B.C. beverage producers join forces to rally support for local businesses with Time to Buy BC campaign

Supplied photo

B.C. alcoholic beverage producers are joining forces to encourage British Columbians to support local businesses in an effort to mitigate the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19. The “Time to Buy BC” campaign was launched on Tuesday in a joint effort between the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild, the B.C. Farm Crafted Cider Association, the Craft Distillers Guild of B.C. and the B.C. Wine Institute, together representing more than 500 breweries, cideries, distilleries, wineries and alcoholic beverage producers across the province.

The campaign’s website, TimeToBuyBC.ca has a complete list of local B.C. craft breweries, cideries, wineries, distilleries and refreshment beverage companies you can support.

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Canadians rally to save restaurants with #TakeoutDay

Juke Fried Chicken’s bar manager Sabrine Dhaliwal has created pre-mixed cocktail bases to enjoy with your takeout. Supplied photo

In a historic move to save the foodservice industry, several hundred restaurant owners, chefs, culinary leaders and celebrities across Canada have joined forces to support Canada Takeout to make every Wednesday #TakeoutDay. This movement encourages Canadians to order from their favourite local restaurant offering takeout or delivery, with a nationwide kickoff on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 for #TakeoutDay.

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B.C. distilleries are keeping your spirits up

B.C. distilleries are answering the call during Covid-19 by providing delicious artisan spirits as well as hand sanitizer to our communities

Support your local distillery by purchasing their products online. Istock photo

In these surreal times, it’s been extremely heartening to see an overwhelming number of BC distilleries find innovative ways to help the most vulnerable in their surrounding communities. News of distilleries producing and distributing sanitizer to the those on the front lines of this pandemic broke last week with a growing number of producers (including some breweries and wineries) quickly following suit. Over the weekend, the B.C. government further validated these efforts by granting temporary permission to all distillers to produce and distribute alternative products as long as they meet certain federal regulatory requirements; primarily that they contain a sufficient amount of alcohol to kill the virus.

Surely, it’s a role many distilleries never envisioned they would fill, but, in this new reality, it’s inspiring to see how communities are able to come together in trying times, with other local businesses generously donating bottles and essential ingredients to the cause.

While many distillers have shifted their production to focus on producing hand sanitizer for the time being being, many are still selling their products online. Here we’ve compiled an evolving list of B.C. distilleries that are helping keep your spirits up during these trying times with delivery services and online bottle shops.

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Spring forward with the latest issue of The Alchemist

This pretty-in-pink Lillet Spritz from Tableau Bar Bistro is an ideal aperitif before a meal, as well
as the perfect spring sipper. Dan Toulgoet photo

We likely won’t be gathering on a crowded patio any time soon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the return of spring. And this issue of The Alchemist has got plenty of seasonal sips and stories to enjoy wherever you are.

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Artisan distillers turn their hands to sanitizers

Sweet Orange + Gin Sanitizer produced by Victoria’s Nezza Naturals and Victoria Distillers is being donated to the region’s health-care workers. Supplied photo

A week ago, Peter Hunt had just returned to Victoria from a trip to New York when he decided to go shopping. But customers concerned about COVID-19 had gotten there before him.

“I was in the stores and there was no hand sanitizer around,” says the president of Victoria Distillers. “Then I was chatting with my wife, who works in the public service, and my aunts and uncles, who are paramedics, and they were having trouble finding hand sanitizer, too. Trying to find it was stressing them out.

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Hospitality in the shadow of COVID-19

The original members of the “Breaking Bread” collective, a growing initiative designed to support independent restaurants, their staff and suppliers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Represented here, from left to right: Café Medina, Juke Fried Chicken, Beetbox, L’Abattoir, Havana, Belgard Kitchen, Wildebeest, Nuba, Heritage Asian Eatery, Origo Club. Photo courtesy of Breaking Bread

It happened slowly, then all at once. Was it just a week ago we were still joking about bumping elbows instead of shaking hands? Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has rolled over absolutely every aspect of our lives, and that includes our vibrant culinary culture.

Across British Columbia, people in the hospitality industry have taken proactive action against the virus, not waiting for government to tell them to change the way they do business.

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Diageo World Class: More than a competition

How the esteemed bartending contest is shaking up the cocktail world

Competitors and previous winners celebrate at the Diageo World Class Canada final 2019 in Whistler. Leila Kwok photo

Diageo World Class is more than just the biggest, most prestigious cocktail competition on the planet. It is also a major source of education for bartenders.

“We’re really trying to play our part in driving the industry forward, focusing on educating and giving bartenders the tools they need to achieve their goals, at home and around the globe,” says Michael Armistead, who oversees the Diageo World Class Canada Bartending Competition as National On-premise, Reserve and Sponsorship Manager.

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Shaking it up at Science of Cocktails

The fifth annual event was a whizz-bang success

Science of Cocktails, held February 6 at Science World, surpassed a cumulative milestone of $1.2 million raised for the Class Field Trip Bursary Program. Tara Rafiq photo

“This is just what we do,” says Trevor Kallies, president of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Bartender Association and the creative force behind one of Vancouver’s most dynamic cocktail events. “This” isn’t just making great drinks, although it’s that, too. Mostly, though, it’s coming together to help those who need it most.

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A Scotch like no other

As an independent bottler, Andrew Laing is “bringing something else to the party”—unique bottlings of rare whiskies and other spirits

Andrew Laing is the export director of Hunter Laing, one of Scotland’s finest independent bottlers. Supplied photo

Take an Islay journey with Andrew Laing.

The glass of Scotch he pours has a vegetal, almost mezcal-like scent, with whiffs of salty, mineral sea and fishy kelp and a distinctly ashy after taste. It’s a blended malt representing the vivid flavours of five of the finest distilleries what is perhaps the most coveted of Scotland’s whisky-producing regions. And it’s exactly the kind of exquisite, unique bottling in which his family’s company specializes.

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