B.C. whisky sector starts to mature
Central City Brewers + Distillers to launch first single-malt whisky later by years’ end
By Glen Korstrom
When British Columbia’s Central City Brewers + Distillers launches its first single malt whisky in time for the holiday season, it will join a growing list of B.C. distillers making single malt whiskies made 100% from barley.
Vancouver Island’s Shelter Point Distillery released its first single malt whisky – a five-year-old product – in June while Okanagan Spirits first released its five-year-old single-malt Laird of Fintry Whisky in late 2013.
Other aspiring single-malt whisky producers, such as Victoria’s Macaloney Distillers Ltd., are seeking investors and readying for their first batches.
“We’ll be bottling our first single malt this month and we’ll have some to market by the end of the year,” Central City operations manager Tristan Warren told Business in Vancouver November 3.
“We’re waiting for the bottles to arrive. They’re on a boat somewhere in transit to us now.”
Central City has actually been making single-malt whisky for several years and has been increasing its production. This year it made 600 barrels’ worth of whisky and next year the plan is to make 1,000 barrels’ worth.
The batch of whisky that will be bottled this month was made three years ago and has been aged in barrels. Canadian law requires all products branded as whisky to age at least three years.
The first bottling will be for 6,000 750-millilitre bottles.
“We don’t aspire to have a three-year-old whisky long term. More of our inventory is being retained for an eight-year-old whisky or a 12-year-old whisky,” Warren said.
He stressed that the company’s main focus remains on the approximately five million litres of beer that it produces annually.