We hear a lot about local micro-breweries but what about micro-distillers for fine crafted spirits? There are numerous craft distilleries across the province producing high quality artisan whisky, gin, rum, vodka and other spirits. You can usually find their products in select restaurants & bars, liquor stores or their own pubs and tasting rooms. Here are some big and small batch producers with high quality:
17 Ampersand Distilling Company
4077 Lanchaster Road
Ampersand Distilling Company is a family-run craft distillery which started off as an organic vegetable farm. The family business is run by Jeremy Schacht who studied chemical engineering, his partner Jessica and parents Stephen & Ramona. The distillery sits on a five acre organic farm in the Cowichan Valley where they produce hand crafted gin and vodka.
16 Arbutus Distillery
1890 Boxwood Road
Gin, vodka, absinthe, brandy
Arbutus Distillery is a maker of fine artisan spirits with an onsite tasting bar & cocktail lounge on Vancouver Island. Their spirit product line includes a caramel and vanilla infused vodka, an espresso infused vodka, a west coast style gin, a harvest hopped gin and a naturally steeped absinthe.
15 Central City Brewers & Distillers
11411 Bridgeview Drive
Aside from being known for Red Racer craft beer, Hopping Mad cider and brew pubs in Vancouver and Surrey, the Central City brand also includes a single malt Canadian whisky, a premium hand crafted gin and small batch vodka.
14 Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers
#170 – 2270 Dollarton Highway
North Vancouver, BC
Known on the North Shore and beyond for their unconventional pairings and uncommon traditional craft beers, Deep Cove also creates high quality spirits in their small batch distillery. Their Mediterranean gin blends Rosemary and Olives while their award-winning vodka is ideal for martinis or over ice at their lounge.
13 Island Spirits Distillery
4605 Roburn Road
Hornby Island, BC
An Icebreaker captain and a Professor of Organic Chemistry turned experimental distillation into a perfected and scientific craft of fermenting, distilling and diffusing botanicals. Their proprietary gin blend includes natural ingredients like coriander seeds, angelica root, lemon grass and fennel seeds. Their seasonal vodkas include huckleberry ginger cinnamon, black raspberry, elderflower, mint and more.
12 Kootenay Country Craft Distillery
7263 Gustafson Road
Lora and Kevin Goodwin started growing and selling organic strawberries and vegetables in the late 90’s which led them to cultivating the land and local products for unique Kootenay Region spirits. They use pure spring waters, artisan distillation methods, organic heirloom grains and locally sourced agriculture for their blends.
11 Liberty Distillery
1494 Old Bridge Road
Gin, vodka, whiskey
Established in 2010 as a premium traditional spirit crafter, The Liberty Distillery on Granville Island is a local staple. Their spirits replicate their founding principles of truth, trust and endeavour and make for a great experience at their Saloon bar.
10 Long Table Distillery
1451 Hornby Street
Long Table likes their spirits local, handcrafted and small batch. They family owned and operated Ginsmiths and distillers use fresh, organic and natural ingredients from wild foragers in local mountains and select sources from around the globe. Their popular tasting events, Gin & Tonic Fridays and Cocktail Saturdays, even have onsite food trucks.
9 Maple Leaf Spirits
948 Naramata Road
Grape spirits, fruit brandies, liqueurs, kirsch, schnapps, eau-de-vie
This European-style craft distillery in the Okanagan creates grape spirits or grappa (skinny), fruit brandies and a range of liqueurs. They use locally grown fruit, grapes and wines in their traditional artisan blends.
8 Merridale Artisan Distillery
1230 Merridale Road
Cobble Hill, BC
Gin, Brandy, fruit vodka, cider, eau-de-vie, cognac
Eat, drink and be Merri – that’s the Merridale way! In addition to producing traditional and house craft ciders and fortified ciders, the Merridale Artisan Distillery also makes Cowichan style gin and vodka in the small community of Cobble Hill just north of Victoria.
7 Odd Society Spirits
1725 Powell Street
Gin, vodka, barley spirit, liqueurs
Fittingly in the heart of East Vancouver, Odd Society Spirits is a distillery and tasting lounge designed to represent the “out of sorts and charmingly unusual”. Their line of spirits include vodka, gin, mongrel, crème de cassis, vermouth and single malt Canadian whisky – sold by the cask.
6 Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery
2980 28th Avenue
Gin, whisky, vodka, eau-de-vie, liqueurs, marc, aquavit, absinthe, fruit brandies
The family owned and operated Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery has locations in Kelowna and Vernon which both offer tours and tastings. The brand has more than 25 internationally awarded spirits helping to put Okanagan and BC spirits on the global map.
5 Pemberton Distillery
1954 Ventura Place
Gin, vodka, whiskey, schnapps, liqueurs, absinthe
Did somebody say Hemp Vodka? That’s right, Pemberton potato vodka infused with toasted organic whole hemp seed which is locally grown in the Cowichan Valley. It’s a little taste of Pemberton in a bottle.
4 Shelter Point Distillery
4692 Regent road
Campbell River, BC
Whiskey, vodka, liqueur
Go halfway up the eastern side of Vancouver Island and you’ll find 380 acres of Shelter Point Farm and Distillery. The seaside island farm produces artisanal vodka (like mint chocolate or black licorice), maple syrup liqueur and single malt Canadian whiskey.
3 Urban Distilleries
#6 – 325 Bay Avenue
Gin, vodka, whiskey, fruit liqueurs, brandies, wine
Urban Distilleries has been doing it all since 2009. Their premium Spirit Bear line uses Okanagan grains and fruits for Okanagan grappa, calvados, schnapps, kirsch, gin, vodka, liqueurs and single malt whiskey. They practice traditional and sustainable distillation and farming.
2 Victoria Spirits
99891 Seaport Place
Gin, vodka, eau-de-vie
The waterfront Victoria Distillers are “influenced by history and driven by innovation” in their small-batch spirit producing. They take pride in collaborating with mixologists to create the best cocktail spirits and bitters.
1 Wayward Distillation House
2931 Moray Avenue
Gin and vodka made from… honey? They use 100% British Columbia honey to make honey wine which acts as the base of their gin and vodka. That’s complex and flavourful.
By Amar Mirchandani @amarmirch
Amar enjoys writing for online publications and working with film festivals. He also likes his beer chilled and ranch sauce with pizza.