Inside Long Table Distillery – Vancouver’s First Craft Distillery

IMG_20130419_082742Is Vancouver getting a Distillery Row of its very own? Long Table Distillery, Vancouver’s first craft or “micro” distillery in decades, opened doors softly in February at 1451 Hornby Street.

I recently stopped by to taste their botanical gin and Texada limestone-filtered vodka. I also wanted to catch a glimpse of the Christian Carl copper still: a gorgeous, shiny beast visible behind their tasting counter.

Although I was imbibing at 11am, nobody judged. Owner Charles Tremewen was on hand to guide my tasting and tell his story. Charles and wife, Rita, were inspired to start the business after a romp in Portland’s legendary Distillery Row. Charles has a background in local, sustainable businesses and a fine appreciation for a dry martini. In short: he didn’t see why Vancouver–with access to crystal clear mountain water and BC inputs like foraged juniper, wild ginger and mountain ash–didn’t make its own small-batch, locally-sourced spirits.

Long Table currently retails two spirits from their distillery and tasting room. Their best, in my opinion, is the London Dry Gin which runs $50 for 750ml. It’s robust, infused with with eight botanicals including the obvious juniper, with lesser notes of coriander and citrus, and floral hints from additions such as angelica, pepper and fennel.

The Texada Vodka ($45 for 750ml) stands up to sipping neat, although it would perform in a cocktail. It’s got a heavier mouth feel than your typical vodka, with a whisper of lemongrass and a mineral finish that comes from being filtered through limestone from B.C’s Texada Island.

You can try them by visiting Long Table on Fridays and Saturdays between 12 noon and 6pm. The tasting part is free.

Go behind the scenes at Long Table Distillery after the jump.

Charles also let it slip that Long Table is working on more small batch spirits. They’re playing with the botanicals they steep into the gin; I saw a hefty bowl of cukes near the still. Plus you can expect new spirits such as herbal aquavit, whisky and limoncello soonish.

Other places to try/purchase Long Table’s products? Legacy Liquor (1633 Manitoba St.) carries it.  Forage restaurant in the Listel Hotel uses Long Table spirits in their cocktails. Soon you’ll also be able to purchase Long Table gin and vodka at BC Liquor Distribution branches.

I hear (via the Vancouver Sun) that there are two more Vancouver distilleries in the works. Central City/Red Racer brewmaster Gary Lohin is planning to bring back Canadian 100% rye whisky, making the stuff out in Surrey. Brew pub magnate Mark James and brewer Iain Hill are working on Yaletown Distilling Company.

You can visit Long Table on Fridays and Saturdays between 12 noon and 6pm. Next time you’re on a seawall walk near Hornby, just walk up a block or two and make things interesting.  They’re extending the visiting hours in May.

Long Table Distillery, 1451 Hornby St., 604.266.0177,

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The offerings on the “long table” a 14-ft.-long hand milled sequoia redwood plank cut from a locally recovered urban tree.




Long Table tasting area with view of the still


Label close-up


Juniper berries and Texada limestone


Still close-up


Pouring batch #2. The inaugural batch was already gone when I dropped by


Full soldiers


Cukes for gin flavour experimentation


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