Canada is home to many diverse distilleries of delicious liquors from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.
This list breaks down a few distilleries that deserve a toast for their hard work and effort in one of the noblest fields.
Wayward Distillation House
In Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, B.C., this distillery balances tradition with creativity to be the first distillery in the country to use honey as the base for all its spirits. They use a custom designed still to incorporate honey (localized from B.C., unpasteurized and all-natural) in their distilling process. Since 2014, Wayward’s hand-crafted, signature Unruly Vodka (gold, Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition), Unruly Gin (gold, Vancouver International Spirits Competition) and Drunken Hive Rum (silver, Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition) are three unique results from this company’s preference to go wayward off the beaten path and blaze new trails.
Forty Creek Distillery
Grimsby, Ontario is home to the Forty Creek Distillery. Founded in 1992 by John Hall, who was a renowned winemaker before he jumped into the liquor game. This distillery offers award-winning liqueurs, spirits, rum and of course whisky galore with labels such as Copper Pot (silver medal, 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards), Barrel Select (bronze medal, 2017 San Francisco Worlds Spirits Competition), and Forty Creek Cream (gold medal, 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards).
Lucky Bastard Distillery
Lucky Bastard Distillery — aptly named after owner Michael Goldney who got lucky winning the lottery, which he would use to open the micro-distillery — is located smack dab in the middle of the prairies, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and opened in 2012. Luck might be in the name, but the company doesn’t rely on it — using steadfast precision to distill only 250-litre batches at a time. Small batches give Lucky Bastard complete control in capturing the best distillates from their still. They produce signature vodkas, rums, as well as liqueurs and bitters.
Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery
Located in Windsor, Ontario, Hiram Walker & Sons distills one of the most proudly Canadian products: J.P. Wiser’s is the oldest continuously produced whisky since 1857. Whether you like your whisky straight or on the rocks, there is a flavour for you in the distiller’s diverse line of labels — including J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe, J.P. Wiser’s Vanilla and J.P. Wiser’s Dissertation, which has won World’s Best Canadian Blended Whisky at the 2018 World Whiskies Awards.
In the old port of Lunenburg on Nova Scotia’s historic South Shore, Ironworks Distillery crafts spirits with traditional methods and attention to detail. It was founded back in 2009 by Pierre Guevremont and Lynne Mackay. Their featured and marvelous products (available for purchase online) include: Bluenose Rum, Organic Blackberry Liqueur, and their signature gin. In 2017, this Nova Scotian distillery took home two silver and three gold medals from the World Spirits Awards.
Old Order Distilling Company
Old Order Distilling of Penticton, B.C., specializes in gin, vodka, and whisky production distilled with 100% B.C. fruits and grains. Their mission, since being founded in 2013, is to take distilling back from foreign owned distilleries in Canada and give back to local farmers. This is a family-run operation started by a husband and wife duo — Graham Martens and Naomi Gabriel — mastering artisan distilling with a little help from their three children. Definitely check out their glorious Heritage Vodka (gold medal winner CASC 2018), and Heritage Gin.