Alberta whisky named Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year

The win marks an exciting shift in small-scale distilling across the country

The Fort Distillery’s Mountain Pass Whisky is the 2024 Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year. Photo courtesy Artisan Distillers Canada

After seven years of domination by B.C. and Ontario, an Alberta distillery has taken home the top prize at the 2024 Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition.

In a series of blind tastings, a cross-Canada panel of judges selected The Fort Distillery‘s Mountain Pass Whisky as the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year. The Fort Saskatchewan distillery prevailed over more than 80 small-scale spirits producers from 10 provinces and territories, who entered nearly 300 products in the competition; its whisky was only the second ever to win CASC’s top award.

“After many years of positive trends, it’s now clear that superior, world-class whiskies are being produced by artisan distillers in every part of the country,” Alex Hamer, founder and executive director of Artisan Distillers Canada, which produces the annual competition, said in a press release. He also noted that the win demonstrates that “Alberta’s artisan distilling community can now produce the calibre of mature products we’re used to seeing in places like B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

ADC launched the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition in 2018; it is open to any distillery in Canada that meets ADC’s “artisan” classification for distilleries and spirit products.

The 2024 Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year is a single-grain whisky made from 70 per cent malted barley and 30 per cent corn, and aged for 40 months. According to the CASC judges’ notes, Mountain Pass Whisky features pumpernickel bread, fennel, root beer spices on the nose, with “flavours of malt, hot honey, salted pretzels, oak spice, citrus zest and toast, and finishes spicy but juicy with fruity flavour.”

The 2024 CASC results were also notable for strong showings from two Quebec distilleries, which each came away with multiple Best in Class awards: Alpha Tango Spirits, based in Val-d’Or, won in the Flavoured Gin and Alternative Rum categories, and Distillerie Mitis, based in Mont Joli, was crowned for its Eau de Vie and Liqueur.

In addition to this year’s spirit and bitters sensory awards, CASC introduced Business and Community Awards to bring attention to the outstanding work Canada’s artisan distilleries are doing in their communities across the country.

Best in Class: Canada’s Best Artisan Spirits by Category

Absinthe: Lore & Legends Distillery (QC) – Artemise

Aged Gin: Stillhead Distillery (BC) – Islay Cask Gin – Navy Strength

Alternative Rum: Alpha Tango Spirits (QC) – Moonlight Rum

Amaro or Vermouth: Compass Distillers (NS) – Bitter Aperitivo

Brandy: Maple Leaf Spirits Inc. (BC) – Lady of the Cask

Classic Gin: Fernie Distillers Inc. (BC) – Forager Spruce Tip Gin

Classic Vodka: Silver Devil Spirits (AB) – Silver Devil Vodka

Contemporary Gin: Ampersand Distilling Co. (BC) – Ampersand Gin

Contemporary Vodka: Northern Vintage Distillery Ltd (BC) – Tuesday’s Vintage

Eau de Vie: Distillerie Mitis (QC) – Acerum vieilli en baril

Flavoured Gin: Alpha Tango Spirits (QC) – Echo Foxtrot Gin

Fruit Liqueur: Maple Leaf Spirits Inc. (BC) – Cherry Liqueur

Infused or Flavoured Vodka: Wayward Distillery (BC) – Depth Charge

Liqueur: Distillerie Mitis (QC) – Entaille

Rye Whisky: Sons of Vancouver Distillery (BC) – Summer Road Trip Across the Midwest

Single Grain Whisky: The Fort Distillery (AB) – Mountain Pass Whisky

Single Malt Whisky: Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Whisky (YK) – Two Brewers Release 41 – Special Finishes

Traditional Rum: Ironworks Distillery (NS) – TEN

White Spirit: SFR Distillery (ON) – Poitín

Young Whisky: DEVINE Distillery (BC) – Ancient Grains

Bottled Cocktails: Compass Distillers (NS) – Barrel-Aged Negroni

Bitters: Ironworks Distillery (NS) – Cocktail Lab Spiced Apple Bitters


Business and Community Awards

Tasting Room Destination Award: Bridgeland Distillery (AB)

Product Collaboration Award: Moonshine Creek Distillery & Moosehead Breweries (NB) – Community Spirit

Product Innovation Award: Odd Society Spirits (BC): Wild Thing Collaboration – Mushroom Whisky

Sustainability Award: Pivot Spirits Ltd (AB)

Community Engagement Award: Holocene Distilling Project (BC)

For the complete results, visit:


You may also like