Prodigal sons

How Sons of Vancouver is riding the big boom in small spirits

James Lester (L) and Richard Klaus bring a clear point-of-view to Sons of Vancouver. Lucy-kate Armstrong photo

It will be just two short years in February since Sons of Vancouver opened for business—with a 700-litre still repurposed from a dairy pasteurizer. And, like so many of the distilleries around B.C., owners James Lester and Richard Klaus have barely had time to pause for breath.

Take the past few months of 2016 as an example: Sons ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to upgrade to a proper—and much bigger—still, opened a tasting room, and will release a special barrel-aged edition of their signature No. 82 Amaretto in time for the holidays.

It wasn’t meant to happen this fast.

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On the Town: BC Distilled 2016

The second annual BC Distilled event showcased 27 craft and micro distillers from around the province, with almost 500 ticket holders in attendance.


Mixologist Kylie Bartlett and founder and distiller Gordon Glanz show off East Vancouver’s Odd Society Spirits. Alexa Mazzarello photo.
BC Distilled founder Alex Hamer snuggles up with a representative from charity recipients, Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS). Alexa Mazzarello photo.
Richard Klaus and James Lester of North Van’s Sons of Vancouver took home audience awards for their Chili Vodka and No. 82 Amaretto. Alexa Mazzarello photo.
Sheringham Distillery’s Alayne and Jason MacIsaac presented their signature Seaside Gin, William’s White whisky, and vodka. Alexa Mazzarello photo.