Vancouver’s Craft Distilleries



Though steeped in tradition, whiskey has certainly garnered a ton “buzz” recently—especially small batch whiskey. Trying new types of whiskey is, of course, one of our favourite pastimes, and when we came across this piece from All Things Considered on NPR it definitely got us thinking. Now, that’s not to say that our enjoyment of these varieties is lessened in any way! It’s simply a reminder to be aware of labeling practices and, if you’re interested in the origin of your whiskey, to do some research.

That being said, we have been loving the distilleries popping up around Vancouver lately, producing (truly) local small batches of whiskey…and more!


The Liberty Distillery: Situated on Granville Island, the Liberty Distillery proudly handcrafts their spirits from quality BC ingredients using traditional artisan distillation methods—from the fermentation of the grains to the triple distillation process in handmade copper stills. In addition to their vodka and gin, two white whiskeys are currently available—including one infused with Chilliwack River Valley Wildflower Honey—and an aged whiskey, made from 100% BC organic barley is anticipated for a 2016 release. Experience Liberty’s spirits at their 110yr old antique bar (1494 Old Bridge Road) or enjoy a distillery tour to witness the process up close.

Odd Society Spirits: Located in East Van, this craft distillery ferments and distills small batches on site, using 100% BC agricultural products. They also offer the unique opportunity to privately own a cask of Canadian Single Malt, matured at the distillery for three years before being bottled for you. Visit them online—oddsocietyspirits.comand check out their tasting lounge at 1725 Powell Street.

Long Table Distillery: Having the distinction of being Vancouver’s first micro-distillery, Long Table’s selection of premium gins, vodkas and “seasonal spirits” are produced from organic, natural and often foraged ingredients, focusing on local and sustainability. Small-batch whiskeys are part of a long-term plan for the company. Their tasting room is open Wednesday-Saturday at 1451 Hornby Street—we recommend trying the Bourbon Barrelled Gin! Find more information at

Central City Brewers & Distillers: Their award-winning craft beers have been local favourites for years, but Central City entered the world of craft distilling this year with the launch of their small batch vodka and gin. They’re also focusing on putting Canadian whisky back on the map with their 100-percent rye whisky, currently in the works. Find out more at or in person at 11411 Bridgeview Drive, in Surrey.

Yaletown Distilling Company: This latest venture by the Mark James Group also brings artesian distilling to Vancouver, utilizing 100% BC ingredients—all milled, washed, fermented and distilled in Yaletown. Current offerings include herbal-infused gins and vodkas, with whiskey production next on the agenda. The distillery offers guided tastings and tours five days a week, at 1132 Hamilton Street.

Hold the phone! You assumed we were going to order what…!?

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Upon rejecting the offer of a cocktail menu at a Yaletown watering hole recently and instead each requesting a glass of Talisker, neat, these two Whiskey Chicks received a look replete with disbelief and intrigue from the bartender.

“Sorry,” he said, “I was just surprised. It’s refreshing to have a couple of women come in and order something other than a vodka soda or a Cosmo.”

Far from the first time we have received this response, we’re commonly faced with raised eyebrows and a look of surprise from both men and women when ordering our tipple of choice. And while we certainly don’t aim to shock with our taste preference, we’re okay with not fitting a stereotype—particularly one that emerged in the late 90’s courtesy of the Cosmopolitan-swilling ladies of Sex in the City (which, nonetheless, will forever be a show close to our hearts and never far from our DVD players).


But when exactly did scotch become “a man’s drink”? This recent article in Esquire references several historical events and movements involving whisky, with women at the forefront. Yet sometime between women calling the shots during prohibition and the modern day, scotch became a measure of manliness.

Even if you are a woman (or a man, for that matter) who does enjoy the occasional fruity beverage with an equally fruity name—Flirtini anyone?—there’s no reason to shy away from a bold, peaty monster of a scotch. Or perhaps your palate is tempted by something lighter and more floral.

That’s one reason why we love the amber nectar so much—the wide range and depth of flavour profiles offers endless opportunities to discover something new and deliciously enticing, and also means there’s likely a scotch out there with just the right notes to delight those with even the most discerning of tastes. And it doesn’t hurt that even if you happen to indulge in more than an ounce or two, you aren’t faced with quite the same drunken affect as with other liquors and rarely will you have a hangover afterwards…



 Besides, let’s be honest, there’s something just plain sexy about a glass of scotch. The smooth texture—heavy and viscous, but not syrupy—the rich amber colour, the immediate warmth that spreads through your body as you roll it over your tongue and it trickles down your throat. There’s an air of romance around it. It’s a drink that insists that you slow down, that you savour it. We like it for its attention-seeking boldness—the way it asks you to be aware of it with each sip, and consider it.

This anthropomorphization of whisky made us laugh:

Whisky doesn’t care. That’s what makes it cool. The only other liquor that’s anywhere near as cool is Tequila. But Tequila’s always been too crazy to really be cool. Tequila will cut you for looking at its woman, then laugh while the cops drag it off to jail, and spit at you during the trial. And trust me you don’t want to pick on Vodka either. Dude doesn’t have much of a personality, but I swear he goes to the gym twice a day. You want the nerd of the liquor crew? Try Gin. You can give Gin an atomic wedgie and the worst it’ll do is scream that his daddy will have you banned from the yacht club. (source)

I mean…it’s kind of true. And that’s not to say that you’ll never find us tossing back a tequila shot (or two, or three…), or a vodka-something-or-other. But we have a true love affair with good scotch that only continues to grow stronger every day. And this is one love affair that won’t end up with any broken hearts.