Female spirit

Meet some of B.C.’s women distillers, a group so small it begs the question: Why are there still so few?

Shelly Heppner, founder and distiller of Bespoke Spirit House in Parksville. Photo by Dayman-Langen Photography

March 8, 2020, likely passed in a blur for Shelly Heppner. Around International Women’s Day, she was firing up her brand-new stills to produce Virtue Vodka and Jezebel Gin at Bespoke Spirit House in Parksville, which received its distilling green light in February. “Gin is such a vixen! I do want to have a couple of different gins that will have female-oriented names,” says Heppner, who also plans to make small-batch eaux-de-vie from Vancouver Island fruit.

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Fernie Distillers

Fernie Distillers photo

Co-owner with her husband Andrew Hayden, Jillian Rutherford is one of the few female distillers in B.C. They established Fernie Distillers in 2006 in a historic building in downtown Fernie, where they produce small-batch spirits inspired by their vibrant community.

531 1st Ave., Fernie
FernieDistillers.com

Read more about Fernie Distillers:

Female spirit


PRODUCTS

• No. 9 Mine Vodka
• Fernie Fog (Earl Grey Liqueur)
• Prospector Gin
• Seasonal spirits (limited)