Four World Class B.C. Distilleries With the Best Bottle Offerings
Array of bottles.
BC Distilled went off this April for the first time since 2019. The annual trade show—plus a public tasting, a distillers dinner at Forage, and a whisky tasting with Canadian whisky afficionado Davin de Kergommeaux—showcased the best distilled liquors B.C. has to offer. This year, 27 distilleries from the Comox Valley to the Kootenays converged on Vancouver, providing a vibrant scene matched in verve only by the liquors poured throughout. Thanks to the passion of BC Distilled’s founder, Alex Hamer, a dizzying array of bottles were popped, many with cult followings countrywide. Here are four of B.C.’s best bottles to seek out, at home and afield.
DEVINE Distillery – Ancient Grains Whisky
I was lucky enough to dine with Kevin Titcomb, DEVINE’s distiller, during this year’s Distillers Dinner, and the only nicer person, place, or thing at that table was DEVINE’s Ancient Grains Whisky. A cult favourite that has garnered accolades at just about every Canadian spirits competition, Ancient Grains is a young whisky (aged less than five years) concentrated by its maturation in American oak quarter-casks. This bottle would remain a showstopper if the event were called World Distilled.
Sons of Vancouver Distillery – Marshmallows Over a Campfire Whisky
Marshmallows Over a Campfire is an extremely small-batch (i.e., impossible to get) whisky from the Lower Mainland’s favourite weirdos at Sons of Vancouver Distillery. A cask-strength (59.5% ABV) rye whisky, Marshmallows is heavily influenced by the super-peaty Ardbeg barrels used for aging a portion of the spirit. This whisky had David de Kergommeaux singing its praises in front of a packed house at North Vancouver’s Copperpenny Distilling Co.
Wayward Distillery – Raspberry Gin Liqueur
Wayward Distillery uses honey for its distillate—the perfect base for sweet spirits such as its Raspberry Gin Liqueur. As you might expect, honey liquors can be saccharine, so it’s important that Wayward’s spirit is absolutely loaded with tart raspberry. Try this in place of simple syrup in your favourite cocktail, or go ahead and pour it over rocks.
The Woods Spirit Co. – Chiaro Amaro
Amari of all sorts are having a renaissance. From the omnipresent Aperol to cult bottles like Bràulio, we just can’t get enough of bitter Italian liqueurs. However, regardless of its vociferous fans, few distilleries outside of Italy focus their efforts on amari—which is why B.C. is lucky to have the Woods Spirit Co. working its magic in North Vancouver. It describes its Chiaro Amaro as a “Pacific Northwest take on a traditional Italian favourite” bolstered by botanicals such as gentian and star anise. I tasted this in a cocktail, but as with all good amari, sipping it neat would be a great way to end a meal.