Raise your spirits (and a glass) at these Kootenay craft distilleries

Hand-crafted with local grains and fruit, Kootenay, B.C. distilleries are making their mark in the world of craft spirits

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Close-up of Kootenay West Distilling Vale Vodka bottle.

Organic wheat is the key to Kootenay West Distilling's signature craft liquor, Vale Vodka. The business, located in Trail, is the newest distillery to open in the Kootenays. — Ash Hodgson photo

Explore this list of award-winning Kootenay-area distilleries that strive to create original, unique flavours that both pay homage to their regional roots and satisfy the most discerning cocktail connoisseur.

From premium vodka and gin made from locally foraged botanicals to delicately flavoured cordials, schnapps and liqueurs infused and hand-crafted from the freshest available fruit, there’s a spirit available for every taste.

Speaking of spirits, it’s clear that our local distilleries have a strong sense of community spirit in times of crisis. Many of these distilleries produced hard-to-come-by hand sanitizer in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. A big high-five to our Kootenay craft distilleries!

Distilleries in Cranbrook

Elderberry Bros. Farms Distillery

A love of his grandmother’s elderberry syrup as a child led Attila Lepsis and his wife Neomi, owners of Elderberry Bros. Farms & Distillery, to found their Wycliffe area farm in 2016. The company’s Elderflower Liqueur won the prestigious double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2022. With over 5,000 elderberry plants now established on the farm, the company plans to continue expanding its future product range. They currently have five delicious varieties of schnapps available for purchase.

Products:

  • Elderflower & Cherry Schnapps
  • Elderberry Schnapps
  • Elderflower & Honey Schnapps
  • Apple Strudel Schnapps
  • Cherry & Honey Schnapps

Where to find: Products from the Elder Bros. Farms Distillery are available for purchase at liquor stores and pubs across B.C. and at local farmers markets.

Distilleries in Crescent Valley

Tonik Distillery

The Tonik Distillery creates liberating spirits inspired by yesteryear. Using timeless recipes, they create refreshing year-round and seasonal offerings that aim to “remedy life’s most common ailments.” Their handcrafted products include premium vodkas made from the local pristine mountain spring waters around the Slocan Valley.

Products:

  • Legacy Premium Vodka
  • Tonik Pink Lemonade Vodka
  • Zesty Lime Vodka Soda
  • Ruby Grapefruit Vodka Soda
  • Citrus Burst Vodka Soda
  • Black Cherry Vodka Soda

Where to find:  The Tonik Distillery is located in Crescent Valley, which is halfway between Nelson and Castlegar. Their address is 1286 Highway 6. The tasting room is open and features a range of tasty pizza creations, snacks and appies. It’s best to phone them ahead of time at 778-454-1179.

Distilleries in Creston

Wynndel Craft Distilleries

Pat and Jeanette Meerholz are owners of award-winning Wynndel Craft Distilleries in Creston Valley.

Pat and Jeanette Meerholz are the owners of award-winning Wynndel Craft Distilleries in the Creston Valley. — Photo courtesy Wynndel Craft Distilleries Facebook page

Wynndel Craft Distilleries is an award-winning distillery situated in the fertile and beautiful Creston Valley. Owned by Pat and Jeanette Meerholz, the distillery creates handcrafted products, all made with a fruit base that contains no grains. One of their signature creations, Copperhead Shine, won the Best in Class award at the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition in 2023.

Products:

  • Fruit brandy: various fruit infusions
  • Gin: apple, floral and wildflower honey
  • Fruit liqueurs
  • Schnapps
  • Vodka: chili cherry and spicy peach

Where to find: The Wynndel Craft Distillery is located at 1331 Channel Road, Creston. Phone (250) 428-1764 for opening times. Products can be purchased online, delivered locally or picked up.

Distilleries in Fernie

Fernie Distillers Inc.

A small-batch distillery owned by husband-and-wife team Andrew Hayden and Jillian Rutherford, Fernie Distillers Inc. is a very successful local business. Winners of the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Fernie Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Business Awards Gala, the company produces handcrafted products that represent the legendary spirit of Fernie’s mountain-town lifestyle.

Products:

  • No. 9 Mine Vodka: a wheat-based vodka, rich in flavour and distinctly smooth
  • Fernie Fog Liqueur: an Earl Grey tea–infused liqueur with vanilla and demerara sugar
  • Prospector Gin: a well-balanced classic gin, infused with juniper, citrus fruit and botanicals
  • Cinder Liqueur: a tea-infused liqueur sweetened with blue agave and a touch of orange peel 
  • Limited edition Seasonal Spirits when available

Where to find: Fernie Distillers Inc. is located at 531 1st Avenue in Fernie. Fernie Distillers Inc. is located at 531 1st Avenue in Fernie. Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Products and spirits can also be purchased online.

Line-up of Taynton Bay bottle on beach.

