Sons of Vancouver has just hit big at the Canadian Whisky Awards, taking home Canadian Whisky of the Year for its summer of 2022 release Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze. The honour marks the first time in the 13-year history of the awards that a craft distillery has won the top prize.
Selling out in a week last summer, Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze was a limited-release Caribbean-cask whisky aged in used bourbon barrels and finished in used rum barrels. Tasting notes included banana, pineapple, and demerara sugar, with vanilla and rye spice.
“We’re so proud of this award and what it says about craft distilling in BC," Sons of Vancouver co-founder and general manager James Lester said of the Whisky of the Year nod. "To be the first craft distillery to ever win ‘Canadian Whisky of the Year’ is a significant honour and we’re excited for what’s next in craft whisky both for us and for the industry. Artisan distillers–particularly in BC–are putting out some of the best whisky in Canada right now and we hope this award will attract whisky appreciators not just to our distillery but to craft distillers throughout BC.”
Entering the craft-distillery game in 2015, Sons of Vancouver first made a name for itself on the West Coast with its award-winning Amaretto and artisinal Blue Curaçao. Over the past couple of years it's moved into whisky in a big way with offerings like its bold Cigarettes on a Leather Jacket and an innovative Christmas Whisky advent calender. SOV's Summer Road Trip Across the Midwest whisky sold out in two minutes on February 23.
The Canadian Whisky Awards has recognized the best Canadian whiskies since it was founded in 2010. To qualify, the whisky must be distilled and matured in Canada.
As well as taking home the top Canadian Whisky of the Year prize, Sons of Vancouver was recognized for the following:
- Canadian Whisky of the Year, Artisan Producers - Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze
- All-Rye Whisky of the Year - Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze
- Barrel-Finished Whisky of the Year - Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze
- Gold Medal - Palm Trees and a Tropical Breeze
- Silver Medal - Marshmallows over a Campfire
In the wake of the win, Sons of Vancouver distiller and whisky program manager Jenna Diubaldo called the award important for craft distillers across Canada.
“As a newcomer to the whisky industry, you often feel like you’re just trying to keep up with the big guys,” Diubaldo said. “Our overall goal is to change the way that Canadian rye is perceived in the market, so winning the top award really shows us that we’re moving in the right direction. We are looking forward to continuing to bring unique, interesting rye whiskies to the market.”