Vancouverites flocking to Powell Street’s thriving brewery-and-distillery district in pursuit of a free East Village–branded growler will soon be able to add a new spot to their must-visit lists: Resurrection Spirits.
Situated at 1672 Franklin Street and within stumbling distance of popular imbibing spots like Callister Brewing, Odd Society Spirits, and the recently opened Andina Brewing Company, the two-level, 3,700-square-foot facility has been in the works for the better part of eight years.
Founder and co-owner Brian Grant, a local bartender who has been distilling his own spirits for almost a decade, tells the Straight by phone that organic rye grain will feature prominently at Resurrection.
Although many distilleries in the province employ barley in the production of their liquors, Grant hopes to spotlight the B.C.–sourced ingredient while paying homage to a distinctly Canadian libation. (The terms “rye whisky” and “Canadian whisky” are used interchangeably, though, these days, many “ryes” like Canadian Club and Crown Royal use little actual rye grain. Grant wants to change that.)
“It’s synonymous with Canada and it’s a grain that’s grown in B.C.,” he says.
According to the distiller, the use of organic rye grain as the backbone of Resurrection’s rye whisky, white-rye whisky, and gin will leave the spirits with a richer flavour not unlike that of Russian rye bread. Grant will be sourcing the grain from the Chilliwack-based Anita's Organic Mill. “It tends to have a bit more spice character,” he says.
Resurrection will open with whisky and gin available. It will eventually produce other spirits that incorporate locally sourced ingredients such as Okanagan fruits, herbs, and botanicals. Grant plans to barrel-age brandy in the upstairs space, some of which will then be combined with Resurrection's whiskys to make applejack, peachjack, pearjack spirits.
The 1,000-square-foot tasting room, which features a 19-foot bar crafted from charred reclaimed wood, will offer a cocktail program developed by the seasoned bar star, whose resume includes stints at Pourhouse, the Loden Hotel, and the Four Seasons Vancouver.
Guests can expect a mix of classic and “local and luscious” drinks that incorporate fresh lemon, mangos, and blueberries, for example. A selection of local craft beers and wines will be on hand, too.
Bottles of whisky, gin, and other spirits will be available for purchase in the tasting room, where service will be emphasized. The second level may be available for private events down the road. “It’s kind of a combination of a bar and retail space,” explains Grant. “So we can have people who come in, buy a bottle, and leave, or they come in and feel comfortable having a cocktail and be served by our bartender.”
For Grant and co-owners Adrian Picard and Tyson Reimer, who also owns Gastown's Peckinpah, Resurrection is about bringing back an art form that is now experiencing its largest boom since the pre-prohibition era.
“The fact that we can do this again is kind of resurrecting that old tradition of people having access to [locally made] spirits as well as their own style of distilling,” he says.
Resurrection Spirits is slated to open in late April. Check out the images below to see the in-progress space. To keep updated on the distillery's progress, follow its Instagram page.