At G&W Distilling, Stephen Goodridge has big plans
Stephen Goodridge built G&W Distilling’s Delta-based distillery himself. From scratch.
“I’m a mechanical engineer by training. I wanted to do it myself,” he says, as if nothing could be easier.
He moved to Vancouver 14 years ago, leaving his native Barbados—and the rum distillery he had built and run—behind. When the B.C. distilling laws changed in 2013, he left a senior position with the Mark Anthony Group to start making his own liquor.
His first product, Sid’s Vodka, was ready by early 2014 and, 18 months later, is stocked at some 50 retail stores across Vancouver. It’s also the house pouring vodka at Vancouver’s Pidgin and Mission restaurants.
He followed Sid’s with Silverdawn, a higher end vodka that hit the ground running, picking up a silver award at the 2014 International Wine and Spirits Competition. It’s served at several hotel bars including Hawksworth and the Fairmont’s Pacific Rim and Chateau Whistler.
Years of developing brands with mass-market appeal have given Goodridge a nose for what works. So he wasn’t certain when liquor store owners started encouraging him to move into gin.
“I had this sense that while, if asked, people will say they like the idea of drinking gin, they don’t actually like the taste.”
For G&W’s first gin, Tempo Renovo, he decided to tweak the recipe, holding the juniper back and pushing the fruit forward.
“Renovo means refreshment,” he explains. “I wanted to make a gin that was a little more drinkable.”
Connoisseurs fear not: Goodridge is already planning further variations on his Tempo line—one with a more aggressive, high juniper content, and another, more laid back, cucumber-style.
For his first move into brown liquor, he called on his experience making rum: G&W’s Mapleshade Repose is an artisanal rested spirit aged in American and French oak—basically a young whisky, popped from the cask earlier than the requisite three years.
“We can’t call it a whisky, but even real Scotch drinkers are liking it—it’s similar in style to an Irish whiskey,” he notes.
With a supplier of rye confirmed, he says there will be a Sid’s Rye coming later and, potentially, a “very high end” rye vodka.
“Hopefully we can really grow this business,” he says. “I’m out doing tastings every week, and I know our products are hitting the mark.”
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Goodridge & Williams Distilling
Unit 8-7167 Vantage Way, Delta • 604-376-0630