Looking for a bottle of Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze? Sons of Vancouver has come up with a way
Think of it as a way to get your hands on that which, at the moment, is pretty much unattainable.
When North Vancouver-based Sons of Vancouver moved into whisky making at the beginning of the decade, disappointing folks was in all probability not part of the business plan. But that’s what’s exactly happened since the release of its impossible-to-find (unless you know a collector) Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze last summer.
A Caribbean-cask whisky aged in bourbon barrels and finished in used rum barrels, the limited edition bottle sold out instantly. And if that didn’t get everyone wanting Sons of Vancouver whisky, a Canadian Whisky of the Year award earlier this year at the Canadian Whisky Awards most certainly did.
“We always knew there would never be enough for everyone who wanted it,” Sons of Vancouver cofounder James Lester tells the Straight. “But we suddenly had a way bigger problem on our hands after we won the whisky award. Our last release, I swear to God, sold out in two minutes. And that pissed a lot of people off.”
So to solve the problem of too much demand, and not enough supply, Sons of Vancouver has launched a $100,000 Indiegogo campaign, where options include laying out $150 today for a June of 2023 bottle of Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze.
If the distillery is able to hit its mark it will double the amount of whisky—to 100 barrels—it’s able to produce over the next year.
“We are putting some of the money towards more storage space, which is our biggest restriction right now,” Lester says. “Very simply, every barrel of whisky you make, including storage costs, is about a thousand dollars. So we’re hoping to put away 100 full-sized barrels of whisky with this.”
The challenge, he notes, comes in waiting for whisky to mature, which can take years. When it’s sitting in the barrel waiting to be bottled down the line, you’ve got money tied up and nothing coming in.
Options for the SOV Indiegogo range from the $950 Whisky VIP (seven bottles of whisky, with the feature releases including a tequila-barrel whisky to be released in September 2023) down to the Mom Perk (spend $40 and get a $50 gift card for the tasting room.
As for the perks of having the inside track on future SOV releases, think of it as a way of making sure you aren’t on the outside looking in, and not just because there will be more whisky to go around.
Flashing back to the release of Palm Trees, Lester says with a laugh: “If you got a bottle, you were pissed off that you couldn’t get two bottles. If you didn’t get a bottle—I had people contacting my friends and then emailing me trying to get a bottle. It was just unmanageable.”
That’s another way of saying that, even though they’ve been disappointing some folks, there’s a growing army of whisky lovers more than excited about what Sons of Vancouver has been up to.
“We always knew that we wanted to do something a little bit different,” Lester says. “I know that this will sound cocky, but initially set out to make a whisky that we all wanted here, and that wasn’t on the shelf. There are a lot of Canadian ryes out there, but there aren’t a lot of wildly fruity Canadian ryes. We knew we were going into this a little bit outside of the box.”
Indeed, while its whisky program has taken off since the distillery branched out in 2019, for years SOV was mostly known for award-winning liqueurs like its No. 82 Amaretto. Not any more. Before winning Canadian Whisky of the Year for Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze it took Sons of Vancouver 7 years to get 1,000 people on its mailing list. A mailing list started after this year’s win saw 1,000 whisky lovers sign up in two weeks.
Sometimes, like Chief Martin Brody in Jaws, you have to accept that you’re going to need a bigger boat.
“When we started doing whisky our volumes were never huge to begin with,” Lester says. “We always knew that we’d have enough to supply British Columbia. And if we couldn’t sell it all in British Columbia, maybe we’d sell a little bit in Alberta. Now all of a sudden it’s like “Oh, fuck. We need to supply all of Canada.’ It’s a really good problem.”
For more info on Sons of Vancouver's Indiegogo campaign, go here.