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Annapolis Valley distilleries pick up numerous awards at Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition

Andrew Cameron of Still Fired Distilleries in Lequille poses with three of the distillery’s products that won medals at the American Distilling Institute’s San Francisco Spirit Awards in 2017. This year those same products, plus several more, picked up medals at the inaugural Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition in British Columbia recently.
Andrew Cameron of Still Fired Distilleries in Lequille poses with three of the distillery’s products that won medals at the American Distilling Institute’s San Francisco Spirit Awards in 2017. This year those same products, plus several more, picked up medals at the inaugural Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition in British Columbia recently. - Lawrence Powell

Lequille, Port William shops do well nationally

LEQUILLE, NS - When the judging at the 2018 Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition in British Columbia was over, two Annapolis Valley distilleries walked away with a couple handfuls of awards including golds, silvers, and bronzes.

The awards were announced last week.

Barrelling Tide Distillery in Port Williams alone won three golds, two silvers, and a best-in-class for their liqueurs. Still Fire in Lequille picked up a bunch more.

The national spirit competition was designed exclusively for small-batch Canadian distilleries.

“It was the British Columbia Distilleries Association that put this on,” said Andrew Cameron of Still Fired Distilleries. “It was the first all-Canadian spirits competition ever held. So it was pretty neat to see all the Canadian craft distilleries coming together for it.”

Cameron and partner Owen Ritchie entered every one of their products.

“We were very excited to see that every single one of our products got an award.” Cameron said.

Still Fired entered an international competition in 2017 and picked up three awards at that San Francisco event. The recent Canadian competition got the Still Fired crew fired up.

“It was just a really neat opportunity for the true craft distilleries to come together and celebrate an awards ceremony,” Cameron said.

When he says true craft distillery he means truly local. No blending with imported products.

“Fermented, distilled, created in-house 100 per cent,” he said. “Getting your hands dirty, you’re getting in there, you’re making it with your passion. You literally have your hands in every element of the distillation. Your product that you’re putting into a bottle has taken a large amount of time and money. Most people are using as many local products as they can. They’re actually helping the economy with that, with agriculture and jobs and whatever else.”

Four Distilleries

Only four Nova Scotia distilleries entered the competition – Still Fired, Barrelling Tide, Ironworks out of Lunenburg, and Compass Distillers out of Halifax.

Still Fired’s Granny’s Apple Pie Moonshine and Night Owl Coffee Moonshine were put in the liqueur section and each ended up with a silver medal. Their Root Beer Moonshine was also in the liqueur section and it received a bronze.

“Our Premium Still Fired Vodka was in the straight vodka category and we got a bronze for that,” said Cameron. “Our infused vodkas (Thai Chilly Pepper and Vanilla Bean) were both in the infused vodka category and they both got bronze. Our gin was in the straight gin category and we got a silver as well.”

Barrelling Tide also won a bronze for their Chili Pepper Vodka, a silver for their Tide Gin, a silver for their 5 Fathom Dark Rum, a silver for their Tide Vodka, and a silver in the White Spirits category for their Tidal Run.

Spirits were evaluated on a point-based system in four categories: nose, palate, balance, and finish. And all spirits were judged blind by experts from across the country. The judges were tasked with tasting and evaluating spirits in the late fall of 2017 for an announcement in early February.

Looking Ahead

At last year’s San Francisco Spirit Awards, put on by the American Distilling Institute, Still Fired entered several categories with Granny’s Apple Pie Moonshine and Fundy Gin winning bronze, and their straight Premium Vodka winning a silver.

What’s ahead for Still Fired?

“We’ve got whisky coming hopefully towards the end of 2018,” said Cameron. “As of right now we’re just about to launch, hopefully the end of this month or early March, our molasses moonshine line. We’re going to be coming out with a white molasses moonshine spiced, and a dark molasses moonshine. So they are in every sense of the word a rum-like spirit but they will not be aged for the required one year. They will be kind of fast-aged with an oak chip kind of flavouring. It’s something we’re really looking forward to.”

But there will be aged rum at some point.

“There happens to be a barrel put in back already for our first-ever barrel-aged product for Still Fired Distillery, so that rum product will be coming out in 2019,” he said.

In it’s initial year, Still Fired was having trouble keeping up with demand. Two new stills have helped with that problem somewhat, but Ritchie still has a bed in the distillery as demand keeps growing.

“We’re always learning as we go, and we’re always trying to make it more productive here, more efficient,” said Cameron. “We have lots more hopes and dreams in the future. We’re always thinking as big as we possibly can -- the potential of one or two more stills being made to help with our production. Again we’re probably looking to hire another two to three full time people here at the distillery to help with the full overall process as well as getting some summer students in and also entering more markets and trade shows and other potential retails stores.”

Go To: https://artisanspirit.ca/

Go To: https://www.stillfireddistilleries.com/

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