BC Distilled showcased artisan distillers

Spirits of British Columbia

BC Distilled Showcases Artisan Distillers

There were amaros and whiskies, liqueurs, brandies, rums and plenty of gin and vodka. All of it was made in BC. Most of it was even grown here.

The fourth annual BC Distilled festival, held on April 8, was a showcase of not only the province’s best artisan spirits, but just how far the young industry has come in a remarkably short time.

Only five years ago, fewer than 10 small distilleries were operating in the province. Then in 2013 the provincial government created a Craft Distiller designation that gives distillers who use BC agricultural product a break on the BC Liquor Distribution Branch’s 163% markup. Now there are 41 artisan distillers here, with another 17 in the works. That’s almost as many micro distilleries as the rest of Canada combined.

Many of them were at the festival, allowing the 500 attendees the opportunity to taste Sheringham’s kelp-flavoured akvavit, de Vine’s honey-based rum, Okanagan Spirits bourbon-style whisky, Monashee’s cream liqueur and dozens of other products.

“This year we’ve seen great growth and maturation of BC’s distilling industry, with 34 distilleries participating and over 150 spirits available to be sampled,” says BC Distilled founder Alex Hamer. “We’re also starting to see more whisky released, which is something we know consumers are eager for, but requires years to produce.”

This year the event added “Spirit Showcases”, educational tastings held at Legacy Liquor Store in the week leading up to BC Distilled, as well as a Distiller’s Dinner at Forage Restaurant. Next year’s festival is planned for April 2018. For more information, visit https://bcdistilled.ca/.

Photo courtesy of BC Distilled.