Tea-infused vodka sippers, gin and cocktails are among the premium products made by Taynton Bay Distillers. — Taynton Bay Spirits Facebook

Distilleries in Invermere

Taynton Bay Distillers

Specializing in premium spirits made with no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners, Taynton Bay products are distilled from locally grown wheat. A successful financial deal with the Dragons’ Den in 2019 helped to move their world-domination aspirations one step closer to reality. Focused on unlocking wild spirit and adventure, the company continually grows and evolves its product line-up with new flavour profiles and combinations.

Products:

  • Vodka/vodka infusions: raspberry, blueberry, pickle
  • Gin and Midnight Gin
  • Cocktails

Where to find:  Taynton Bay Spirits is located at 1701B 6th Avenue in Invermere. Their spirits are available for purchase online via their website and at liquor stores across B.C. and Alberta.

Distilleries in Kimberley

Bohemian Spirits

“Hand-crafted, hand-corked, and hands-down the happiest bits from around the Rocky Mountains in a bottle” is the description Bohemian Spirits gives themselves and their products. In operation since 2014, this small-town company prides itself on quality products made from locally foraged botanicals.

Products:

  • Vagabond Vodka
  • Colossal Pink Gin/Mary Virgin Gin
  • Eclipse Coffee liqueur
  • Hearth Cherry Apple liqueur
  • Rose Rhubarb Ginger liqueur
  • Honeycomb Cream liqueur
  • Whiskey

Where to find: The Bohemian Spirits Cocktail lounge, tasting room and patio is open Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you are in the area, you can also call ahead to see if they are open: 1-800-919-2951. The address is 215 Mark Street in Kimberley. Their products are available for purchase online via their website.

Close-up of Honeycomb Cream bottle from Bootleg Spirits.

Bootleg Spirit’s small batch signature creation is honey and cinnamon-infused Honeycomb Cream. — Charne Baird photo

Bootleg Spirits

Bootleg Spirits co-distills their products with one of B.C’s first craft distilleries—Bohemian Spirits in Kimberley. Their organic ingredients are locally sourced and they use original recipes to create small-batch whiskey, spirits and liqueurs. Interested in learning more about this up-and-coming distillery? KootenayBiz chatted with Trevor Semchuck, one of the co-owners of Bootleg Spirits

Products:

  • Honeycomb Cream: A smooth liqueur, made with honey, a touch of cinnamon, vanilla and fresh cream.
  • Oat & Honey: Lactose and gluten-free, this liqueur is made from oat milk and barrel-aged spirit.
  • Cabin Fever: A sweet and spicy sipping whiskey.
  • JOE Cold Brew Coffee liqueur

Where to buy: Bootleg Spirits can be purchased online via their website or picked up locally at retailers in Kimberley and Fernie. 

Distilleries in Revelstoke

Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery

One of the few certified organic distilleries in Canada, Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery strives to capture the essence of Revelstoke using local juniper, huckleberries, spruce tips and wildflowers.

Products:

  • Monashee Vodka
  • Vulcan’s Fire: cinnamon-whiskey liqueur
  • Ethos Gin
  • Big Mountain Creamer: espresso-flavoured liqueur
  • Cocktail Bitters
  • Whisky

Where to buy:  The Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery is open Tuesday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Mondays. They are located at 307 Mackenzie Avenue in Revelstoke. Their products are also available for purchase online and at liquor stores across B.C.

Distilleries in Trail

Kootenay West Distilling

Trail's newest hip place to hangout, Kootenay West Distilling features a distillery and small cocktail lounge—expansion plans are on the horizon. An exciting garden-to-glass cocktail and farm-to-table food menu is available on Friday and Saturday nights. KootenayBiz chatted with Thomas and Ash Hodgson, the owners of Kootenay West Distilling, about their distilling journey—read the story here.

Products: 

  • Vale Vodka - a craft liquor made with organic wheat
  • Wildflower Pink Gin - made with local botanicals
  • Cold Brew Vodka

Where to find: Kootenay West Distilling is located at 1180 Cedar Avenue in Trail. The 50-seat lounge is open on Friday and Saturday nights. Their product line-up can be purchased online.

Have we missed a Kootenay distillery on this list? Or do you know of a new distillery that's opening soon in the region? Let us know by email: [email protected]

Whiskey-keg and bottle of Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery product.

Spirit abounds at Kootenay area craft distilleries! Find fine whiskey, premium vodkas and gins, delicately flavoured cordials and liqueurs crafted with local fruit infusions and more. — Photo courtesy Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery Facebook page

Julie Matchett

Julie Matchett is a writer and content coordinator for KPI Media. She ranks as a 7 on the Introversion vs. Extraversion scale out of 100, which might help to explain why she chose a career of quiet contemplation as opposed to public speaking. View all of Julie Matchett’s articles

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