Canada’s premier artisan and micro-distillery festival, B.C. Distilled, is returning to Vancouver on April 8 with a record-breaking 34 distilleries in tow.
The event, which was founded by former information-technology specialist and confessed spirits enthusiast Alex Hamer in 2013, offers Vancouverites the chance to taste hundreds of B.C.–produced vodkas, gins, whiskies, and more all in one place. This year’s B.C. Distilled features the most distilleries the fete has seen yet, plus various pre-festival tasting events and a cocktail-pairing dinner at local farm-to-table restaurant Forage.
“Obviously, we’re getting new distilleries coming in every year,” Hamer tells the Straight by phone. “But we’re also seeing that the industry is just starting to mature a little bit more. We’re seeing some more whisky, some more aged product, things like that.”
Among this year’s participating distilleries are Ampersand Distilling, Okanagan Crush Pad, and Merridale Craft Spirits, plus all three winners in the “best local distillery” category in our 2017 Golden Plates survey: Odd Society Spirits, Long Table Distillery, and Sons of Vancouver Distillery.
New entries include Burnaby’s Anderson Distilleries, which crafts a single-malt tequila and “golden” gin; North Vancouver’s Stealth Distilleries, known for its corn vodka; and Surrey’s Central City Brewers + Distillers, which began whisky production last year.
Canapes from local restaurants such as Juniper, Timber, the Cascade Room, and Lucky’s Doughnuts, and sips by Philips Soda, Cahoots Syrup, and more will also be on offer. An onsite Legacy Liquor pop-up will allow guests to take home bottles of their favourite spirits.
Leading up to the main tasting event, imbibers can also nab tickets to spirit showcases that will explore locally crafted gins (April 3), barrel-aged gins (April 4), or whiskies (April 5) at Legacy Liquor Store (1633 Manitoba Street).
Partial proceeds from B.C. Distilled’s ticket sales will benefit the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS), a Burnaby-based nonprofit that breeds, raises, and trains certified assistance dogs for people living with disabilities. PADS will also be bringing puppies, which attendees can snuggle up with, to B.C. Distilled’s main tasting event. A charity auction will also support the organization.
“It’s something a little bit different, which we really enjoy,” Hamer says of the cause.
Tickets to the main tasting event are $69.99, plus fees, and include admission, B.C. Distilled glassware, and unlimited samples of spirits.
B.C. Distilled's main tasting festival takes place on April 8, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive). For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets, click here.