Private-cask whisky sales are a “futures” investment in B.C.’s small-batch distillers. Here’s how and why they do it.
They’re lined up like Papa, Mama and Baby Rye: 20-, 10- and five-litre mini-barrels, their ends embossed with the names of proud owners who, in eight weeks or so, get a crash course in craft spirits aging—and their own one-of-a-kind bottles of Custom Rye.
“We were kind of inspired by beer growlers,” says Brian Grant. He and Resurrection Spirits partner David Wolowidnyk charge customers once for the barrel ($150 to $350 depending on size), which they can pay the distillery to fill with white rye (or even gin) multiple times, at the bargain price of $37.50 a bottle. Vancouver’s Homer Street Grill and Unwind are among bar clients already serving their own private batches.
At Odd Society Spirits, innovation is all about collaboration
The Tasting Lounge at Odd Society Spirits in East Vancouver is a veritable beehive, buzzing with collaboration. Behind the bar, Kylie Bartlett shakes a frothy Tree Sum cocktail and strains it into a coupe glass. The neon-green libation was created by Vanessa Bourget, owner of Exile Bistro, and is made with a foraged-pine-needle, parsley syrup that Ms. Bourget trades to the craft distiller in exchange for the drink’s other key ingredient, Odd Society’s Wallflower Gin.
Part of the distillery’s Visiting Cocktail program, the forest-fresh Tree Sum is just one of many collaborations that allows Odd Society to live up to its name as an unusual innovator within British Columbia’s still somewhat oddly disconnected worlds of craft spirits and bartending.