It was the Pacific Northwest that put craft beer on the map, with cities like Portland pioneering artisanal suds. Now Vancouver is leading the way in another craft renaissance, this time in distillery.
Three new craft distilleries are slated to open in the city in 2013 as we first reported a few days ago, producing small-batch alternatives to the commercial spirits found in liquor stores. Sourced from local ingredients and made in a European, craft tradition, the new breed of vodkas, gins and whiskies gives visitors a fresh way to savor the city.
Along downtown’s Hornby Street, newly opened Long Table Distillery focuses on botanical gin and vodka. Unlike the fruity blends found on store shelves, Long Table’s spirits incorporate only subtle hints of local herbs and botanicals, including alpine juniper, lemongrass and even basil. Plans for a unique tomato basil vodka and cucumber gin are in the works.
This spring will also see the opening of Yaletown Distilling Company, in Vancouver’s historic warehouse district. Located next door to the popular Yaletown Brewing Company, it will highlight herbal-infused gins and vodkas, made on authentic Bavarian stills.
Meanwhile Central City Brewing, in the suburb of Surrey, is seeking to put Canadian whisky back on the map. Housed in a massive new brewery, complete with tasting lounge, the distillery will focus on 100-percent rye whisky, a lost Canadian art. Thirsty travelers may have to wait a while for the first sips, however: Canadian whisky must barrel-age three years before serving.