Spirits of compassion

Bartenders and distillers step up to help those in need

Putt for philanthropy at The Keefer Yard mini golf course. Facebook.com/TheKeeferYard photo

What’s better than sipping a finely crafted cocktail? Saying cheers to charity. Several bars and distilleries throughout B.C. are adding a dash of do-good to their drinks; here are just a few.

Chickadee‘s Cocktails for a Cause program is in full swing after launching earlier this year. Each month, bar manager Sabrine Dhaliwal and her team create three feature cocktails, with $1 from each sold going to the selected charity. In February, the team donated to Hogan’s Alley in support of Black History Month. In March, to celebrate International Women’s Day, Chickadee donated to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre; this past April, funds went to Red Cross Canada for its Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal. May’s menu supports Cystic Fibrosis Canada, with Grand Marnier as the starring spirit.

Wayward Distillery—the country’s first distillery to use primarily honey as its spirits’ base—is helping honeybees. The Courtenay-based maker donates one per cent of all spirit sales to Pollinator Partnership Canada, a registered charity dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.

When The Keefer Yard put in its mini golf course, it began accepting donations to play a round (a minimum of $10 for two people), with the money going to rotating charity partners. The current beneficiary is the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden; previous charities have included DTES Neighbourhood House, Aboriginal Mothers Centre Society and Backpack Buddies.

At Odd Society Spirits, 100 per cent of proceeds of its Nastoyka: Mountain Ash Berry Vodka, which is sold exclusively by the glass in the distillery’s tasting room, are going to World Central Kitchen, the organization of chef-volunteers who go into crisis zones to cook for people in need.

Pourhouse has been slinging The Village Helper in support of the Atira Women’s Resource Society, with $1 from each cocktail sold going directly to support residents affected by the recent devastating fire in Gastown’s Winters Hotel.

For the entire month of March, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery donated full proceeds from all bottle sales of vodka to its Unite for Ukraine fundraising initiative. The proceeds of $25,466 went to the Ukraine Emergency fund through Canada’s branch of the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. 

That’s not all. EVOLVE Legacy Gin Project is another one of Okanagan Spirits’ efforts: Proceeds from each bottle of the farm-to-flask colour-shifting gin will go to groups that champion educational and empowerment initiatives for women and those affected by gender discrimination. 

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