Travel Blog

19 Jul

Booze on the Rocks: Squamish’s First Distillery Opens Next Month

There’s a new local distillery opening soon and today, I got a bit of sneak peek as well as a lesson on what it takes to bottle your own booze.

When it opens in August, Gillespies Fine Spirits will be offering Gastown Shine, what co-owner Kelly Ann Woods calls “an every person’s drinking vodka” followed by V Twin Vodka, a vodka for “the more discerning drinker” and Sin Gin, the “sexiest gin in the world”.

Also in the works is a Limoncello and the Aphro, a chili chocolate elixir that is their answer to Baileys and vodka.

The distillery is owned by Scottish-born John McLennan, who’s been visiting distilleries since he was a kid, and Kelly Ann Woods, a longtime Vancouver bartender whose Lemon Raspberry Caipirinha was featured this month by ELLE magazine.

The couple has put a lot of energy into sourcing their materials. Their front bar was made with wood from a Squamish bridge along with volcanic rock that was mined between Squamish and Whistler. And instead of investing in a $200,000 still, the couple found a large boiling pot that had been used to make honey. Don’t expect any plastic tasting cups either, they’ve been collecting vintage cordial glasses that are a perfect sample size.



The space is light, airy and totally inviting (even despite the current absence of booze). Beautiful vintage rugs and sofas as well as a Distillery Map of Scotland sit in the entry way leading up to the bar and window where you can check out the brewing action.




For $5, Gillespies will be offering 45ml tastings per person which you get back when you buy a bottle. The pair will also be participating in upcoming Squamish Farmers’ Markets thanks to the new liquor law that allows alcohol to be sold there.

“Farmers Markets are going to be really fun.”

Gillespies Fine Spirits is located at 8-38918 Progress Way in Squamish and is set to open in August. Until then, keep up with them online here.



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