In January, a B.C. craft whisky was named the country’s best for the first time in the 13-year history of the Canadian Whisky Awards. The rye-based Palm Trees & A Tropical Breeze was only the third whisky released by Sons of Vancouver. But it offers an aromatic taste of the future for this North Van distillery better known (until now) for its amaretto and other liqueurs.
B.C.’s Shelter Point Distillery becomes the first Canadian bottling by the prestigious Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
During the Victoria Whisky Festival on January 20, the Canadian chapter of Scotland’s Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) unveiled a new bottling, 152.1, also known by the name Vibrant and Vigorous. The “.1” identifies the first-ever bottling from a new-to-SMWS distillery, and the Society identifies whiskies only by number and their often-fanciful house names, because each whisky is a single cask bottled at house strength, and may be a unicorn that doesn’t align with the distillery’s house style.
Over the past decade British Columbia has become the focal point for craft distilleries within Canada. Prior to 2013, there were only a handful of distilleries in operation in the province. However, once the Provincial Government established new regulations around “commercial” and “craft” distilleries, exempting “craft” distillers from the more than 160 percent markup the province applies to all other B.C. spirit makers, there has been an enormous boom. Today, there are close to 100 distilleries in operation.