral grain spirits or additives.
Maple Leaf Spirits (Penticton): More than just maple syrup liquer, Maple Leaf Spirits also has Grappa style: Skinny Pinot Noir, Gewurtztraminer, Syrah and fruit brandys: Canadian Kirst, Pear Williams, Italian Prune and Aged Italian Prune which won gold medal Gold Medal Destillata 2013, Austria.
Merridale Ciderworks Corp. (Cobble Hill): Awarded 3 medals for brandies at the American Distilling Competition. Also fortified wines of winter apple, Pomme, Oh or Mure Oh Brandies Smooth fruit based vodka called Rizz Cider.
Pemberton Distillery Inc. (Pemberton): All products are pure and organic – potato vodka, gin, apple brandy, The Devils Club absinthe, single malt whisky Kartoffelschnaps – Kartoffelschnaps, which is an unique Pemberton potato spirit of local wildflower honey, bourbon cured vanilla beans and special herbs and spices. They also produce extracts – tonic syprup, vanilla, rhurbarb and giger elixir, cinnamon, and rosemary & ginger.
Shelter Point Distillery (Campbell River): vodka, single malt whisky.
Sons of Vancouver (North Shore): amaretto, chili infused vodka and more.
The Liberty Distillery (Vancouver): Truth Vodka from 100% organic BC grown wheat, Endeavour Gin which is a versatile London Dry Style Gin made with 100% organic BC triple distilled wheat spirit and Railspur No. 1 White – single pot triple distilled unaged barley based grain spirit (aka white whiskey).
Urban Distilleries (Kelowna): Spirit Bear Vodka, Gin and Spirit Bear Espresso Infused Vodka, Urban Whisky and Grappa and Spirit Bear Espresso Infused Vodka, Urban Whisky and Grappa
Victoria Spirits (Saanich): Left Coast Hemp Vodka distilled with Canadian-grown organic hemp seed, Oaken Gin aged in new American oak barrels until it is amber, Craigdarroch Whisky and Eau de vies – Eau de Merlot; Eau de Sauvignon Blanc/Gamay Noir; Eau de Pinot Noir; and Eau de Gewurztraminer and Pear
Yaletown Distilling (Vancouver): Yaletown Vodka made from BC grown barley and wheat and Yaletown Gin which has been distilled three times.
Yukon Shine (Whitehorse): Yukon Winter Vodka made with Yukon Gold potatoes, Canadian barley and rye and Auragin with hint of juniper, berries and citrus.
Walter Craft Caesar (Whitehorse): All natural ingredients with no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavours and no MSG.
Bittered Sling Extracts (Vancouver): A collaboration of chef Jonathan Chovancek and mixologist and sommelier Lauren Mote to produce high-quality, small-batch bitters and extracts that provides a fusion of homegrown ingredients and flavours that are now used extensively by bars to produce great cocktails as the extracts are true essences of flavour.