It's hard to believe that its been five years since the first Canadian-only spirits festival took place in Vancouver, but time flies when you're in a province that has a seriously thriving micro-distillery scene.
Taking place on Saturday April 14, BC Distilled is showcasing an impressive 40 B.C. distilleries this year. There are plenty of recognizable names in the festival's lineup, such as Odd Society Spirits, Long Table Distillery, The Dubh Glas Distillery and Fermentorium Distilling Co. (Phillips Brewing's distillery leg), but the addition of new distilleries (both new to the festival and new to production) year after year is a particularly great example of how the province is establishing itself as a distilling leader in Canada.
"The fact that we have 12 new distilleries joining us this year is amazing," says BC Distilled's founder Alex Hamer. "This growth demonstrates the momentum that our industry in B.C. is experiencing, especially in some of the smaller population centres in the province, including places like Salt Spring Island (Salt Spring Shine), Invermere (Taynton Bay Spirits), and Ucluelet (Pacific Rim Distilling). These new distilleries are bringing 10 new gins, 11 new vodkas, and a host of other infused and white spirits."
You had us at "10 new gins," Mr Hamer.
Open to the general public in the evening, BC Distilled also offers an afternoon trade tasting for impassioned individuals in the Canadian cocktail industry to explore the array of new B.C.-made spirits.
Since sipping on spirits all night can be a stiff task, it's always good to balance things out with a little bit of food. The festival promises plenty of canapés throughout the evening, prepared by Forage, Juniper Kitchen & Bar, Whiskey Six BBQ and H2 Rotisserie & Bar. Popular local food trucks, Tacofino and Mom’s Grilled Cheese food trucks will also be parked outside of the main doors of the venue (the Croatian Cultural Centre on Commercial Drive) until 6:30 p.m.